main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Video Game: Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is your classic Zombie game created by LucasArts and published by Konami. Scores of B-movie monsters, from the titular zombies to stock werewolves, mummies, chainsaw maniacs, and even weirder and more obscure beasties, have overrun suburbia, and two ordinary teens must race through maze-like levels to rescue all the neighbors before the monsters catch them. Huge levels, lots and lots of enemies, creative weapons, and tons of B-movie references abound. This game is basically a parody of Devil World/Dark Adventure, a previous Konami arcade game, and in turn had a Spiritual Successor in the form of Ghoul Patrol, which was significantly less popular. Also inspired a later game loosely on Greek Mythology called Hercs Adventures as well as the Xbox 360 game Monster Madness.

A movie based loosely on the game is currently in production. Seriously.

This game provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Where else can you kill a giant worm with kitchen plates, or destroy a UFO with soda cans?
    • One gun from Ghoul Patrol gives you homing energy or spirit bullets.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of pretty much every classic horror trope.
  • Aliens and Monsters: Martians and their flying saucers are just another variety of enemies which inexplicably seem to act in league with monsters created by Dr. Tongue. Justified as a homage to movies such as Plan 9 from Outer Space.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: When Zeke is facing left or right, the blue lens of his 3D glasses is always the one closer to the camera.
  • Ancient Tomb
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Two words: Titanic Toddler.
    • Also Giant snakes boss, Dr. Tongue's Giant spider form, and the level where giant ants are the normal enemies.
    • Each and every boss of Ghoul Patrol counts, from a monster Robocop thing to a giant, flying samurai, knight and pirate. They also animate in Mode 7 and look pretty cool when you destroy them.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever
  • Badass Normal: You know any other teenagers that can save 680 people, across the world, across time, destroy two globe-destroying monsters and their thousands of minions with nothing but squirt guns and whatever was in the kitchen?
  • Black Blood: The red blood that oozes down the screen when you get a Game Over is recolored purple in the Super Nintendo release.
  • Blob Monster: Recurring monsters. They’re weak against popstickels. An obvious Shout-Out to The Blob films.
  • Bonus Level: About six of them. All but one are accessed by collecting a ? square in a level. There last one requires all ten victims to be saved in Level 12.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The vampires and the Frankenstein's monsters, mostly due to their high health. The former can also teleport, while the latter fires numerous bouncing projectiles. The Lumberjacks could count as a Wolfpack Boss version of this, a they have high health too.
  • Bubble Gun
  • Chainsaw Good: Level 4. The chainsaw maniacs/lumberjacks in general.
  • Clown-Car Grave
  • Combat Tentacles: Level 1-B and the Credits Level.
  • Continuing Is Painful: Passwords don't preserve your weapons or lives.
  • Cool Shades: See Rule of Cool
  • Creepy Doll: The killer doll enemies; some marketing genius had the idea to give them axes, too...
  • Cutting the Knot: Keys are limited and doors are aplenty, but if you got ammo left for your bazooka, you can blast down specific walls to bypass the doors and save your uses of keys.
  • Darker and Edgier: The sequel took itself far more seriously and wasn't as arcade-fun as the first.
  • Decoy Neighbors: In some levels the neighbors who look like a pair of tourists will turn into werewolves when approached.
    • In fact, these tourists still count as victims. Generally, saving tourists before they turn into werewolves is a Timed Mission.
  • Developer's Room: The credits level takes place in LucasArts' office.
  • Easter Egg: See Shout-Out.
  • Every 10,000 Points: You get a bonus neighbor. If you don't have any dead neighbors, you get a extra life. If you have max lives (six), you get a "Perfect Player" bonus. Which is even more points.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies
  • Final Death: Once neighbors die, they don't come back. However, you can gain Bonus Neighbors once your score is high enough.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: It's possible for the cheerleader after the first fight with Doctor Tongue to disappear before you collect her, making the game unwinnable.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: It's All There in the Manual that Dr. Tongue is the Big Bad of the game, but was any player expecting to first fight him in a non-descript attic level?
  • Guide Dang It: Some weapons are obvious choices for certain enemies. Some - like the Bubble Gun vs. Giant Ants - not so much.
    • Although the manual does point this out and many other monster weaknesses, so it's mostly Read the Freaking Manual. The best weapon in the game, the Flamethrower, is a Guide Dang It in itself since it's in a very obscure place and can be Lost Forever if you bypass it. (And it's only in the SNES version).
    • Absolutely nothing tells you that the last form of Dr. Tongue is weak against plates; although once you found that out, it starts making more sense why Level 41 had so many plates strewn around the level to begin with.
  • Hockey Mask and Chainsaw
  • In Name Only: Ghoul Patrol was reworked into a sequel for Zombies to cash in on the game's popularity. It ended up killing the franchise.
    • It's worth pointing out that ZAMN was not an immediate success in the first place and, like the cult movies that inspired the game in the first place, it's popularity had to build over time. Ghoul Patrol gets a lot of shit for what it is, some of it more justified than others, but calling it a franchise killer isn't really accurate (Ghoul Patrol wasn't even advertised as much as the first game itself). It would have had to come out in the early-to-mid 2000s and disappointed everyone before it could've really killed the franchise.
    • There is also a song called ZAMN on the radio. Sadly, no video game references.
    • A metalcore group named themselves after the game as well.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted, oddly enough. Not only are babies one of the kinds of Victims, but you also fight a Giant Baby as a boss three times. Defeating the latter merely turns it back to normal, though.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Flamethrower. Able to quickly destroy just about any monster. Good luck finding it in the one level it's located in.
    • Playing the Genesis version? Yeah, you won't find the flamethrower period.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: Too Awesome to Use? No, you'll waste too much health and time if you don't use it. You like to stockpile weapons? Good luck finding the plates when you need them right now!
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Drinking a "monster potion", regardless of the character you're playing, transforms you into a big purple beast impervious to damage and comes with a very powerful fist attack.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The giant babies.
    • Just the giant babies? Half the enemies in the game are lightning bruisers! Werewolves, spiders, evil dolls, the squidmen when they're under water, all the bosses, the vampires, even the damn MUMMIES are surprisingly fast and can make getting to certain victims nearly impossible.
  • Lost Forever: The Flamethrower. (In the SNES version. In the Genesis version...the item doesn't even exist.)
    • The Son of Doctor Tongue only appears in his eponymous Bonus Level.
  • Mars Needs Cheerleaders
  • Monster Mash
  • Mundane Utility: Bazookas are as good as door-openers/wall-smasher as they are weapons!
  • Night of the Living Mooks
  • Nintendo Hard: One of the ROM hacks of the game decided you need between 1-3 tourist couples that each turn into a pair of werewolves 15 seconds after the start of the level in most of the levels. Have fun with those speed shoes.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: Don't let all of your neighbors die!
  • One-Hit Kill: Most enemies have a weapon they're particularly weak against.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Inverted with Zeke and Julie's squirt guns, although Zeke's gun is technically red.
  • Poison Mushroom: One of the mystery potion's side effects is to turn you into Mr. Hyde, who will actively hunt down and kill neighbors. Or your partner in a 2 player mode.
  • Rule of Totally Radical: Zeke inexplicably wears a pair of 3D glasses throughout both games.
  • Sequential Boss: The final battle with Dr. Tongue has him first transform into a spider, then a giant head.
  • Sand Worm: One of the toughest monsters to kill, and a Super-Persistent Predator to boot.
  • Shout-Out: Entering BCDF as an opening password sent you straight to the Day Of The Tentacle bonus level, themed after the video game of the same name.
  • Sprint Shoes
  • Tomboyish Baseball Cap: Julie. She demoted in Ghoul Patrol, though.
  • Too Dumb to Live: There's all kinds of monsters roaming about, but the neighbors you have to rescue apparently just don't give a damn, and are too busy hanging out in pools/barbequing/jumping on trampolines/etc. to even react when a monster is nearby. One victim is a soldier too scared out his wits to pick up the nearby bazooka and shoot some zombies.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Zeke and Julie in Ghoul Patrol. The monsters are far more demonic and take more hits before going down, so they switched the squirt guns for infinite crossbows, repeat-fire rifles, homing energy guns and hot lasers (but no bazooka for some reason).
    • The zombies themselves in Ghoul Patrol count. They're considerably stronger and scarier looking and take four shots to go down as opposed to being weak as water in ZAMN.
  • There's No "B" in Movie: Pretty much the premise of the game.
  • Transformation Sequence: Big purple beasts in ZAMN, Grim Reapers in GP.
  • Ungrateful Bitch / No Hero Discount / No Sympathy: No matter how often you rescue them from mortal danger, the teachers will always give you an "F"! And teachers are only worth 10 points when rescued.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: Very rare, but it is possible to get yourself stuck by running out of ammo for all your guns and wasting all the keys and not having a bazooka or potion to blast the doors down.
  • What Could Have Been: Ghoul Patrol was in the works before Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Lucasarts just hurried GP through and labeled it as a sequel because ZAMN was getting praised by the critics.
    • Apparently, the developers would have included battery-backed saves if they could afford it.

Big Sky TrooperCreator/Lucas ArtsRescue on Fractalus!
Zombie Panic In WonderlandZombie StoriesZombies Run
YsSuper Nintendo Entertainment SystemZool
Zero WingSega GenesisZool
Yume NikkiHorror Video Games    
The Wonderful 101Action GameZone of the Enders
Yie Ar Kung FuCreator/KonamiZone of the Enders
You Don't Know JackVideo Games of the 1990s    

alternative title(s): Zombies Ate My Neighbors
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy