Posts Tagged ‘SNES’

Game 53: Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Posted: May 12, 2011 by mulholland in Games
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Game 253/1001 according to the list

Genre: Shoot ’em Up
Platform: SNES, Mega Drive
Year of Release: 1993
Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: Konami

And here’s the second of our zombie-themed game week of sorts. Zombies Ate My Neighbors, known as just ‘Zombie’ in certain more squeamish places. The premise is simple – there is a zombie invasion (well, zombies, mummies, haunted dolls, aliens, freakish plants, chainsaw murderers and more invasion), and you have to save the neighbours from being killed by them. This all made by the well-known Lucasarts, who were big in these days, although not always known for their action games.

This is one of those weird games you hear about every once in a while as being out there, but good. Is it?

Our Thoughts

So here it is, one of the games with the most insane names in the list. Zombies Ate My Neighbors just sounds weird, wacked and wild.

When you find out this game was developed by the guys at LucasArts it does make a bit of sense. You can tell from both the looks and the sense of humour. It really does fit well amongst the canon of their other games (like Maniac Mansion; which we will cover at some point). A few years ahead of the afterlife game Grim Fandango.

Where do we start? First of all; the theme of the game. You’re playing as a teen (two players supported) who has to kill zombies, mummies, chainsaw horrors, walking dolls and other such horror-themed enemies while trying to save their victims from the places they’re hiding out in. This can be gardens, houses, malls and other such familiar settings.

The interesting thing about this game is that the number of victims that you save is carried onto the next level. It means that the possible number of points in every subsequent level is dependent on our performance in the current level. After a while it can end up with you having only one victim to save since all the others have been taken out by some terrible creatures from the netherworld. Some of the victims turn up in unusual places… like why would you need to rescue a cheerleader from the courtyard of a haunted castle?

To be fair, this also adds to the strategy – do you save lots of victims, making it take longer to finish the level, or do you take less with you, running the risk they die because the enemies reach them earlier? Of course this means that the victims that are the hardest to reach are the ones which are carried over. Like in a maze level where you need to lure a chainsaw-wielding maniac to cut down the shrubbery completely surrounding a baby whilst making sure he decides not to split you down the middle or does the same to the baby.

Rather sick when you think about that. It’s worse when the baby is killed by a possessed doll holding a meat cleaver (which inexplicably sets itself alight after you shoot it). And yet the game is colourful and somewhat happy. It is somewhat helped by the retro 3D-glasses one of the main characters wear. He looks wild and somewhat out there. The sort of guy you’d imagine in a game like this, the wacky one.

An interesting thing to help you fight the hoards of nasties is a large array of weapons. Alongside the more traditional guns there are exploding six-packs, lawnmowers, bazookas and (the surprisingly effective) fire extinguishers which literally freeze your enemies. Then there is your main gun weapon – or possibly a super soaker when you look at the colour of the projectiles.

The retro nature of this game is further supported by the level names which all sound like 50s horror B-Movies (or even ones seen on this day). And in the end, it’s creepy, in a fun creepy way. Twisted, disturbing… and just fun. Kill the zombies and save the cheerleaders. What more is there to a horror B-movie anyway?

Final Thoughts

The references to existing movies are numerous and this game suits the movie genre. It’s oddly compelling, difficult but easy to learn and it feels quite possible to beat – if you didn’t have the problem that all your damage carried over and you only have ten victims to lose. Properly Nintendo-challenging in places, but doable.

Last, it’s worth noting a movie of the game has been announced for February 2011. Nothing more is known yet, but keep an eye out.


Game 2: Super Mario RPG

Posted: November 25, 2010 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

Game 321/1001 according to the list

Genre: Role-Playing Game
Platform: Super Nintendo
Year of Release: 1996
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

Bowser has caught the princess again. Mario goes out to save her. Having wisened up, he lives right next door to Bowser’s castle, so runs straight there to rescue. Just as he does, though, a giant sword falls from the sky into the castle, and sends Mario, Bowser and the Princess away. The Smithy gang is invading the world and Mario has to stop them.

It’s Mario in his first RPG adventure. It’s colourful, it’s funny, it’s memorable, and it features a marshmallowy character who thinks he’s a tadpole (even though he is clearly a Japanese anime chicken). How could that make sense?

(We’d normally start the series from the start, but Mario has enough games that we can break it up by the game types.  It saves some time and means we can start with a very pleasant and fun game)

Our playthrough

I’ll be honest – I’ve played this game before and really liked it. It’s a colourful, fun game, not so difficult it can’t be beaten, but quite tough as you get into it. However, I’ve let Peter take the lead so he can experience it, while I offer advice and play some parts just for fun. The first night went up to the point where your next party member joins you, and it seems to have gotten Peter hooked already.

Our Thoughts

I’d best start this off, as this was my first pick.

Super Mario RPG. Colourful, fun, using familiar characters, but with a distinct gameplay that really set up a lot of future games and some pretty decent battle music that becomes endearing rather than annoying over prolonged exposure. Yeah, absolutely.

It certainly got stuck in my head. The graphics are more clearly dated, but with this being a SNES game around the time the N64 came out (the last Mario SNES game if i’m not mistaken) that makes sense. Possibly one of the reasons why originally, this game never made it to Europe.

Considering this is 1996 the graphics would have been dated even for then. Possibly more on par. But yeah, using 3D models as sprites just doesn’t always work. It worked in the original Tomb Raider though. Both released in the same year and yet it’s graphics ran rings around Mario RPG I don’t understand why they did not wait another year so it could be a launch title on the N64.

It’s a different platform though – Super Mario RPG was for the aging SNES, while Tomb Raider wouldn’t run on PCs from the time the SNES launched. Probably speed of development – had they waited another year, a lot would need to be redone to make it work.

In Japan they were released 3 months apart, bit of a false economy if you ask me as it would have made for a supreme launch title. That’s true, although it’s worth remember that this might’ve meant that the game wouldn’t have been made – this is the last Square game for a Nintendo system for quite a while, things were probably already strained.

It’s also a bit obvious to me that this is a 3rd party development deal. The sense of humour is slightly different and the gameplay is a bit simpler (more traditional maybe?) compared to what was then a typical Nintendo game. That’s true. The Final Fantasy influences are there especially in the way that the battles and menus are arranged (and the lengthy cut-scenes) and the ambiguity of whether something is a frog, a cloud or an anime chicken (In-game, a cloud. I won’t spoil it, but there’s some neat sequences related to Mallow).

Still, I say it’s a great game, well worth playing for anyone who loves Mario or RPGs. A great game in both ways. However, if you are like me and see RPGs as the likes of Fallout 3 you will be slightly knocked by the stopping and starting concerned with the battle sequences. This is a highly traditional RPG in that sense and to be a serious gamer you really need to sample one like this at some point. The Mario RPG seems like a good introduction.

In style, absolutely. And if you’re like me, the turn-based nature means it can be easy playing as you get easily distracted. Plus, there’s plenty of secrets to discover.

But if you like gaming for the adrenaline rush of being under fire or nearly dying at the hands of some robot it could be a bit of a turn-off… then again so would Tetris.

Yes. If you’re curious – the game is on the Wii Virtual Console now, so nothing is stopping you from playing it (if you have a Wii)!

Final Thoughts

It’s funny, it’s a good story, it’s challenging, it’s Mario, it’s an RPG. It’s not a game if you prefer action-packed non-stop violence, nor is it for you if you want the latest and best graphics, but if you want to get into a Mario game that’s more than “Bowser captures the Princess, Mario gets her back by jumping around the world and making sure he doesn’t fall into endless holes.”, this is the best to start of with. Not to worry though – sequels are coming, other Mario RPGs with more action and/or better graphics. More on those before we’ve gone through all 1001!