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LucasArts’ best game, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, somehow works amazingly well as an FPS

LucasArts' best game, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, somehow works amazingly well as an FPS

Folk bang on about the golden age of LucasArts like all it made was text adventures (and yep, they’re amazing). But one of the things about that particular ’80s/’90s incarnation of the studio was that it didn’t feel like an addendum to the ‘real’ business of LucasFilm, but an independent entity allowed to create its own characters and universes and make games the way its designers thought they should be made. It developed the odd Star Wars game sure (and they were generally great too), but it wasn’t a Star Wars factory.

Probably my favourite LucasArt game, with apologies to the aficionados, is Zombies Ate My Neighbors. This 1993 title was a co-op top-down run-and-gun action game, released on the Super Nintendo and Mega Drive/Genesis, with some of the greatest pixel art you’ll ever see and an irresistibly fast rhythm. It’s all about dashing around the levels as fast as possible, grabbing neighbours to save them from enemies (who’ll kill them if they touch, at which point a sad little ghost floats upwards), dodging baddies and grabbing household weaponry. The music, the escalation, the constant horror references and the sense of humour are one-of-a-kind, and to me this stands as one of the true jewels of the 16-bit age.

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