(Not So) Hidden Gems-Actraiser, Aladdin, Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Actraiser, Aladdin and Zombies Ate My Neighbors are three seemingly unrelated games for the Super Nintendo that highlight this latest post. On the surface these are three very different games but have something in common, they are surprisingly fun and they can’t be found on the SNES Mini!

Actraiser was a game I owned shortly after buying my used SNES back in 1993. I don’t exactly remember how I came to own it but my assumption is that I bought it used along with U.N. Squadron from the same friend that sold me the SNES. Actraiser wasn’t a game that received a lot of publicity when it was released but it certainly has cultivated a following since. I remember not being too enthusiastic about the game at the time I picked it up but after playing it, I was hooked. Actraiser seems like it’s going to be a simple side scrolling platformer but it ends up being so much more than that. You have to build your civilization simulation style in order to help it flourish while protecting the inhabitants from demons. The sim part is fun but I prefer the side-scrolling portions of the game a bit more. Actraiser wouldn’t be Actraiser without both sides of the game, however, as that is what makes this title so unique and memorable.

Aladdin, on the other hand, doesn’t lead you to believe it’s anything other than what it is. Aladdin is exactly the game you think it is when you pop it into the console. It’s a side scrolling action platformer based on the Disney film, naturally. I have this title on the Genesis as well and while it’s nothing spectacular there, I found it to be quite enjoyable. The SNES port of Aladdin is not an identical game to the Genesis version, which is pretty cool and a neat incentive to own both versions of the games. Aladdin looks and plays very smoothly and the fun factor is high overall. A password feature helps save your progress, something that the Genesis version lacks. Aladdin is a good time for fans of the movie and fans of platformers in general.

Finally, Konami’s Zombies Ate My Neighbors rounds out this list. A top down action game, ZAMN sends you onto a frantic task of saving humans in various locations from not just the titular zombies but a plethora of monsters, ghouls, aliens, and horror film killers. For example, you’ll see a little doll come to life wielding a butcher knife and a masked killer use a chainsaw to buzz through the hedges separating you from being cut in half. Each new level comes with its own theme and spoofy horror name, which add to the quirkiness of the game. To make it through each level, you can equip yourself with a variety of weapons but sometimes just trying to evade the monsters and zombies is your best technique. You only need to save just one human per level in order to advance but your score will suffer greatly if you cannot save as many humans as possible. ZAMN is one of those interesting and charming run and gun games that isn’t all that deep but still a pleasure to play.

Currently in my collection:

Actraiser – game only B+

Aladdin – game only B

Zombies Ate My Neighbors – game, manual A-

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