I’ve never thought I would say this but, Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a forgotten gem. Not many talk about it but do have some fondness for it. Developed by Lucasarts and published by Konami, this rogue level based action game took the B Movie Horror monsters and place them in a world where they can be defeated by water guns.
You read that right. Water Guns.
ZATM was released in July 1993 with an off beat movie poster quality box art.
With 2 Players, you choose between Zeke And Julie, who have no special abilities. You go around the environment saving people in the neighborhood or places. Since the game does contain points, you’ll be rescuing Cheerleaders, babies, school teachers, hunters, and others while battling zombies (of course), mummies, chainsaw wielding killers, demon poses toys with axes, ground worms, aliens, werewolves and other old school enemies from classic horror movies.
You’ll fight these monsters with your basic water gun, Six Pack Soda Cans that act like grenades, rocket launchers, alien bubble guns, plates, popsicles, footballs and other normal items that somehow defeat these monsters.With 55 levels, you’ll be constantly saving people before the neighbors die. If they get caught, you’ll hear a horror scream while an angelic soul flies in the air. If you don’t rescue anybody, it’s game over. If you lose your lives, it’s game over. The game has no continues but offers a password system for every four levels you beat. If you type in that password though, you’ll only start on that stage with your water gun. That’s how rogue it gets. There isn’t really a story line to it. You just read the premise on the back of the box and go.
This was a Blockbuster favorite of my friend and me. His dad would take us there and we had the determination to beat this game all the way. We would pour so much time into it and we would learn the levels by heart. We spent almost a month playing this game. It was one of our bonding games we would work on together. We furiously copy our passwords and sometimes, we would have to go back a couple of levels to build our arsenal up. Fighting those worms on level 21 was ridiculous and there was no way we were going to kill it with water guns. What? You thought giving it a rinse was going to destroy it?
That was the thing about this game. We never knew how many hits it took or why these weapons actually would hurt the monsters. I mean, as a kid, you don’t think of these things. As an adult, you start questioning what in the world did you play and why was it acceptable? We didn’t think about what we were seeing. We were trying to beat the game and that was our focus. It provided us a lot of fun and we challenged each other to who could survive longer and who can save the most people. We wanted the cheerleaders and didn’t care about the teacher. We would let her die cause she would be in the wrong place and we had no way of getting to her sometimes. That Chainsaw Manic was no joke. Since you can use your rocket launcher to bust through hedges and doors, we had to be smart on where we going to use it. Also, since both players are locked on the screen, we couldn’t run around and cover more land.
I still love this game. I love playing it time from time and although my friend and I aren’t around each other as much, we still reminiscence about this game. Those Saturday moments was our big gaming day for us. Riding to Blockbuster to get a game and sometimes getting some crazy and crappy games was an adventure. Zombies Ate My Neighbor, on the other hand, was a treasure to behold and that moment will always resonate with me.