Effectively, this has been a very long time coming. Lucasarts’ beloved top-down ghoul-‘em-up Zombies Ate My Neighbors has lastly come to Swap, lacking in motion since its launch on the Wii Digital Console again in 2009. And this time it’s introduced its follow-up, the somewhat-maligned Ghoul Patrol, in a cheap little double pack from Dotemu. Would it not be too fussy to want they’d included religious successor Herc’s Adventures, too? In all probability, however we’ve introduced it up anyway.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors is considerably akin to the Halfway basic Gauntlet, providing plenty of ranges of blasting motion as hordes of creatures from virtually any given B-movie archetype (Zombies! Mummies! Evil dolls! Pod individuals! Werewolves!) are out for each your blood and that of the titular neighbo(u)rs, whom you should rescue earlier than one of many many enemies reaches them.
It isn’t completely in contrast to Eugene Jarvis’ Robotron 2084, when it comes to inspiration, however the gameplay and management are distinctive. For one factor, this isn’t a twin-stick shooter – you hearth within the route you’re going through and with no method to hearth a technique whereas shifting in one other. This feels limiting performed in 2021, however there’s nothing incorrect with it; the sport is designed round this and there are many alternatives to dodge, intention and customarily manoeuvre. It helps that management is so easy: ‘Y’ to fireside, ‘B’ to alter weapon, ‘A’ to make use of merchandise and ‘X’ to pick out merchandise. Bafflingly, although, it is a reshuffle of the unique SNES model’s controls and there’s no method to remap them in-game. Eh?
That isn’t the one oddity about this port – from what we might inform, you basically launch straight into the sport from its new menu, that means you received’t be seeing the unique title display screen and character choose, neither is there seemingly a method to enter passwords with out beginning the sport and taking a Sport Over. There’s additionally a perpetual border on the display screen, and it is — learn how to put this gracefully? — ugly, pointless and silly.
Nonetheless, these porting gripes do not detract from what’s nonetheless a wealthy, assorted expertise. Whereas the 2 playable characters do not differ mechanically, it is nonetheless an incredible alternative to seize a pal and go rescue some neighbour-folks. You may use keys to open up pathways by way of the quick, candy and difficult levels, raid cabinets and trash cans to seek out helpful gadgets (or, much less pleasantly, nasty purple monsters), accrue wild weaponry to exchange your default water pistol equivalent to silverware, freeze pops, bazookas, soda can grenades, a garden strimmer and — most zany of all — a martian bubble gun akin to one thing out of Duck Dodgers.
That is simply scratching the floor of your arsenal, as there are numerous, many various weapons right here. The useable gadgets do not disappoint both, with the same old medkits restoring full well being in addition to sneakers that offer you non permanent tremendous velocity and potions that remodel you into an invincible, monstrous highly effective… erm… monster. It is all nice, brilliantly numerous and by no means appears to cease with 48 levels to play by way of — and so they get tough round stage 4, for goodness’ sake. There are hidden bonus ranges too, which are not in any respect simple to stumble throughout.
If something in Zombies Ate My Neighbors could be criticised, it truly is that top problem. It is tough, and it by no means lets up. The random parts generally is a little irritating; whereas all the extent designs are preset, getting punished with injury for the heinous crime of opening a cupboard feels a bit of unfair. Fortunately, this port enables you to save your sport if you stop, that means you do not have to depend on the unique sport’s ineffective password system, which respawned you on the extent with completely none of your weapons or gadgets. Good luck ending the sport from stage 45 with the default water pistol!
After all, Ghoul Patrol — the follow-up to Neighbors — is included within the package deal too, however to be completely trustworthy it is extra of a curio than anything. In comparison with the unique it just about flat-out sucks, however the authentic is a unbelievable sport so something will appear much less spectacular by comparability. The graphics are good, however the brand new soar and slide strikes do not add depth or complexity to the degrees (of which there at the moment are fewer), simply annoyance after they start to introduce finicky, unenjoyable platforming. It is a weak follow-up that was by no means initially supposed to be one, however its inclusion right here is welcome even when we’re not going to place a lot time into it. The visuals are respectable sufficient and the music is enjoyable and cartoony, the boss selection is healthier than ZAMN however… there’s actually nothing else we will say in its favour.
Pivoting again to the package deal itself, there is a Museum function akin to the great Digital Eclipse compilations (the latest Blizzard Arcade Assortment in addition to their Samurai Shodown, SNK and Disney efforts). Sadly, what’s on supply is anaemic by comparability: there is a documentary function of the making of Zombies Ate My Neighbors, which is cool, however the choice of paintings is downright miserly with only some gadgets to flick by way of. It is emblematic of a package deal that usually feels half-baked and unfinished; we’re positive there are circumstances behind that, however we won’t assist however surprise how this could have turned out within the fingers of the aforementioned Digital Eclipse.
A sport pretty much as good as Zombies Ate My Neighbors deserves a stronger package deal than this one, which feels in elements like a little bit of a hack job. We’re positive it is not, however the lack of extras and even significant settings to alter (once more, you possibly can’t remap the controls) are an enormous bummer. We might complain in regards to the lack of the Mega Drive model, as whereas most favour the SNES sport there’s something to be stated for the Sega port’s always-visible standing display screen, however total we nonetheless suggest this package deal to anybody who merely needs a barely inferior model of a bloomin’ sensible sport on their Swap, plus its a lot worse, however form of okay sequel. That is — shockingly — most likely the worst method to play Zombies Ate My Neighbors ever, but it surely’s nonetheless a method to play Zombies Ate My Neighbors. So it will get the slightest of thumbs-ups.