Written: 10.20.07 Acquired: 3.6.06 Status: Cart Only Price: $4.99
Remember all those great late night horror movies? And how you stayed up to watch 'em even when your parents told you not to? Remember how you told yourself you wouldn't look away? And how, when the scary music hit, inevitably you found yourself always cowering behind the family sofa? If you do, then this is the game for you! Ahh, to be young again, eh. Relive all your favorite B-movies in Konami's Zombies Ate My Neighbors! "But Susie, we're JUST DYING to meet you!"
Originally titled MONSTERS, LucasArts flaunted its eclectic game at the Winter CES in January 1993. Incorporating elements from various gaming genres: shooter, quest, action and puzzle, MONSTERS is a clever pastiche of all the horror movies you've ever seen, from the supernatural Hammer Film efforts to the timeless rubber-suited alien invasion shockers of the McCarthyite era. It borrows freely from such directors as George Romero, John Carpenter, Roger Corman and a host of others. Everything from the 1950's to the early 1990's...
Now throw all of that into a two-player game with a quiet American suburban neighborhood as its backdrop. It was clear that LucasArts had one of the most memorable SNES efforts of '93
All they needed was a buyer
And when the dust settled, Konami pulled off the brass ring and acquired the rights to MONSTERS... only now it was no longer to be known as such... from now til the end of history it shall forever be known as....
DO THE MONSTER MASH!
Growing up, my best friend Nelson and I loved, and I mean LOVED, monsters. In the early 1990s my dad bought this monster book for me and I can remember me and Nelson spending that entire evening flipping through the book. We loved those campy old Godzilla flicks, we loved horror movies (the Halloween series in particular) and we drove people nuts with our constant monster chatter. We went to the library, checked out all the monster books, we did the whole Bloody Mary mirror thing, hell, we even searched for Bigfoot one time. OK, I lied about that last one, but you get the idea! When ZAMN came out, it was like the game was made for me and Nellie. I rented it for my brother, and the guys called him for some football at the park. So, Nellie and I fired it up...
Who could ever forget that cheesy swirling title intro? Certainly not me!
They play exactly the same, which is a bit of a shame. Zeke could have two more energy bars but Julie could have been slightly faster. Nonetheless, this is the meat of the game. It's a riot with two!
I always made Nelson be Julie... my house my rules! *evil crackle*
As you might have noticed on the box, 55 horrifying levels await. Let's check in with some of 'em...
The game opens with 10 neighbors to rescue
Boy, if I could just take this fork and....
Toggle the map off/on with L/R
You may continue exploring, or high-tail it!
Ah you gotta love those cheesy 3D specs... they were all the rage in the 50s y'kno
THANKS FER COMING TO THE PARTY, PAL! Send my wishes to the Mrs.!
Open drawers and cabinets for goodies... but beware ole Googlie!
Well, that was easy, wasn't it? Don't worry, it gets much tougher later on...
C'mon man! How intriguing could zombie shit be?
I hate Carolla / Kimmel. I can hear the Tramp Trampoline theme right now...
No need to worry about black cats jumping out or anything
Keys, hostages, strip bar...
So long, explorer bloke. We hardly knew ya. I SHALL AVENGE YER DEATH!
Or maybe not...
Coz baby, when ya gotsa go, ya gotsa go!
Remind you of anyone? He should!
The classic villain of the cult favorite Child's Play franchise. A supernatural horror movie, it follows the exploits of the "Lakeshore Strangler," Charles Lee Ray. Before being killed in a toy store, Lee Ray does a demonic ritual to transfer his soul into one of the "Good Guys" dolls... and thus, the legend is born. Good campy fun that back in 1988, frightened THIS 5-year- old anyhow!
The Zuni Warrior doll appeared in Trilogy of Terror, which first aired on ABC in 1975. A sequel was made in '96 that aired the night before Halloween. I remember staying up to watch it. The little guy even graced the cover of TV Guide that week. Possessing the spirit of a Zuni Warrior, if the gold chain that adorns his neck ever come off, he'll spring to life to.... kill. Lots of camp value and a true guilty pleasure on a stormy night!
Tommy the Evil Doll may give chase even after death! Very reminiscent of Chucky. Remember the apartment finale in the original? Or the factory finale in the sequel? Cinematic masterpieces! Er, maybe not, but you really oughta watch them if you haven't already to appreciate ZAMN even that much more
LOADS O' CAMPY FUN!
This next level... is one of my faves. Just a classic little stage... and it legitimately tensed me out when I was 10 back in '93....
Back in the early 90's Nelson told me about a story that resonated with me so deeply I'm crazy enough to recall and retell it on a by-and-large Super Nintendo game site more than 15 years after the story broke. In our town, according to him you understand, there was a maniac on the loose. On the prowl. Believed to be... at large. Again, according to Nelson, mind you. He wore a white hockey mask and he wielded a deadly chainsaw. He was... THE MASKED MANIAC. Of course, part of me knew he was just spinning crap, but a small part of my nine-year-old being grabbed and held onto the story. The Masked Maniac became our little in-joke as the years went on, and these days whenever it gets brought up, we still laugh about those days... to be young again, eh?
So imagine our shock and delight when we first came face to face with Stanley Decker. HOLY CRAP! It was Nelson's MASKED MANIAC come to life!
Of course, they combined Jason Vorhees and Leatherface. Same thing that Nelson did
THE MASKED MANI -- er, STANLEY DECKER!
Decker pursues the player relentlessly. As a ten-year-old, some of the chases induced ever so slightly the hint of panic and perspiration
The dude is just flippin' crazy, coming out of nowhere and cutting the whole place down!
The bazooka can blast away bits of the hedge maze -- comes in mighty handy
Who'll get there first?? I can't watch...
Man these guys ARE fugly! Talk about gettin' hit wit da ugly stick. WAIT, HEEEY!
Wherever you go, they go. I'd recommend jumping off a cliff, except you'd die, plus, er, there isn't a cliff to be found in the game, so yeah [Didn't I fire you last week???? -Ed.]
Shoooot, I'm getting a headache already!
Use your handy weed-whacker here, and rescue those ingrateful neighbors down there
The 1st level outside your once peaceful suburban neighborhood. For variety's sake eh?
Look inside these clumps of dirt. An opening may crop up, but also watch out for Mr. Googlie Thing as well...
That Zeke boy, I tell ya, photogenic lad
Many terrors await, you'll hafta find out for yourself...
HA! That Doctor Tongue... he SO FUNNY... HA... HA... HA
You gotta love this level. It introduces us to one of the most memorable villains of all time...
This baby is nothing but baaaad news, for sure
He's double tough, fast and spazzy annoying as hell
Forget about using your water gun here. Even the almighty Bazooka does not work well -- it's just too damn slow
No, the best way to handle this goober is by...
DOWNING THE ALMIGHTY MONSTER POTION!! You watch and see!
"ME DUMB MONSTER! BUT ME STRONG LIKE OX! GRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"
Damn! Denied. Sorry pal, you need to locate the SKULL KEY first...
Zeke sucks it up and manages to let one more bazooka shell rip...
... And this is the result! WHOA BABY! Sorry... it slipped, you see [Oh dear -Ed.]
Boy I oughta really squash ya...
Watch out for them jelly blobs, Julie!
Don't worry Snoop. Your stash is still OK. And that's fo shizzle my nizzle ca hizzle wizzle
Do you remember watching this film in the late 80's? I do. The plant gave me the creeps. There was something wrong and bizarre about that film... I can't quite put my finger on it though
[I think I got it... two words... Rick Moranis! -Ed.]
OH yeah, yeah. That was it
Earth girls are easy, Doctor Tongue? As compared to what? Uh, actually, nevermind
Interesting flick, this. I remember watching it on TV in the late 80's. They were hyping the national broadcast debut of the film on the TGIF lineup during the commercials. Years later, around 1997 to be precise, I was introduced to the wonders of the internet, and poked around for the title of this film. All I remembered was there were red, yellow and blue aliens and a pool scene. Bless the internet, 23 minutes later I was validated, I knew I hadn't gone bonkers, and I dropped by the local rental store to relive a blast from the past. Er, some things are better off left in the past!
Out of there and with not a moment to spare too
I don't know about that, Doc. Have you ever seen teenage girls at the mall? Tsk tsk
Chucky and Jason, er Tommy and Decker hot on her trail -- run Jules run!
Evil really comes out for this one. Will Julie make it to the exit or cleanup in aisle six??
You didn't think I'd let her die, didcha? Don't answer
Hey, dateless for 5,000 years -- can ya blame 'em?
Eh, no biggie if he dies. Bastard only worth 5 points
Just to clarify, they don't come in your pants, it's ants in your pants. Er, let's just move on
Hey, you'd be really pissed too if someone killed you with a magnifying glass
Ahhhh, must be one of them 9 to eternity jobs eh
I reckon not
No need to elaborate on just who this bloke is, is there? Nope, indeed. It's f*cking Freddy, that's who!
TREMORS (1990) was a fun little comedic monster film about a small Nevada town being hunted by a group of large burrowing monsters dubbed "Graboids"
Tremors developed quite a cult following for its simple, easy-to-get-into premise and memorable characters. It spawned several sequels, but the original will always be #1 and fondly remembered by B-Movie fans everywhere. For what it's worth, on IMDB it rates a 7.1
GRABOID in action!
And here's a Snakeoid in action. Snakeoid? Graboid? Wait-a-sec...
I think you know where it is...
Not as satisfying as how the Graboids died in the movie, but what 'cha gonna do?
Easier said than done, of course
Told 'cha it was easier said than done. Poor Jules. Now it's up to Zeke...
Is this where it all culminates? Is it the end of the line for our hero? Only 1 way to find out
ZAMN has one of the best Game Over screens around. Fits the game to a tee
The Mr. and Ms. touch is pretty cool as well (ignore my pathetic score)
Part of the fun came in seeing what the next (corny) title would be!
MY FAVORITE LEVEL OF THEM ALL
With 55 of them, you have no shortage in choice! I just absolutely adore this stage... nothing beats the rush of dodging, weaving and outwitting Stanley Decker and friends, all set in a giant crate factory warehouse... feels just like the grand finale of a horror film -- only, you decide what happens!
Looking sharp there, Zeke!
Nice, key AND Skull Key all in one fell swoop
"OUT OF MY WAY, SUCKA'S!"
In a pinch, deploy the decoy!
Geez, not even walls are safe!
YIKES! Keep moving, Zeke!
I call this "Deer In A Headlight"
Atta boy, Zeke! Go get that Skull Key, baby
Who will get to the baby first?
Er, I hope you didn't place your money on ole Zeke
Upon further review it is clear why Decker is so effective. Is it his raw, brute strength? No. Is it his sharp, loud chainsaw? No. Is it his deadly asscrack?
Below are descriptions of the 12 different weapons you can use in the game, along with how many hits it will take from that particular weapon to eliminate (or stun) bad guy X
Water Gun: Your starting weapon. Refills easy to find. Works well against low-tier baddies
Keys: Find them scattered about. If a door is closed, it requires a key. Keys not used on one level will transfer to the next... so some strategy comes into play there...
Skull Keys: Opens the doors with the skull mark on them. To get these precious keys, more often than not you have to kill a real big ugly monster
Monster Potion (red bottle): When consumed, you turn into a giant purple beast that is invincible and can even smash through walls and hedges. Great against bosses, but the effect is only temporary
Ghost Kid Potion (blue bottle): When consumed, you become an invincible spectre free to roam about. However, in this temporary state you cannot hurt any enemies... and be careful you don't attract a crowd of ants! (And others)
Random Potion (question mark bottle): A total mystery, when you drink from this bottle you're throwing caution to the wind. You may be replenished, given a speed boost, damaged, or turn into the purple beast himself. There are other effects, but I'll let you find out on your own..
Speed Shoes: The TK (Transylvania Knights) 3000 cross-training shoes are great for sprinting around the 'hood. Effect is only temporary
Decoys: These inflatable punching clown bags attract dumb monsters and draw the attention away from you. Several may be used at once. Makes a funny laughing noise when you do
Pandora's Box: The golden chest releases energy blasts when used. They seek and destroy those nocturnal terrors chasing you
First Aid Kit: Will restore you to full health when used. Keep it in waiting for when you're down to your last couple health bars
This is not an easy game. In fact, later on, due to a high potential shortage of weapons and neighbors to rescue, it can be downright BRUTAL
So then, some tips for ya...
Keep your eyes open for suspicious- looking shrubbery. If you spy a hedge facing out of the screen, Bazooka it. Chances are you'll find a goodie of some sort for your troubles. Likewise, the grilled windows in the malls can be blasted to bits, and even allow you to see whether it's worth blasting or not
Be thankful for life's small favors!
If the baddies keep getting to your victims before you do (sometimes you'll just hear a nearby scream and wonder why it's over) then you need to try a different route -- one that may even take you through walls and over rooftops.... hint hint
Speaking of the neighbors, the more points you earn the more extra bonus victims the game will award you. If you already have 10 victims, you'll get an extra life instead! So keep the points rolling and the neighbors safe
The Martians don't take a whole lot to kill, but they are slitherly agile. They also shoot fast, encasing you (or the neighbors) into a bubble from afar. You can see how much of a threat this may pose
Plus, Martians tend to hang out in packs, making them 10 times as worse
Keep your guard up, and keep moving!
One advice that really helps with Martians is shooting at an angle. This eliminates the chance of their bubble gun damaging you, since their shot only goes straight. Keep in mind, in order to shoot at an angle you have to be running about
The same for zombies in the great outdoors. You'll find them clawing their way from the ground beneath your feet if you stand on the same spot for too long
Check under the giant plants for any additional items (usually keys). It's very easy to miss them. To check, of course, is to kill..
Some weapons, like fizzy cans and tomatoes, can be thrown over walls and other obstacles. Over the counter, through windows, over desktops, etc. This lets you eliminate foes from a position of relative safety before dashing in (or, as in some cases, out)
These tiny spiders are easy to kill but sometimes hard to spot. The surroundings may obscure their position so tread carefully but always keeping in mind that every second wasted could mean the life of one of your bratty neighbors!
And of course, spiders, with their quickness, are a major pain in the butt when confronted by the major baddies! They just swoop in for the kill, them bastard spiders... grrrr
Don't waste your time looking for weapons until you've saved all the neighbors. Try using a pair of Speed Sneakers at the start of a new level to bomb around the stage and rescue the victims before the monsters can get to them
As long as you have one neighbor to save, the game goes on. However, for each one lost, the next level the neighbor count goes down a notch. Having only one to rescue becomes impossible in the later stages
The inflatable clown decoy items come in great use, but only work on some of the dumb monsters, like Decker
Big ups for such a fun, creative item
Once a slime blob projectile attaches itself to your head, it takes off three health points. When the Blobs are in the vicinity, use the medi-pak when you get down to your last three energy bars
There are bonus levels galore! Can you find 'em all? Day of the Tentacle, f'rinstance? Here's a hint for another bonus stage: if you're good enough to reach MARS NEEDS CHEERLEADERS with the full complement of 10 neighbors, if you happen to rescue all the cheerleaders there... plus look for bonus ?-boxes throughout the game. Can you find the son of Dr. Tongue?
Save your monster potions for bosses or really hairy situations
Extra extra! Read all about it. See if you can earn any of these extra bonuses:
-Extra Bonus Victim: Obtained through points. If you already have 10 an extra life will be awarded instead
-Level Icon: As well as taking you to a hidden level, the Bonus icon is worth hundreds of points
-Weed Cutting Bonus: Awarded for excessive cutting of poisonous weeds on levels with plants
-No Bazooka Fired Bonus: Available on levels with Chainsaw Maniacs, Babies and other such hard-to-wipe monsters by using methods more cunning than the standard military response. The complete opposite, in fact, of...
-Mass Destruction Bonus: Shattered glass and hot twisted metal! Buildings razed to the ground! If enough walls and hedges are reduced to rubble you'll score damage points
-Alien Invasion Repulsed Bonus: Destroy the UFO to win thousands of points
-Fish Fry Bonus: For destroying shoals of Squid Men (Creature from the Black Lagoon lookalikes)
-Extermination Bonus: For annihilating swarms of giant ants (try a Martian Bubble Gun)
Use the landscape to outrun pursuers. Being chased by Decker and have to cycle through your inventory to find the right weapon? You'll need all the time you can get. So duck into houses, nip through gaps and generally weave about a lot to make life tougher for the incoming undead
GAME GENIE CHEATS
While yes, the game provides you with a password every 4th level conquered, it's still a pretty damn tough game to crack. These cheats may come in handy if you just want to mess around:
Unlimited lives:82AA-CF07 Unlimited health:3C20-4D0D Unlimited weapons:DD30-1FA7 Unlimited special items:DD39-34D4 (Does not include keys or random potions)
TITLES KONAMI ALMOST USED INSTEAD OF ZAMN
Monsters! Grave Consequences Zombie Invade Suburbia Don't Build That Mall Here! Suburban Zombie Bake-Off Ghouls Just Want to Have Fun My Zombie, Make BIG Mistake Zombies Need BAR-B-Q Sauce Please Don't Feed the Zombies! The Zombies Wrong Turn At Alpha 6 Michael Barone and the Zombie Hunters Return of the Teenage Son of the Bride of a Zombie, Part 2
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
ZAMN was met very well by the critics. Let's take a look
"I laughed. I cried. I screamed bloody murder" -Anita Placetohide (Amityville Herald)
"55 levels of sheer terror. Not a dry seat in the house" -Washington Post Mortum
"More frightening than your mom at a trash concert" -Slash Meehup (Rolling Tombstone)
"Somebody help me! Help me please!" -B.A. Goner (New York Times Up)
And that's just the ad talking! Here are the REAL accolades...
EGM:9, 9, 9, 9 (Won "Game of the Month" honors)
GameFan:88, 89, 90, 93 (Graced the cover of the July '93 issue)
There are some dark secrets that mankind was never meant to know. My boss' goat fetish video tapes, for one. [Ah shit -Ed.] The end sequence of Konami's ZAMN to name another. You have to see it for yourself. Great stuff. Just like the game. It's a veritable melting pot of all those great (and not-so-great) B-Movies, low budget affairs and rubber-suited cheesy flicks we grew up on as kids. You know, I think back to that Fall of '93 very fondly, as I recall me and Nelson huddling around my TV monitor to blast Martians, Mummies and Mushroom Men back to the stone age. All those sinister bedraggled figures shambling towards us through the half-lit haze... there's something beautiful about it. It does a great job of sucking you in, and may well provide for many a sleepless nights...
The sheer joy of popping a zombie's melon with a salad fork, or nabbing the teacher right before ole Tommy boy can chop her to pieces... on the other end, the bent-over pain of Frankie's electric personality, or thinking you're in the clear to rescue that cheerleader right as Decker comes out of NOWHERE... there are so many mood swings one will encounter while playing through any given level in this game, and that is something that cannot be said for most games. You'll go through the ups and downs, the peaks and valleys. You almost feel like you're Zeke yourself, right down to the geeky 3D shades and Punisher-esque tee. ... OK, maybe just me then. But there's no doubt that with two players it becomes a hell lot of fun
It's not perfect, though. The weapons, while there are plenty, too many of them seem useless and only clog up the inventory. The silverware serves its purpose against the werewolf, but the football, plates and tomatoes seem like a real waste. It wouldn't be that bad if cycling through weapons were implemented better than with button B. I mean, do we really need L AND R to toggle off the map? A missed opportunity there. Forget about pausing the game and switching weapons too. It sucks running away trying to get to the right weapon because of some rather thoughtlessness on the part of the programmers, but maybe that's just me being nit-picky. A strafe or lock button also would have been welcomed
Thankfully, that's pretty much where the criticism ceases. ZAMN has incredible atmosphere, great pick-up-and-playability, and the tunes are simply awesome, ranging from a carnival atmosphere to haunted houses and ancient Egypt
And who could forget that monster cast? Although it makes me long for more, the baddies here are among the better enemy rosters you'll find around. It's a marvel to see some of those giant monsters muck about with zero slowdown in sight
I must say also that I wished there were extra modes of play. Imagine if each stage had an exit, and it played just like Doom. Saved no neighbors? No bonus points, but you can still advance to the next level. The other option would be to kill every last baddie in order for the exit to appear. This mode would be for the more action-oriented gamer. Of course, that's just me. What's here is already ZAMN good stuff
[*slaps forehead* -Ed.]
It's hard NOT to like Zombies Ate My Neighbors. It plays well, has a killer 2-player mode, tons of levels and secrets, challenging gameplay that will test the mettle of even the most hardcore, a memorable cast of villains, great sound, and a ghoulish atmosphere that will appeal to anyone who ever loved monsters.. or still do
Now if you'll 'scuse me, I think I'll give ole Nelly a call. It's been too long since we last played ZAMN together...