When it came time to follow Zombies Ate My Neighbors, LucasArts decided to go with a third-party developer. Using basically the same gameplay engine as the one found in Zombies, the developer was able to successfully create a game that looked and played very similarly to the original release called Ghoul Patrol. Unfortunately, the addition of a few sloppy gameplay elements, not to mention a game missing much of the quirky "B" horror movie charm and humor of the original release, the game failed to capture the same cult following of its predecessor.
Fans of Zombies Ate My Neighbors will immediately feel right at home with the play control of Ghoul Patrol. Your goal remains the same: locate and rescue all of the victims placed around each area before the monsters get to them. Once you've located all remaining victims in the area a Time Portal will open to take you to the next area. At the end of each world awaits an area boss before you can take on the next world.
Zombies’ Zeke and Julie return for another bout of ghoul blasting. You're given a crossbow as your standard weapon, but you'll be able to locate more powerful weapons around each area. You'll also find specialty items that do everything from restore your character's health bars to a magical potion that will turn you into a rather angry grim reaper, quite useful for taking out stronger enemies and busting through certain walls.
While the original Zombies Ate My Neighbors was a fairly standard run-and-shoot action game, the developers tried to increase the variety of gameplay in Ghoul Patrol and the results end up being a very mixed bag of tricks. Your character can still run around and shoot using various weapons, but you now also have the ability to jump and slide. These maneuvers can be useful at times, but for the most part they feel a bit tacked-on and tend to lack responsiveness. It's certainly not enough to make the game unplayable, but it's something fans of the series will likely find a detriment to their enjoyment of the game, especially considering the smooth original.
The developers were able to come up with some very creative and interesting settings for each area, some even more impressive than those found in Zombies. There's still plenty of spooky charm and detail, and the characters and bosses are equally impressive from a visual standpoint. The soundtrack picks up right where the previous game left off, and there's every bit as many quirky musical tracks to carry the cheap horror movie theme of the game. It goes without saying, if you were a fan of the presentation of the original, you'll likely enjoy what Ghoul Patrol has to offer – just don't expect anything extra.
There's certainly no denying the vast number of similarities between Ghoul Patrol and Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Gamers who just couldn't get enough of the original might want to at least give the game a closer look now that it's available at a much more cost-efficient 800 points. That being said, the glaring omission of the original's off-beat humor and responsive controls might end up being too much for action fans to ignore, especially given the game's rather lofty difficulty level. Ghoul Patrol is a decent attempt at capturing the magic of Zombies but never seems to come off as anything more than a clumsy knock-off.