Folks, I need you to step back in time with me today, as I travel to my childhood. As a kid, I never really had a lot of money, so I didn't get my SNES until everyone on the block owned a Playstation. But, I didn't care (and, to this day, still don't) Why is that? 2 reasons: 10 Street Fighter 2, and, of course, Zombies Ate My Neighbors. The most appreciated under-appreciated game ever, ZAMN is the epitome of classic gaming in my mind: no rewards other than your name on a scoreboards, frantic gameplay, great music, memorable enemies and challenges, and using crazy-ass weapons to off your foes. No where was that more apparent than on level 4 of ZAMN, today's Level-Headed stage: Chainsaw Hedgemaze Mayhem.
Raised me better than my parents ever could.
For those not in the know, ZAMN is the story of a kid going around his neighborhood (and various other locals), destroying abominations of God (everything from zombies (big surprise) and werewolves to the purple tentacle from Day Of The Tentacle), and trying to save other human beings from being eaten alive. As a kid, this game was awesome. The different weapons you could use were crazy (squirt guns, rocket launchers, Pandora's Box, silverware, footballs, etc.), and each level had brought something new to the table. The first 3 levels were a showcase of the pros of the game; interesting level design, an array of cleaver weapons, and introduction to the first few meager enemies. Then, you reached level 4, and shit truly began happening.
HOW THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO GET TO THOSE FAT TOURIST FUCKERS?
You start off the level amongst a row of hedges, with no enemies around, thinking this is gonna be a cakewalk. You walk around for a bit, maybe find a few neighbors, stock up on a few supplies.
Then it happens.
You turn a corner, hear an odd sound effect, then A CHAINSAW WIELDING MANIAC BUSTS THROUGH THE HEDGES AND ZOMG HE'S COMING FOR YOUR ASS!!!!! As a child, first witnessing the maniacs scared the ever-loving shit out of me. See, shit like that wasn't supposed to happen; in the earlier levels, you realise that the hedges are impenetrable, unless you happen to have a rocket or monster-change potion on hand. Then, without expecting it, some crazy motherfucker busts through the hedges like they're paper. I just shit myself looking at this picture.
So, you start running, trying to get your bearings back, and trying to stay alive while finding the rest of your neighbors. Once you come to your senses, you think, "Hell, I'll just kill these guys. They're just like every other enemy in the game!" Oh, but that's not true. These are beasts from hell, out to rend your head from your body, and a mere squirtgun won't do shit to them. Hell, even a single rocket isn't enough for these bastards!!! Aside from the fact that this level introduces you to the nightmares you will have ongoing for the next 7 years, the maze design throws you off. Up to now, each level has been rther straightforward. Not, the programers decide to throw a wrench into your thought process and just toss you in a fucking maze. I've always appreciated that.
To this day, everytime I go back and pop in ZAMN, I still get shivers knowing level 4 is coming up. If you've ever played this level before, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you don't check out the video of this scary-ass level
(obviously with cheats).
Temple of Ice (Legend of Zelda:Phantom Hourglass)