Top 100 SNES Review: #24 – Zombies Ate My Neighbors (1993)

Plays like an Arcade Game… But It’s Not One.

I thought for sure this game was designed to take my quarters. 

Zomebies Ate My Neighbors Title ScreenSydlexia’s Ranking: #24/100
My Rating: StarStar

There are only so many two-player games in the world. Sure, everyone knows about about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Contra III or Super Mario Kart for the SNES, but the pickings quickly get thin. Zombies Ate My Neighbors (or ZAMN) seemed to be a viable remedy: a self-aware and irreverent top-down adventure with B-grade movie tropes should be easy enough to enjoy.

Everyone was willing to give it a try, but no one was willing to stick around.

ZAMN isn’t a bad game per say, but it doesn’t do anything to earn your undivided attention. Every attempt with different people followed the same crescendos — immediate interest, followed by a lull, ending with a let’s move on. I attempted a one-player go through thinking it might have just been my company, but I found that I solitarily followed the same peaks and valleys.

The reason is mostly in the gameplay; it uses an arcade design with lots of repetitive levels that are disconnected and has steep difficulty curves. There is plenty of weird but not enough substance.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #93 – Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (1992)

95% Awful With A Couple Good Midi Tracks.

I didn’t expect much from the backend of this Top 100 list, and it still disappointed. 

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest Title Screen Sydlexia’s Ranking: #93/100
My Rating: Star

I’ve seen Instagram accounts for models that have more depth than this game.

Made to attract North American kids to the new genre of RPGs in the early 90s, Square gutted anything that might have raised the difficulty level a microgram. ANYTHING. Not wanting to risk us getting lost, the locations are named things such as ‘Aquaria’ and ‘Windia’ and ‘Fireburg.’ The world map is more like Super Mario Bro’s 3 forcing you into predetermined sidewalks of adventure. There is an option to allow autobattle where the computer takes over your sole companion’s commands because hitting the A button for two party members would be too much.

The game makes sure we avoid strategy, story, exploration, or anything else that might be kind of like, ya know, the things we enjoy from RPG games.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #8 – Final Fantasy II (1991)

Lovable Even With The Rough Edges.

An RPG with one foot in past and one foot in the future. 

Final Fantasy II Title Screen

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #8/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

There was a lot you had to put up with to get through a role-playing game pre-90s: convoluted menu systems, unknown item/spell effects, poor inventory management, requisite level grinding. It’s amazing any of us thought those games were “fun.”

Final Fantasy II/IV for the SNES is where story telling became the center point for role playing games, and it attempts to shed some of those harsh old-school elements. This game is still very unpolished, but there is something endearing about all the mistranslations, odd programing, and strange things found within.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #7 – Mega Man X (1993)

Part Two Led to Exit Stage Right

The first half is a repetitive adventure while the second half just repetitive. 
MegaMan X Title Screen
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #7/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Gaming in the early 90s was compartmentalized to your immediate sphere of influence. Outside of Nintendo Power, there was no media access for new releases or reviews. Your choice of games were influenced by whatever your parents brought home, the blockbuster employee’s suggestions, or what your friends owned. Due to this randomness, Mega Man completely bypassed me.

I see the allure of Mega Man: having to figure out which bosses to defeat first to get the right weapons that then let you defeat other bosses. This made the repetition of going through the same eight stages at least worthwhile. After that, I’m not sure there is any reason to play Mega Man X.

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