(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poKDBeT_fCM (/ embed)
Folk touched the golden age of LucasArts, as all it did were text adventures (and yes, they are amazing). But one of the things about this particular incarnation of the studio of the 80s / 90s was that it did not feel like an addendum to the "real" business of LucasFilm, but that an independent entity allowed to create their own characters and universes and make the games the way their designers thought. It developed some weird Star Wars games (and in general they were fantastic too), but it wasn’t a Star Wars factory.
Probably my favorite LucasArt game, sorry for the fans, is Zombies Ate My Neighbors. This 1993 title was a top-down co-op action game, released on Super Nintendo and Mega Drive / Genesis, with some of the best pixels you’ve ever seen and an irresistibly fast pace. It's about jumping around the levels as fast as possible, catching neighbors to save them from enemies (who will kill them if they touch each other, at which point a sad ghost floats up), dodging the bad guys, and grabbing house weapons. The music, the climbing, the constant references to horror and the sense of humor are unique and, to me, it’s one of the real gems of the 16-bit age.
Someone who probably agrees with me is a Chilean genius who goes through Dude27th online and is remaking Zombies Ate My Neighbors as a Doom II mod. There are modifications, and then there are the modifications that you find that only make your jaw drop, and this is clearly a work of love and is executed with a certain serious talent. Just watch a few seconds of Terror in Aisle Five, the second level of the game, and see how perfectly this has translated the style of play into a new format.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgP-NIyf5gQ (/ embed)
You will need a copy of Doom II and the modification can be downloaded here, although, as it is a work in progress, Dude27th currently only reaches level 7 (the game had 41 levels and 7 bonus stages, another reason it was incredibly good).
If all this sounds a bit off and you just feel a surge of nostalgia for Zombies Ate My Neighbors and the also good Ghoul Patrol sequel (although that wasn’t really a LucasArts set), then I have good news. The two games were released a few weeks ago as a package on Steam. The original game, for my money, still doesn’t have enough credit for how good it is. Anyway: this is my neat evening.