Too Much Free Time

Discussion and reviews of games for NES, Intellivision, DOS, and others.

First Impressions: Zombie Nation

Posted by Tracy Poff on March 24, 2008

This time a shoot-em-up, Zombie Nation, known in Japan as Abarenbou Tengu.

The plot of Zombie Nation is odd, and I doubt that it matters. You’re a flying samurai head, and you are apparently charged with rescuing America, the population of which has been turned into zombies. Maybe.

There were lasers scattered liberally throughout the level which reduced me to one life unit, so I died quite often at first. You have only one life, and limited continues, each of which returns you to the beginning of the level. Therefore I relied on save states to explore.

It seems that you are meant to rescue people who will occasionally fly out of buildings and things as you destroy them. Collecting four such people allows you to have more shots on the screen at a time, and eventually allows you to use a special attack which targets the whole screen. The first level culminates in a battle against the Statue of Liberty, which seems to have become a medusa at some point.

Abarenbou Tengu is rather different. In a stunning display of needless changes in localisation, the samurai head you play as in Zombie Nation is not present in the Japanese version. Instead, you play as a tengu head. The Statue of Liberty, too, was changed in localisation: in the Japanese version, it was not a medusa, and was red besides.

I played further on Abarenbou Tengu than Zombie Nation, so I do not know how things changed after the first boss, but I do have to wonder how they might have changed the second boss:

Perhaps it’s better not to know. Still, despite the odd localisation and initial difficulty, Zombie Nation is a pretty good game. Certainly worth wasting a few minutes on.

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