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Zombie Nation/Abarenbō Tengu
The box art of Zombie Nation
Cover box for the North American release for the NES
Developer(s) KAZe
Publisher(s) Meldac
Designer(s) Sueo Sekizawa (executive producer)
Junichiro Kawazoe (producer)
Norio Nakagata (director)
Takane Ohkubo (game designer)
Takao Yoshiba (graphic designer)
Shin-ichi Ogawa (graphic designer)
Norio Nakagata (sound creator)
Takane Ohkubo (sound creator)
Kunihito Hiramatsu (program designer)
License Commercial
Engine Proprietary
Platform(s) Nintendo Entertainment System
Release date(s) JP February 14, 1990 (1990-02-14)
NA September 1991
Genre(s) Shoot 'em up
Mode(s) Single-player
Media Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge
Input methods Nintendo Entertainment System game controller

Zombie Nation, or Samurai Zombie Nation as the in-game title screen calls it, is a 1990 NES action game developed by KAZe. In Japan, it is known as Abarenbō Tengu (暴れん坊天狗 ?, lit. "Hooligan Tengu"). This game is known for its strange juxtaposition of zombies and samurai.

In Zombie Nation, the floating samurai head, Namakubi, is sent to the United States to destroy Darc Seed - an alien who crashed to Earth via a meteorite and turned all the American people into zombies. Namakubi must recover the samurai sword Shura (which has no relevance to the gameplay) and destroy Darc Seed and its minions.



The player controls the severed samurai head Namakubi (Japanese word denoting "sliced off heads"). The player can destroy structures and enemies by shooting rapid-fire eyeballs and vomit at them.[1] Enemies include zombie snipers, zeppelins, and lava monsters.[2] The player can upgrade his/her firepower by rescuing zombie hostages that leap out of structures when destroyed.[3]

The player starts every level with a full life bar of eight units (displayed as mini zombie heads on the bottom of the screen), and as the player gets hit, the life bar decreases. When it is down to one bar remaining, the music changes to a dramatic theme. The game ends when the player loses all eight units on his/her life bar or is crushed by the scrolling of the screen. However, the player can regenerate some of his/her life by defeating enemies and structures. In addition, the player gets six continues to beat the game.[4]

Zombie Nation features two difficulty levels - easy and hard. It also allows the player, like in the Mega Man Series, to select any stage at will. Once a stage is selected the following stages will be played sequentially cycling from stage 4 back to 1. The objective is to clear all four stages and then destroy the final boss, Darc Seed.[5]


The plot of Zombie Nation takes place in 1999, when a meteor known as "Darc Seed" crashes in the Nevada desert. Darc Seed then shoots magnetic rays and turns the people of the United States into zombies. Darc Seed also brings the Statue of Liberty to life to follow its commands. The magnetic rays also allows Darc Seed to control many deadly weapons, including the most powerful weapon of all - the legendary samurai sword Shura.

The head of the samurai, Namakubi hears of Shura falling into Darc Seed's clutches. He then heads to the United States to destroy Darc Seed, free the American people from the looming zombification, and reclaim the samurai sword Shura.[6]

Abarenbō Tengu

Screenshot of Abarenbō Tengu

Meaning "hooligan tengu", this game was released in Japan in 1990 by Meldac. It was then localized outside Japan as Zombie Nation due to the tengu belonging to Japanese folklore not widely familiar with western culture. Aside from having some Japanese text, both games are practically identical, with this game having only a few major differences:

  • In Abarenbō Tengu, the player must obtain the rapid fire ability. In Zombie Nation, the player starts with it.
  • The main character's sprite is not that of the flying samurai head, Namakubi, but that of a Japanese konoha tengu head. The title screen is different with the tengu's head being incorporated into it.
  • The boss of Round I is an evil Statue of Liberty in both games but with a slightly different sprite; instead of being green with snakes in replace of its crown in Zombie Nation, it's red and has a normal crown.


The game was reviewed in 1991 in Dragon #172 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 2 1/2 out of 5 stars.[7]


  1. ^ Instruction Manual, How to Use the Controller.
  2. ^ Instruction Manual, Enemy Characters.
  3. ^ Instruction Manual, Game Description.
  4. ^ Instruction Manual, The Life Gauge.
  5. ^ Instruction Manual, How to Play the Game.
  6. ^ Instruction Manual, Introduction.
  7. ^ Lesser, Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk (August 1991). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (172): 55-64.  


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