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Video Game / Zombies Ate My Neighbors

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Zombies Ate My Neighbors is your classic Zombie game created by LucasArts and published by Konami. Scores of B-movie monsters, from the eponymous 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 based on Classical Mythology called Herc's Adventures as well as the Xbox 360 game Monster Madness.


A movie based loosely on the game was announced but it seems to have fallen into Development Hell.

It, alongside Ghoul Patrol, will come bundled for the Nintendo Switch eShop as Lucasfilm Classic Games: Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol on June 29th, 2021.

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 bullets.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Martians are out to kill Zeke and Julie and abduct humans for reasons unknown.
  • Alien Kudzu: A reddish/purplish fungus similar to the stuff from War of the Worlds is a type of hazard - it's spread by large purple flowers who are stationary but shoot purple goop at the player. The fungus can also spawn mushroom men who are actually ambulatory and will chase the player. The flowers can also spawn spikey red bulb plants instead of the mushrooms that are functionally the same but don't spawn Mushroom Men. All four of these threats fall pretty much instantly to the weedwhacker weapon.
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  • All Deaths Final: Once neighbors die, they don't come back. However, you can gain Bonus Neighbors once your score is high enough.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: When Zeke is facing left or right, the blue lens of his 3D glasses is always the one closer to the camera.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The American cover features realistic zombies as opposed to cartoonish drawings of the games' sprites on the European cover.
  • Ancient Tomb: A few levels are massive Egyptian pyramids full of mummies and traps.
  • Apathetic Citizens: All of the survivors you come across either don't seem to realize, or care, that creatures from all kinds of horror imaginable are coming to devour them alive.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • One of the bosses, Titanic Toddler, is, well, a gigantic baby, who can stomp you flat or shoot milk out of its bottle at you. It becomes a normal (and rescuable) baby upon defeat.
    • There are also giant snake bosses, Dr. Tongue's Giant spider form, and giant ant 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.
  • 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?
    • The chainsaw-wielding enemy might count as this. He appears to be a normal human except for his super-durability, and tendency to show up alongside numerous clones of himself, but both of these things can be explained as existing for the sake of gameplay.
  • Big Bad: A mad scientist named Dr. Tongue is responsible for the whole madness.
  • Black Blood: The red blood that oozes down the screen when your game is over by losing all your lives and by letting all neighbors die is recolored purple in the Super Nintendo release.
  • Blob Monster: Recurring monsters. They’re weak against popsicles and fire extinguishers. An obvious Shout-Out to The Blob (1958).
  • Bonus Level: Six of them. Five of them are accessed by collecting a ? square in a level, while the last one requires all ten victims to be saved in Level 12. They're mechanically identical to every other level, but typically have unique and powerful weapons and items for the player to collect.
  • 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 chainsaw maniacs could count as a Wolfpack Boss version of this, as they have high health too.
  • Bowdlerise: The game was released in Europe as simply Zombies. Also, the chainsaw maniacs became lumberjacks with axes, and any level title referencing chainsaws was changed to match.
  • Bubble Gun: The Martians wield ray guns that trap the victim in a bubble but don't kill them. The player can collect these guns to do the same thing. They can also be used to kill tentacles, mushroom men, spiders and giant ants with one shot.
  • Chainsaw Good: The chainsaw maniacs, and any level that focuses on them - most of which feature this enemy type exclusively.
  • Clown-Car Grave: Most enemies spawn infinitely - which also includes zombies, who spawn by clawing out of the ground, and in a few levels, they have spawn points in graveyards, leading to this trope.
  • Combat Tentacles: One enemy type is just Purple Tentacle from Day of the Tentacle.
  • Continuing is Painful: Passwords don't preserve your weapons or lives. There's at least one ROM hack that tries to alleviate this by making starting equipment dependent on the Random Number God.
  • Cool Shades: Zeke wears old-fashioned red and blue 3D glasses.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Both games let Zeke and Julie tackle the zombie menace as a pair.
  • Creepy Doll: The killer doll enemies, which inexplicably (remember that in-universe they are toys) wield axes.
  • 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. You can the same thing by using a monster potion and punching them or the walls down instead—Neither of these, however, work on skull doors.
  • Darker and Edgier: The sequel took itself somewhat more seriously, at least in terms of visuals, which are surprisingly dark and creepy at times. The story is still pretty silly, and there are still humorous elements, like that one of the victim types you can rescue is an old man perpetually being electrocuted by a storm cloud.
  • Deadly Disc: The dishes.
  • Decoy Damsel: In some levels the tourist neighbors will turn into werewolves after a certain amount of time.
  • Developer's Room: The credits level takes place in LucasArts' office. George himself is even there!
  • Edible Ammunition: Some of your weapons are food, such as tomatoes, popsicles and soda cans.
  • Every 10,000 Points: You get a bonus neighbor. If you don't have any dead neighbors, you get an extra life. If you have max lives (six), you get a "Perfect Player" bonus... which is even more points.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: As a big B-movie loving video game, the zombies naturally get the title.
  • 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.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Done intentionally with the aliens, villains, and monsters. The manual states that Dr. Tongue unleashed the monster army unto the world, but it doesn't explain why. World domination or just For the Evulz? Likewise, some villains such as the Martians and chainsaw maniacs may be independent threats or possibly allied with Tongue for their own reasons. The game doesn't explain what their driving motives are. It's all just meant to be a sendup to horror clichés. Their presence can be justified by Rule of Cool. They're just there to be the bad guys to fight.
  • 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!:
    • The best weapon in the game, the Flamethrower, is a Guide Dang It! in itself since it's in a very obscure place and is permanently missable 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: Par for the course, the chainsaw maniacs are a hybrid of Jason from Friday the 13th and Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
  • Holy Burns Evil: The cruc—er, ancient artifact.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Squirt guns, dinner plates, cans of soda, fire extinguishers, weedwhackers, popsicles... all of which are surprisingly effective, too.
  • 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 that's impervious to damage, and comes with a very powerful fist attack. The only notable difference is that when Julie transforms into one, she still has her hat on. There are also "Ghost kid potions" which turn the player into blue (presumably, ghostly) versions of themselves, who can neither attack nor be attacked.
  • Invisibility: An effect of another potion. Only your shadow will be visible during this time.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Evil Dolls are immune to the Bazooka, as they duck under the projectiles.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Half the enemies in the game are lightning bruisers! Werewolves, evil dolls, the squidmen the chainsaw maniacs, all the bosses, the vampires, even the damn MUMMIES are surprisingly fast, durable, and can make getting to certain victims nearly impossible.
  • Logical Weakness: You can count on common knowledge to figure out enemies' weaknesses. Use the crucifix against the vampires, for instance, the weed whacker against the red weed, the silverware against the werewolves, and the fire extinguisher against the fire babies.
  • The Mall: Three levels take place at a shopping mall; "Level 3: Terror in Aisle Five", "Terrifying to the Bone! Level 13: Chopping Mall", and "Huge Discounts on: Level 25: Look Who's Shopping".
  • Mars Needs Women: Apparently the reason the martians arrived. The level that introduces them is called "Mars Needs Cheerleaders".
  • Militaries Are Useless: Armed soldiers are among the survivors you need to rescue, and in the face of the zombie apocalypse are just as useless as the trope implies.
  • Monster Mash: A whole gang of movie monsters terrorizing your hapless neighbors, including: vampires, werewolves, killer dolls, and of course zombies.
  • Mundane Utility: Bazookas are as good of a door-opener/wall-smasher as they are weapons! Fire extinguishers can also...extinguish fires.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Armies of zombies compose the weakest enemy hordes in the game.
  • Nintendo Hard:
  • Non Standard Game Over: If you let all of your neighbors die, the game is immediately over regardless of how many lives you have remaining.
  • One-Hit Kill: Most enemies have a weapon they're particularly weak against.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • The Flamethrower is easy to miss on the one level it appears on, and it's only in the SNES version.
    • The Son of Doctor Tongue only appears in his eponymous Bonus Level, and Purple Tentacle only appears in the first Bonus Level.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Inverted with Zeke and Julie's squirt guns, although Zeke's gun is red.
  • Poison Mushroom: One of the mystery potion's side effects is to turn you into the uncontrollable Mr. Hyde, who will actively hunt down and kill neighbors, and even your partner if you're in 2 player mode.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman: Despite transforming into giant hulking monsters via a potion, both Julie and Zeke are still able to save any survivors they come across.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: There is no difference in gameplay between the two characters.
  • Read the Freaking Manual: Some weapons are obvious choices for certain enemies. Some - like the Bubble Gun vs. Giant Ants - not so much. The manual has a handy list explaining weaknesses.
  • Rule of Cool: Zeke inexplicably wears a pair of 3D glasses throughout both games.
  • Sand Worm: One of the toughest monsters to kill, and a Super-Persistent Predator to boot.
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: So many examples... Such as it's easy for early players to run out of ammo battling Chainsaw Maniacs. They appear on the 4th Level. Enjoy.
  • Sequential Boss: The final battle with Dr. Tongue has him first transform into a spider, then a giant head, which itself has several forms.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Implied to be the reason the soldiers just stand there when an enemy draws near.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skewed Priorities: When you save the grilling neighbor, you get 105 points: 5 for the neighbor and 100 for the food he's cooking.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: Averted. Many weapons you pick up have at least one corresponding monster that it will deal heavy damage to, if not kill them outright, and even the water gun you have as your starter weapon has decent range, a high rate of fire, and can rapidly gun down a few fodder enemies such as the zombies in one hit each, so it's surprisingly handy throughout the game as well.
  • 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 as well, they're considerably stronger and scarier looking and take four shots to go down as opposed to being weak as water in ZAMN.
  • Transformation Sequence: Big purple beasts in ZAMN, Grim Reapers in GP.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: No matter how often you rescue them from mortal danger, the teachers will always give you an "F" grade! And they're only worth 10 points when rescued, too.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable:
    • 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.
    • It is also possible to get stuck by not having enough skeleton keys when the game requires them.
    • The game's password system is badly flawed to the point of being broken and useless. This is because it tracks exactly two things: your current level, and the number of remaining victims at the time you got the password. It doesn't matter how well-stocked you were when you got the password; if you use it, you will ALWAYS start off with only 150 water pistol ammo and a single health kit. Naturally, with VERY few exceptions that are minor at best, the farther you go by entering a password, the more severe and unpleasant your starting situation will be. And given the extreme difficulty of the final four levels, starting from level 45 is effectively setting yourself up for failure as you'll be lucky if you're able just to survive to the final boss, let alone hoard enough weapons, ammo, and items to actually take both forms down.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Victims disappear for good once they die, so letting the monsters kill them is not advised, no matter how much more quickly you think you'll get through the levels. Oh, and if none of the victims survive the level, it's an immediate game over no matter how well you're doing otherwise, so best not to make yourself hope that monsters don't score a lucky shot/spawn on your sole surviving neighbor for up to 55 stages straight.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Many of the monsters have a particular weapon type that is exceptionally lethal to them, allowing you to One-Hit Kill some enemies with the appropriate item. For example, Tomatoes are extremely toxic to Martians.
    • Toxic blobs die in a single hit if you can manage to land a Popsicle on them. Additionally, they're the only non-fire-based enemy that can be killed by the Fire Extinguisher. (All other enemies will be frozen by the extinguisher and take double damage from all weapons, until the freeze wears off.)
    • You can kill werewolves in a single attack by throwing Silverware at them.
    • Pod Plants are, appropriately, easily disposed of with the Weedwhacker.
    • The otherwise VERY durable Giant Ants die on contact with the Bubble Gun's projectiles, whereas every other monster is merely incapacitated temporarily.
    • While the Bazooka works fine, throwing Plates at a Snakeoid takes it down just as well.
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: What happens to the neighbors who get killed.