Weirdsday: Zombie Nation (NES)

Released in 1991 for the NES, Zombie Nation sounds like an awesome zombie killing game, or maybe a strategy game where you control a nation of zombies. Nope. There are zombies involved, and it is a whole country, but that is where it gets weird.

The basics of the game are as follows. A meteor called The Darc Seed crashes in Nevada. The meteor sends out rays that turn the people of the United States into zombies, as well as bringing the Statue of Liberty to life under the Darc Seed’s Control. The Darc Seed also ends up in possession of what is said to be the most powerful weapon ever, the legendary katana Shura.  You play the head of the samurai Namakubi(severed head?) and apparently grow giant and fly around shooting eye lasers and vomiting to free the people of the United States and reclaim the sword Shura.

Zombie Nation has two modes, listed as easy and hard, but let’s be real. They are Hard and Harder. Yea, tough game. You choose one of 4 stages and fly through it shooting buildings,

zeppelins, lava monsters, and zombies. You also rescue zombies for some reason as well. Guess there are good and bad zombies in the game. You have 8 health points then it is game over. You can also be killed by getting caught on and having the screen scroll kill you. If you die, you have 6 continues to try again. Once you beat all 4 stages, you go on to the final stage to defeat the Darc Seed and save everyone… Oh, and get that magic sword thing.

The game controls well enough, fly around, shoot things, vomit, zap, zoom. It does not feel floaty or delayed. It is a shooter released later in the NES’s life so there is no excuse for a shooter

to have poor feeling controls at this point. The game is difficult enough without having to wrestle with the controls so it is good that this is not the case.

The graphics are okay. There are large swaths of the same color in many parts, with most stages being two or three colors with black for ‘details’. Your character is a giant head in various shades of orange, and the enemies are mostly green. You can tell what everything is, but it is not the best ever by any means. There are limitations on the Nintendo Entertainment System for color and sprites to be sure, but other games work with the same limitations and do much better.
The sound in Zombie Nation works well enough. When you are low on health, the music changes to give you a heads up you about to be dead feeling, but nothing too much to really comment on either.  Looking at both the graphics and sound, they both remind me of the 1989 Godzilla game, but Godzilla looked and sounded a bit better to me.

Overall, Zombie Nation is a weird, tough game with okay graphics and gameplay. The strange concept and difficulty pretty much assured its place a cult favorite, but overall there are better shooters out there on the NES.

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