STAFF REVIEW of Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol (Xbox One)

Sunday, August 15, 2021.
by Kirsten Naughton

Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol Box art I'm not going to sit here and pretend I know about classic titles that some of my friends my age played as kids. The first time I saw Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol, I had a strong retro vibe playing it. As I've done reviews in the past few years, I've come to appreciate a variety of genres. I had a bigger appreciation for Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol as I've never played it on the SNES or the Sega Genesis back when it was a huge hit at its original release. I went into Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol as a first timer.

The gameplay for both Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol is pretty similar. The main difference being that one game has Zombies and the other has Ghouls. I know, right? Pretty obvious. However, although there are only really one core difference between the two titles, the UI is slightly different. Zombies Ate My Neighbors shows you your ammo, score, how many keys you possess, your health and the weapon you're using. Ghoul Patrol has all that plus a counter showing you how many people you've saved along the way. Zombies Ate My Neighbors does not have a counter like that, you just save people until an exit door eventually appears. I prefer to have some sort of list of objectives or some idea of what my goal should be.

The very first game I ever played on Sega Genesis was Sonic the Hedgehog which is a pretty self explanatory title. The next game I remember playing was Spyro: Ripto's Rage. Since I played Spyro for the first time, I have always preferred 3D. I have always preferred them, and to be honest I generally tend to stay away from retro titles like these. It's not because I don't like them or uninterested, I simply have very little experience playing them. For me, I'm used to precision aiming, a camera that can let me move around from every angle, a menu showing me a map, objectives and inventory I have on hand. When I go into a retro title like these, I forget that the map is gone, objectives generally are non-existent and the inventory is limited. I struggle playing retro titles.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol doesn't feel like a very good port to be on Xbox in my opinion. The joysticks made it difficult to aim at Zombies/Ghouls. Maybe that's just me expecting precision and getting the same mechanics of the retro title from back in the day. I feel like if I could have used the D-pad it would have made it a little easier to navigate and control the character. I still made it happen, but it wasn't without a struggle. A struggle that even though I put quite a few hours into Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol, I found frustrated me. I truly enjoyed having the experience, but if you've never had any experience playing classic retro games like these and you jump into Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol with the Call of Duty, Enter the Gungeon and Ratchet and Clank mentality, you may not enjoy the experience as much. You'll have to remember it was made before the age of joysticks, toggle buttons and extra bumpers to make things convenient.

The one thing I'll always give retro titles is their charm, the environment within the game and the background music. Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol is no different. I love the old school ways of all three. The music is upbeat, keeping you engaged while you navigate through zombies running after you, ghouls inside furniture or a photocopier and tons of people to save as they get attacked. I love the aesthetic of the classic 16-bit style. It's cool to see that retro titles are still going strong and that they haven't been put up on the shelves for all eternity.

Having watched footage of what Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol looked like back in the early 90's, to me this re-release doesn't look like much of a new 'coat of paint', more of a simple port to bring it to modern consoles. As I said earlier, the controls haven't seemed to have been updated for the latest generation of controllers but I still enjoyed the experience of playing a classic from over two decades ago. I'll keep on trucking saving people from those Ghouls and Zombies, it'll just take me a little longer.

**Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox One**

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 5.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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