ZOMBIE HUNTER / Hi-Score Software / NES
I would describe Zombie Hunter as an Ys 3 clone, but I think it came out a good two years or so prior to Ys 3 ... hmm, does that make Ys 3 a Zombie Hunter clone? Probably not.
Anyway, this is a Japan-only release that was translated to English by a dood named KingMike. In spite of the Japanese origins, you get a really low-quality and staticy digitized declaration of "JOMBIE HUNTAW" on the title screen, and little clips of voice samples are used here and there. Which is pretty good for 1987, I suppose, though certainly nothing compelling at this point.
The game is simply described as stiff, clunky and hard. It has the old-school action game quality of not pushing back or stunning monsters when you hit them, allowing them to just constantly bulldoze toward you. Fortunately you don't seem to take damage by touching them, but they spew fireballs at such a fast rate that when they are up on you they effectively get a guaranteed hit on you.
I'm not really sure where the zombies are in this one, unless they're the BRAAAAAAINS of the operation (nyuk nyuk) and waiting at the end of the game. Foes mostly seem to consist of mini-dragons, floating monsters and various Gorems. To combat all these goofballs you start out with a dinky sword, which remains your primary weapon, but slain foes will also sometimes drop pieces of armor, popsicles and throwing daggers as well as other items. You can equip some of this stuff to boost your stats, and you also gain EXP as you slay which eventually raises attack, defense and health.
The gameplay isn't as bad as Tower of Druaga, but it isn't far off. You can't really hit foes with your dinky sword without taking a fireball right back in the face immediately, so a lot of the game is sort of awkwardly jumping and twitching around trying futilely to get a hit off without taking a hit in return. Every now and then you get a popsicle to regain some health or a dagger to chuck or something, but it all seems too few and far between to make any meaningful difference in your survival chances. Then you get some digitized bitch yelling at you every time you die, which happens quite a bit.
I couldn't take too much of this one. Not sure why BigMike decided to translate this one, other than for quick practice or something.
* KingMike Translations
* Gameplay Video