October is the month where the ghosts and ghoulies come out to play as we begin the countdown to Halloween with a video game flashback of some old games based on classic horror movies. When I say old, I don’t mean like last year old, this is like last century old. I found three games from the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, and one from the Atari 2600.
We have to start with Halloween, a classic horror movie and perfect start to our Halloween Movie Video Game Flashback. Halloween, for those of you who don’t know, is about a troubled child who just didn’t get enough candy one Halloween night… Okay, not really. SPOILER: Micheal Meyers, not Austin Powers, is a troubled child who kills his sister on Halloween night and is sent away to a mental institution. As should be expected in this type of movie, he escapes 15 years later and heads to his hometown to stalk some poor unsuspecting girl who happens to look like his sister. Blood and guts ensue.
This movie was made into a video game back in the giant pixel world of the Atari 2600. In Halloween the game, you play as Laurie Strode, the babysitter, as Micheal Meyers is chasing you and the children through a two story house with 16 rooms. Little pumpkins at the top of your screen track you life. There is one weapon, lots of blackouts, and a cool scary soundtrack. Can you ever win? No, but you can progress through the levels by stabbing Michael. Of course he comes back… he always comes back. It would be interesting to see something done with today’s technology. Still, a fun find.
Next in line for scary movies made into video games, Friday the 13th. This was one of the first of the classic slasher films as the villain uses a large knife or machete to carve up his victims. Jason Vorhees is the relentless killer of teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake. All because he was never picked first for volleyball. Well, maybe there is a little more to it, like some major mommy issues. Anyway, another unkillable killer, or so it seems.
The NES tried to bring the shock and awe of Friday the 13th to the small screen and put the player in the middle of the scare, but there was definitely some real artistic license used here. you play as one of the camp counselors trying to escape the killer, but also killer bats, wolves, and zombies. Zombies? Anyway, the game play was interesting, running around camp trying to kill Jason 3 times, but you also could unlock a secret room in the caves where you could fight his mom. Fun stuff, and scary and disorienting.
Our final review is of A Nightmare on Elm Street for NES based on the movie of the same name starring everyone’s favorite child molesting dream killer, Freddy Krueger. The movie was a real variation on the classic stalker/slasher genre of horror movies as it introduced a villain that was already dead. Killed by the parents of Elm Street, Freddy Krueger, the school janitor, had returned to haunt the dreams of their children… and kill them. The kids, not their dreams, he just uses their dreams to kill them. Anyway, Wes Craven, the master of horror, wrote and directed this great movie and Nintendo decided to make it a video game.
You play as the kids of Elm Street, with the ability to have up to 4 players at one time, a cool ability back in the day. You and your team hunt for Freddy’s bones and have to take them to the boiler room furnace to burn them. Of course, at the end of each part of the game you have to fight a part of Freddy’s body. Kind of cool graphics, for the time, and interesting game play. Similar to the movie? A little, but a guess Nintendo didn’t feel right about a blood gushing mattress. Easier to hunt bones and fight dream monsters.
All in all, some really fun classic horror movies made into interesting games. The twists the developers put on them made them unique and fun. I know this probably didn’t scare you much, but if it got you interested in researching these classic games, my job here is done.