Zombie Games You May Not Have Heard Of: Beast Busters

jasondelacey's picture

Beast Busters started life out as a 1989 arcade game, developed by the guys at SNK. SNK are the company responsable for the Neo Geo and Beast Busters would be the last arcade game they would make before their main focus shifted to the Neo Geo.

This was an amazing zombie filled arcade game. Back in the 80's and 90's zombie games were not as wide spread as they are now. Let's face it, these days it seems like there is a new game with zombies in it released every month. But seeing this in the arcade was really unique at the time. Activision would be the guys who would make a conversion for home computers. Sadly the NES and Sega Master System were not powerful enough to run the game. So it was only released on the Atari ST and the Amiga.

The story of Beast Busters is set in a small town out in the middle of nowhere, where the inhabitants seem to have disappeared. You play the role of one of two bad ass special ops guys who is sent in to see just what in the hell is going on. In the arcade this was actually a three player game and had three characters Johnny Justice, Sammy Stately and Paul Patriot. It was Mr Patriot who did not make the cut for the home version.

Once you arrive at the town all hell breaks loose and you find yourself fighting off what seems like a never ending horde of zombies. Now the game play style of Beast Buster is that of a light gun shooter. In the arcades this was a very elaborate arcade cabinet that had three really cool Uzi light guns. On the Amiga and Atari ST you would have to pretend that your mouse was an Uzi.

The game moves at a blistering pace with the screen in someplace moving your forward and in other parts of the game moving vertically. What is really interesting about Beat Busters is that it was one of the first, if not the very first zombie themed game to not portray zombies as just brain dead creatures trying to eat brains. These zombies had a little bit of intelligence and as a result some could use guns and throw things at you. This was very interesting to see and it does actually make the zombies that more terrifying.

You move the mouse in order to move your crosshair over the screen. The left button handles your machine gun. The machine gun can take out most of the zombies, but you will also need to make use of your grenade launcher which is controlled with the right mouse button. The grenade launcher will be required to take down many of the end of level and even mid level bosses. You have a few different grenades, electro grenades, standard grenades and napalm bombs. The game has seven different levels which are a decent length and all quite varied.

From a presentational point of view for 1990 when this game was brought to the Amiga and Atari ST. Beast Busters was a very gruesome game. The gore here was off the chart with zombie guts being blasted all over the place. The game is actually very impressive to look at and it still holds up pretty well to this day. The story is pretty intriguing and it's told through text and some still pictures during the levels. Actually I would go as far to say that this is one of the more story driven on rails shooters that was released back in the day.

Beast Busters was an excellent game and one that seems to been forgotten in history. There were a couple of sequel/spin off games released, but that was all. If you can track this down then its well worth doing so as it really was quite groundbreaking for its time.

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Scott's picture

Reminds me of the old 'Double Dragon' days!

Jacky's picture

I definitely remember this one and played it too often!

ladydragon's picture

Fun to see Beast Busters. Great post for a Throwback Thursday! Is it really challenging? More like Mario Bros.? :) :) :)

zombiechick's picture

Reminds me of the old school Nintendo days!

ladydragon's picture

OMG. Isn't that the best? What's your favorite Nintendo game? I think between Classic Mario Brothers and maybe Zelda... those are my faves.