Monday, January 4, 2010

The Horror of Horror Movie Video Games

I thought of this post idea because of a Twitter conversation/game that was going on. Scott Weinberg was posting pictures of various screenshots of movie related video games and I decided to share some of my memories that I had with horror movie related video games. Truthfully, I did NOT watch any of the AVGN videos that reviewed these exact games. I did some research online but that’s about it.

In 1983, Wizard Video released Halloween for the Atari 2600. From what I read, the game nor the packaging never once refers to the characters by their names in the movies. They are just ‘babysitter’ and ‘killer.’ However, from what I also read, this was one of the first few games to show blood and graphic killing, which sparked some controversy.

Now, I remember playing this game back when I was in Children’s World where we had several bad Atari, NES and Sega video games. From what I recall… all you do is escape from Michael Meyers and make sure the kids don’t killed by him. What stuck out to me from this game were the music and the really boring backgrounds. Of course, hearing a really bad synthesized version of the Halloween theme did piss me off. What I remembered was we did the opposite of what we were supposed to… we wanted the kids to kid killed so we kept points and tallies for every kid we got killed. 10 points per kid… but if the babysitter got killed, we lost and we would restart the game.

What happens when you take a very controversial film and turn it into a video game? You make a very controversial but very shitty game and I am talking about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre the video game. Of course, it was controversial mainly because it was aimed towards adults and you play as Leatherface and you go around chopping up girls with your chainsaw. So, it was pretty graphic for ’83.

My experience playing this game was nothing but frustration. Yes, like most people was annoyed when I would run into a wheelchair or stack of hay but it still was fun chasing girls around with a chainsaw. However, as I remember, there aren’t any levels and I never really won the game because it just goes on and on.

While doing some research, it seems like most people’s concern was the really bad and sporadic placement of the objects in the landscape. Apparently, even one out of place pixel hits your body; you stop and have not chance to recover. And another thing some people complained about was the jumbled mess of colors and pixels that is the body of the girl you kill… of course, I always thought the image was supposed to be the girl upside down lying in her own blood.

Released in 1989 by LJN, we have the Nightmare on Elm Street video game. It was made for the NES and it starts off as a side-scroller video game and then when you go into certain houses you finally get to the game’s actual levels. Apparently, the game is loosely based on Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master although back then I never knew that.

As for me, I kind of liked this game; especially back during my younger years. You apparently go from house to house collecting Freddy’s bones which will eventually materialize into Freddy but in the process you fight certain incarnations of Freddy. I guess it was okay back then. We used to try to predict when the game would go into night mode and we would show off all the powers we gained in the dreamworld… we were losers back then. I hated that fact that the neighborhood level, all you did was fight off bats, dogs, snakes and spiders.

The last video game on our list is Friday the 13th. Again, this was made for the NES and much like it’s horror movie video game predecessors… it wasn’t that really good and the only reason why I hated it, now and back then, was for one fatal flaw. I’ll get to that later. You have the option of controlling 6 camp counselors and you pretty much go from cabin to cabin lighting fires and helping out camp counselors. Occasionally, you have to save some of the counselors from Jason and I think at one point you battle Jason’s mom’s head.

Honestly, I played it once and I was pissed that Jason was in a purple jogging suit and his head look like an oversized shrunken head… that was green. I also didn’t’ like the fact that I spent more time trying to defeat zombies and lighting fires rather than defeating Jason.

While reading online, I also noticed a lot of people were griping about the layout and the map view of the game. Apparently, while going right on the side-scroller you’re actually going left on the map. I don’t remember this, but I guess it’s for good reason. Also, a lot of people complained about the cabins themselves. Once inside, it’s hard to find the exit because… well, the camera sweeps are not fluid enough.

P.S. - I really forced this one out a little. I wanted to do another post but I realized that I was meaning to do this one instead. Hope you enjoyed it.


Andre said...

Hahah I am cracking up over the Texas Chainsaw Massacre game. What happens when you run into the wheelchair? Freaking Franklin and his laziness, leaving his wheelchair around.

Maweanne said...

You should review some of the newer ones too. Great review!

DrKeithCurrie said...

Game!!! Movie game is most enjoy able and best way to kill time. I like most to play it.

Broco said...

I remember playing Nightmare on Elm Street on my nes..oh brings so much childhood memories! The game was fairly simple except when u have to defeat freddy's hand.I've played it loads of times now and I would recommend it for any freddy fan! As a horror games fan, I would recommend you guys this horror game Try's free!

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