Shooting games were a dime a dozen in the mid to late 90s, and for good reason. They are easy to pickup and play, somewhat simple to implement, and cater toward the wanton destruction and chaos developers thought gamers wanted. With that in mind, it’s no wonder there are some games that have completely passed me by that I didn’t even know of.
Which is the exact case with Zombie Raid. Created by Sammy and released in American arcades in 1995, the game featured typical horror/zombie based shooting action. You’ll go through graveyard, spooky houses, and more as you battle big bosses at the end of each stage. Having not heard of the game until seeing it at Galloping Ghost, I was immediately shocked to find the game released in 1995. The visuals date it much further than that, and I thought this game came out in the late 80s. By 1995 there were much more impressive shooters in the arcades, so I’m not surprised this one went by largely unnoticed.
Something I found interesting about the game is the cabinet and overall presentation. The visuals in-game are kind of cartoony, giving a sort of Saturday Morning kids show vibe. A creepy, mega deranged Saturday Morning vibe, but one nonetheless. But then the action is incredibly violent, with monsters splattering into gooey pieces with each shot. It’s a bit jarring, but I’m here for it! Also worth pointing out are the physical guns with each machine. They are shotguns, and they are mounted to the cabinet itself, kind of like the Terminator 2 shooter. The feel hefty and weighty to move around, and are a good highlight for the game.
I wasn’t able to play through the entire game during my visit, but I found out online there’s an interesting collection mechanic built into the game. You need to collect three keys to even attempt the final boss. If you don’t have those keys before fighting the boss, you just immediately lose. I’d be pretty pissed if I were pumping quarters into this game thinking I’m making progress toward the end boss, only to be met with an impassable game over screen. Still though, I suppose it makes the sweetness of success even sweeter.
Zombie Raid didn’t see any release outside of the arcades. It’s actually a North American exclusive arcade game as well, only seeing release in the United States. Being a fairly hard to find game I’d say give it a shot any time you might see one out in the wild. Be prepared to spill lots of blood and drop lots of quarters though!
Played at Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfiled, IL 2019