This time around, I wanted to focus on horror games that were on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I am going to pick four games to talk about, although there are many more horror-themed games out there on the system. Like my other review, I will share some information about the game and the plot of the game (what little plot there is for a Nintendo game) and then I will give a short insight to my thoughts of the game. So, let’s get this party started.
Ghosts’ N Goblins
Ghosts’ N Goblins was published by Capcom for the arcade in 1985, and ported to the home console, with help from Micronics, in 1986. You play as the Knight Arthur who ,after is lady love, Princess Prin Prin, is kidnapped, sets off on a brutally difficult adventure to save her very soul. In the game you must mow your way through hordes of enemies like wolves, demons, monsters, zombies and ghosts. At the end of each stage you are faced with a tough boss and, after getting past all these bosses, you come face to face with Satan himself. Now, as treacherous as this may sound, you have little in the way of helpful items. You can find different weapons such as a worthless lance, a worthless axe, a knife and a cross. You also can find extra armors that will help immensely. Though very tough, the game was met with pleasurable reviews and received praise from fans. The game is held high amongst gamers as one of the hardest games in the 8-bit era.
I wish I could say that I have beaten this game, but, alas, I cannot. Besides, not only would I have to be able to beat it one time, but, to get the proper ending, the game forces you to go back and beat it again. So, yeah, I am not going to put myself through that kind of torture. With that being said though, there are numerous reasons why I think this game is great for Halloween. The music in this game is perfect for getting into the Halloween mood, but, be forewarned, you will be hearing the level restart tune A LOT! The atmosphere of this title also works well with Halloween; I mean c’mon, your enemies are things like zombies, wolves, ghost, etc. What else could you as for? I also like breaking this game out around Halloween if I am having friends over. We each would take turns to see who could get the furthest and, with some alcohol involved, it makes for a fun drinking game. Moving on now to another challenging horror-based game.
Castlevania was published by Konami and released in North America in May 1987. You control Simon Belmont, who is met the a challenging mission of traversing through Dracula’s castle, which reappears every 100 years. The only way to banish the castle and all its monsters is to find and defeat the Lord of Darkness, Dracula. The game features many enemies, including zombies, bats, floating eyes, and those God-damned Medusa heads. You also have a boss to fight at the end of each level and those bosses coincide with other classic monsters. You will encounter Frankenstein’s monster, Igor, The Mummy, Medusa and Death. Along your journey you will find power-ups in the form of knives, axes, holy water, a cross and a stop watch. These power-ups consume hearts which you collect from breaking candlesticks. So, if hearts are for weapons, then what do you pick up to fill your health? Why, you just smash a wall open to find a non-rotten pork chop inside, even though the castle has just resurrected from a 100 year slumber. So, with logic like that, this game should be pretty easy right? Wrong! This game was difficult, but for all the wrong reasons. For one, you can’t attack in any other direction besides right in front of you; you can’t attack while walking up or down stairs; you can’t swim; and, if Simon gets hit, he will be knocked back twenty feet, or into the nearest pit.
I have a love-hate relationship with this game. I have tried to beat it several times and have come close plenty of those times, but I couldn’t seal the deal. For Halloween purposes, there is nothing better than a game about hunting down Dracula and killing other famous monsters along the way. The music in the game does well to bring you into the world of Castlevania and to this day I still use some of this game’s tunes as a ring-tone during Halloween. So, if you are looking for another good challenge, and aren’t to prone to rage-quit, I would give this one a shot.
Friday the 13th
Man, just look at that 80’s style cover, doesn’t it just make you so scared? I think this was an actual picture of Jason Voorhees attacking the good ole folks at L.J.N; he overheard that he was going to be wearing a purple jumpsuit in the game. Friday the 13th was published by L.J.N. and developed by Atlus; it was released in February of 1989. You play as one of six camp counselors. I say ‘one of six’ because you can switch between counselors. So, you are a camp counselor, and, somewhere in Crystal Lake, Jason is on a killing spree.What do you do? You walk around aimlessly looking for things like lighters and throwing rocks way over your enemy’s heads. Eventually, an annoying alarm will sound off, informing you that Jason is about to kill a kid or another counselor. This is the only time in the game that switching characters is a good idea, because you can (if you know which counselor is there) switch to the counselor that is either being attacked, or close to the cabin Jason is in. When the alarm goes off, your map will show you which cabin Jason is in. So, you can either switch characters or haul ass over to the cabin, because if all the kids or counselors die, it’s game over. If you make it to the marked cabin in time, you will have to fight Jason. This is done in one of two ways: he will either fight you outside the cabin, or you will enter the cabin and be forced into a 3D-ish hellhole of a maze. After you find him in the cabin simulator, Jason will fight you Punch Out! style. These fights with him are easier if you collect the knife while you are walking around finding lighters. Speaking of the lighters, what do you do with them? Allow me to explain that. Using the lighters you found, you can light fireplaces in the larger cabins. Once all of them are lit, a flashlight and torch weapon will be available. Is it worth it? I really don’t know because I was never lucky enough to survive that long or have enough patience.
All in all this game is a piece of crap and was critically panned upon its release, with some people saying it was the worst game for the N.E.S. Now, I don’t agree with that; there are far, far worse games than this, but with that being said, why am I telling you to play a shitty game? Well, I am not only telling you to play it, I am daring you to play this game for Halloween. What other game do you know of that, for some reason, had zombie enemies, blood-lusting wolves, and crows hungry for human flesh, along side Jason Voorhees? There isn’t another game, and that is why you have to witness this. Life is short, so don’t waste another minute not playing this gem. Now, last but not least!
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Oh boy, another L.J.N. game! This game was developed by Rare, believe it or not, and of course published by L.J.N. It was released in October of 1989. You play as a random, nameless, ballsy guy as you make your way around Elm Street, fighting things like bats and snakes with you bare fists. While on the street, you are searching for a house that is unlocked, so that you can enter it. Once inside, you are tasked with finding Freddy Krueger’s bones, which are scattered all over the houses on Elm Street. The enemies inside the houses are gigantic spiders and ghosts. So, why do you need the bones? You need the bones because you are going to throw them into a furnace at the end of game, which will kill Freddy for good. While you are doing all of this, there is a sleep meter that you must pay attention to. The sleep meter goes down while you are doing things, or just standing still; you can keep the sleep meter from dropping by finding coffee as you play. When the meter is depleted, you will fall asleep and be in the dream world. While in the dream world, the enemies will be stronger, but that is no matter, because you are also stronger, can perform flips, and throw a javelin. To wake yourself up, you must find a boombox located somewhere in the level. As always, at the end of the level, you will fight a boss which, in earlier levels, is either Freddy’s hand or head attached to chains. At the end you will fight Freddy himself.
Unlike Friday the 13th, this game is actually playable. It isn’t as cryptic and, when in the dream world, the game is pretty fun. I usually break this out for a go around Halloween, and, for the first couple of minutes, I have fun. The true shining light that this game has to offer is that it is compatible to up to 4 players. Yes, you heard me 4 people can sit down and hate their lives together. In all seriousness, the 4-player mode is awesome for Halloween parties and actually brings another level of fun into the game. The only problem is locating a 4-player adapter for the N.E.S. in this day in age, but if you have or can find one, get some friends together, pour some drinks, and have some genuine Halloween fun.
Please join me next week for part 3: Gaming on Halloween. Also, please leave your thoughts on these games over in the comments and please don’t forget to subscribe to my blog while you are over there, I would really appreciate it!
As always, thanks for reading, and please join us next time!
All information and images were gathered from www.wikipedia.com
Ghosts ‘N Goblins is owned by Capcom and published in 1985.
Castlevania is owned by Konami and published in 1987.
Friday the 13th (franchise) is owned by New Line Cinema; Friday the 13th (Game) published by L.J.N and developed by Atlus 1989.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (franchise) is owned by New Line Cinema; A Nightmare on Elm Street (Game) published by L.J.N and developed by Rare 1989.