Part of the 2nd 9 Days of Heck event! It wouldn’t be Halloween without a horror-themed arcade game solely created to steal all of your quarters, now would it?
Played on: MAME
Developer: American Sammy
Publisher: American Sammy
Date posted: October 25, 2018
Ah, yes. American Sammy. The company most know now and days as the one that published a bunch of Guilty Gear games in the west. Of course, that’s not all they did- turns out they made a bunch of arcade games as well!
Violent. Cheap. Gaudy. This is only a few ways I would describe 1995’s Zombie Raid, a mixed-bag of mid ninties arcade action! So what’s good, and what’s bad about this horror themed rooty-tooty point and shooty? The answer may shock you! (but proably not!)
Set in 1918, a lone detective named Edward Windsor is investigating a string of disappearances… and then is attacked by a werewolf! AHHHH! And then Zombies! AHHHH! And Frankenstein! And more werewolves! AHHHH! Yes- this game just throws every movie monster it could think of at you, and boy, is it nuts!
And before you ask, it came out one year before The House of the Dead, a game with a similar premise. Talk about timing! Making everything more ironic is that Sammy would eventually merge with Sammy. Awkward!
So let’s finally talk about this crazy thing!
The game, of course is pretty basic. You point your plastic gun (or mouse cursor, in my case) at all sorts of things that go bump in the night. Madmen with firearms, werewolves that jump jump around and get down, zombies that throw stakes at you for some reason- there’s no amount of crazy creatures to obliterate in this thing!
Even better is how most things die in this game. Most enemies explode in a mess of blood, guts and bones, usually in a spectacular fashion! This game came out three years after Mortal Kombat, and I almost could not believe this game was allowed in arcades. I can imagine many concerned parents covering up little billy’s eyes as he looked up at the glowing arcade screen, in awe of the exploding gibs of werewolfs and zombies on screen. God, I miss the 90’s!
The game also looks still looks great, with it’s over the top violent cartoon visuals. You can tell a lot of time went into the sprites and backgrounds that remind you of the classic horror movies of old. Whether it be the monsters, or the mayhem, you can tell someone really liked doing the art for this thing! This goes for the arcade cabinet as well, which gives off a great Gothic horror vibe with its somewhat realistic looking Frankenstein monster and werewolf.
And sadly, that’s all the good things I have to say about this game, because boy, is it f@#king cheap! I don’t know if the game was meant to be played by two people, or if the game was intentionally designed to be so frustrating!
At any given time, you can have 5 or so enemies all firing projectiles at once, and failure to take them down results in death more times then none. Bosses, especially later on, are particularly cheap, having attacks that cannot be countered in anyway, who’s attack can take off half of your life-bar. Indeed, this game will take your allowance, so bring plenty of quarters!
But it gets worse.
Yep. In their infinite wisdom, the game designers thought it would be funny by locking the last boss fight behind some obscure bullshit that you would only have known if you either played though the game once, or had access to the internet. It was 1995 when this game came out, so really didn’t have a lot of options….
You see, in order to fight the last boss, you needed three hidden gems hidden in levels 3, 4, and 5. The first gem is almost impossible to obtain solo- you need to take down an elvator full of zombies before they leave the screen. On MAME, I had to assign the shoot and reload key to one button in order to get this gem, meaning you need another person or an insane rate of fire to get it!
The next gem only appears for a few seconds, behind a statue. You destroy it, you get it. The kicker? The game doesn’t tell you if you got the gem until the end of the level!
The final gem is easiest- all you have to do is defeat the level 5 boss. After that is when the bullshit sets in…
If you did not get all three gems, guess what? Game Over. No ability to continue. The game then taunts you , and tells you that you made a mistake.
Oh, and getting all three gems does not guarantee anything- you still have to put them in the right order in order to progress! What happens if you do it wrong? You guessed! Game Over, No continues.
This is bad arcade game design, through and through. This game is so cheap, so difficult, that by making the player jump through hoops like this, only to have them fail is a serious problem.
I made a note about how many times I died in my play thorough. I died 61 times, meaning I had to insert a “credit” every time I died and wanted to continue. If one credit is a quarter, then that means I would have spent $15.25 to beat Zombie Raid at an actual arcade. However, arcade owners really like charging 50 cents for light gun games, so the cost can be up to $30. But what if I spent $30, and forgot one gem? Too bad. Game Over.
I have no words….
So would I recommend Zombie Raid? Yes- but not at an actual arcade. Unless the machine is turned to Free Play mode, Zombie Raid is pretty much a scam! Load it up on MAME for a incredibly cheap, gory, and unfair shooter, drenched in the spirit of Halloween. Just don’t give it your money!
Agree? Disagree? Good! Leave a comment about how terrible my taste is in the comments below!
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