🐳 Latest Moby v2023.06.02 update

Zombie Nation

aka: Abarenbou Tengu, Darc Seed, Samurai Zombie Nation

Critic Reviews 70% add missing review

Questicle.net (A-) (91%)

And all will know that Zombie Nation is the greatest shoot-em-up/Rampage combination to ever be created, either on the NES or any other game system, both great and small.

Mar 2014 · NES · read review

Video Game Critic, The (B+) (83%)

The degree of destruction you can unleash is truly awesome as you obliterate buildings that instantly go up in flames. Even the game itself struggles to keep up with the carnage, causing your head to flicker badly as a consequence. Take extra care to avoid the laser beams, which pretty much drain your entire life bar. Even those that appear to be in the distance are deadly. The graphics - especially the city skylines - look pretty spectacular. You only get one life, and novice players will find themselves staring at "game over" after just 5 or 10 seconds. You can select among four stages and two difficulty levels. Zombie Nation really took me by surprise. This shooter is so weird, crazy, and downright stupid that I can't get enough of it.

Oct 29th, 2013 · NES · read review

1UP! (81 out of 100) (81%)

Si la difficulté ne le rend pas, il faut bien l'avouer, particulièrement abordable, qu'il aurait sans doute aussi mieux valu diviser les niveaux et laisser le choix de ceux-ci permanent, Abarenbou Tengu n'a cependant rien d'un mauvais jeu. Son principe délirant, comme une rencontre de Rampage et R-Type dans une maison de thé japonaise, est enchâssé dans une réalisation finement travaillée de shoot'em up plus sage, qui le met à l'abri des critiques qui auraient voulu tirer parti de sa marginalité pour se moquer de lui sur d'autres points. La preuve indiscutable de son succès, qui ressemble plus au fin mot d'une bonne blague, est qu'un titre comme lui soit sorti aux Etats-Unis, certes quelque peu remanié mais pas autant que pouvait le laisser penser le contenu.

Aug 8th, 2008 · NES · read review

Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library ( ) (80%)

The player is only given a single life per game, but thankfully there are several continues available to give the player at least somewhat of a chance in this weird, action-packed shooter.

2016 · NES

Defunct Games (75 out of 100) (75%)

The truth is, if it wasn't for some weird control issues, I would say that this is one of my favorite NES games. As it is, many of the good ideas found in Zombie Land are marred by the way the game feels. Thankfully you can get over that and enjoy a truly original game, but it's a shame that nobody thought to tighten up the gameplay before shipping it to stores.

Aug 16th, 2009 · NES · read review

Hey Poor Player ( ) (70%)

The ending of Zombie Nation was very fitting and capped off an extremely odd game perfectly. I had a hell of a time my first playthrough of the game because I didn’t read over the manual, but once I was able to look it over, my enjoyment increased dramatically. If you fired this up on an emulator to see what an extremely expensive game played like and you were immediately turned off by what you experienced, I implore you to give this one another go. Just remember to check back here and go over the health and weapons system and I think you’ll be surprised to find yet another fun title in the NES library.

Jun 6th, 2016 · NES · read review

Nintendo Power Magazine (2.9 out of 5) (58%)

Four stages of zombie-zapping action await in this weird action thriller from Meldac.

Apr 1991 · NES

Gamervision (2 out of 10) (20%)

Zombie Nation is a cruel joke filled with repetitive game play, poor translation, and will definitely leave you thinking, "WTF?"

Jan 11th, 2008 · NES · read review

Game Players N/A

Zombie Nation is a mixed bag. Although some gamers will appreciate the unique concept—which is backed up with fairly solid game play — others will be disappointed with its lack of variety and challenge. And the graphics, while adequate, are less than dazzling. Use your head and think twice before buying this one.

Aug 1991 · NES · read review

Player Reviews

No one lives long, not even you.

The Good
The gameplay isn't very deep, but it's what you'd expect from a game as insane as this. You simply blow up buildings, shoot down every enemy you see and eat people to power up. You also have a health bar, unlike a lot of other shooters of the time. It's not made very clear in-game how you gain health, but if you're good enough, it won't be too much of a problem.

The visuals in this game are surprisingly fluid, given the limited scope of the NES. As you destroy buildings, the parts you blow up catch on fire, and the fire is has some surprisingly fluid animation, in fact there are a lot of background objects in the game that have this level of animation, from storm clouds, to waterfalls and even the lasers that come from the background. There are even some things that happen far away in the background of level 1, as lasers are pointed at the sky by people awaiting, and fearing, your arrival. In addition, the characters and bosses seem to have a large amount of detail as well. Granted, this quality isn't applied to a lot of small objects, such as planes, helicopters and people, but it's a very visually-impressive game. Without a doubt, the level that looks the best is level 2-1, with nearly the entire top half of the screen filled with finely animated storm clouds and lightning. The only thing I can complain about is the just-as-abundant level of sprite flicker and slowdown. However the former happens much more often than the latter.

Finally, I really like the soundtrack to this game. Most people I know aren't a fan of music by Norio Nakagata, but I like his sort of avant-garde style when it comes to composition. Here, it applies very well, giving off sort of a gothic vibe in some songs, while expressing depression in others, and all the while, the melodies and bass lines scream with energy. I especially love the level 1-2 theme, the level 4-1 theme, and the credits theme.

The Bad
The original Japanese title translates out to Rowdy Tengu, which makes sense since you are destroying a large portion of the United States. However, the US story says the character comes to the United States to save everyone. Yet, there is no one that you actually save. You just kill everyone! Also, despite everyone in the US being turned into zombies, they can still pilot vehicles, construct machinery, and fire guns. The Japanese version seems to have a more comprehensible story, but I personally haven't taken the time to translate it, so I don't know what the final boss has to do with anything. However, in an old NES game like this, there are MANY more things that can be wrong with it.

One thing that bugs me, and might bug others quite a bit, is the fake difficulty. On the round select screen, pressing select switches between Easy and Hard difficulties. The difference isn't necessarily increased damage to you, but the controls are driftier, making the avoidance of a lot of enemies even harder. That is hardly fair with all the rocks that fall from the top of the stage, the massive amounts of bullets onscreen (most of which flicker or disappear), and the tricky enemy patterns.

However, the one thing that is the most irritating about this game is that during a boss battle, your health bar disappears. I assume this is to make room for the bosses, which are made of background tiles. If they were made of sprites they'd probably slow the fights to a crawl. It really is a pain because you don't know how close you are to dying, and a lot of boss attacks can drain almost your entire health bar, or even kill you in one hit! Oh, and speaking of these attacks, several stages have some kind of beam that reduces your life bar to one unit. And the higher the number of the stage, the more frequently these beams activate. In addition to this, if you don't react quickly enough, these beams can trap you on the left side of the screen, waiting to be zapped. When it comes to keeping yourself safe, the game, on many occasions, decides that that isn't an option.

The Bottom Line
It's not as bad as a lot of people make it out to be. True it can be unfair at times, but it's still quite enjoyable because of the variety in enemies, stages, bosses and mechanics. And on top of all of this, it might be one of the first video games where you play as a villain. It's also not quite as hard as a lot of other shooters despite the weird enemy patterns and whatnot. I'd recommend it, but there's a lot of things in this game that are GUARANTEED to bug some people.

by spoonybard13 (8) on Oct 2nd, 2014 · NES

Plus 14 player ratings without reviews

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by RhYnoECfnW, Scaryfun, Alsy, SlyDante, Big John WV, Alaka, WONDERなパン.