Nostalgia Lane: Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES)

As I’ve talked about perhaps too often on this blog, the SNES was — and still is, in my opinion — the best gaming console ever. There were so many amazing games for this system that still hold up really well today (see: SNES Classic), and I thought I’d talk about a few of them in this space as I have exhausted most of the older computer games I used to play.

One of the most underrated titles on that platform had to have been Zombies Ate My Neighbors. At its core, Zombies is a send-up of scifi and horror B-movies without any real concern about continuity or story. You play either Julie or Zeke, kids who apparently have the sole task of defending the neighborhood against everything from chainsaw-wielding hockey players to giant ants to murderous dolls to the titular zombies.

The goal was to rush around each stage’s map to collect all sorts of goofy weapons (squirt guns, frisbees, weedwhackers) and power-ups, defeat any monsters along the way, and get to 10 innocent people (cheerleaders, tourists, babies) before the monsters did. Once all of the innocents were either saved or killed (with at least one left alive), then a portal to the next level would open. The trick was that the next stage would only have as many innocents as you saved in the previous one, so you didn’t want to let too many perish. A helpful radar in the corner would point you toward the remaining innocents on a stage, but it was up to you to find them in what could often be a maze.

While there was a frantic pressure to save lives, a lot of the sheer fun — and it WAS fun — of Zombies Ate My Neighbors is goofing around, exploring the levels, finding secrets, and occasionally drinking a potion to become a giant purple monster who could bash the bad guys with ease. The levels and monster designs were so very interesting to behold, and you just wanted to get to the next stage to see what the devs had cooked up.

What took this game to the next level was playing it in couch co-op. Players would jostle over weapons and where to go, but it was still a blast to have someone to watch your back and mow down the hordes of evil.

Just a tremendous game all around. It also helped that the game had an amazing soundtrack:

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