Monday, 31 October 2011

100 Gruesome Games for Halloween! (10-1)

Yay! We've done it! It's Halloween and here's the last 10 games on the list! Thanks for sticking with me throughout, and if you're just arriving...well, you've got a fair bit o' stuff to get through!

Comments about your favourites, any games not in the list that you feel should be or just some feedback on whether you enjoyed the blog are all welcome!

10 - Bonze Adventure (Arcade) :

We'll start this set off with a nice simple game to explain. Emma, the King of the Underworld has been cursed or something...and has gone a bit loopy! You play the role of a Buddhist monk, Bonze Kackremboh, and using your prayer beads as weapons must destroy all of Emma's followers and rid him of the evil spirit that has made him crazy!

Travelling through the underworld is pretty tricky, but the great graphics and spooky music make it an enjoyable task! A nice little platformer, and definitely one you should sample for it's hell-based horror fun!

9 - The Thing (PS2) :

Storywise, this survival horror title is a direct sequel to the events that transpired in the 1982 John Carpenter film, and has you filling the boots of Blake, leader of a team sent to find out what has happened to McReady and the other characters from the film...Needless to say, it doesn't take long before you find out.....

Wandering around outside in the snow, your health bar will continually deplete as the Antarctic weather takes it's toll, so you'll need to quickly get indoors again or at least find a heat source so you don't end up as a snowman...

The Things that you come against vary from little spidery things which can be dispatched with pistols, to massive bosses with loads of tentacles and teeth...some middle sized ones will require you to pump them full of bullets and then finish them off with a flamethrower..and just like in the movie, members of your team may secretly be hosting a parasitic alien, and suddenly change into a Thing and try to have you for lunch....

Lucky you have the test kits to help you out, then! You can use these to discover if someone you think is acting a bit suspiciously is hosting a parasite. Just be ready with your gun in case they are! This is actually a bit of the game I found to be a bit disappointing though, as on more than one occasionI had just tested someone who passed as not hosting, and then two minutes later they had mutated and were trying to eat my face....

What works a lot better is the Trust system...all the members of your team have the ability to get scared or start distrusting you. If an area becomes too scary for them, they'll start panicking and if you don't order them to go somewhere where they can relax, they might start shooting at you or even end up shooting themselves!

You also have to keep the team's trust, as if they suspect you to be a Thing (like if say, you shoot someone who acts odd without testing them first) then they'll stop obeying orders until you can win back their trust by killing mutants or giving them extra ammo or something....

Generally, the team are pretty handy to have around, as they all have certain skills....engineers can fix fuse boxes, medics can keep the team healthy and the soldier can give you some extra firepower when things get tricky! But as you'd expect, you'll go through a few team members before the game is finished, so don't get too attached....

It all makes for a rather excellent adventure and a worthy sequel to the has loads of little nods to it's source material, with references to things that happened in the movie and of course comes with a similar moody soundtrack. If you're a fan of The Thing, this really has to be played...if not, then you're left with a pretty damn good survival horror to add to the collection!

8 - Luigi's Mansion (Gamecube) :

Mario's brother finally got free from his sibling's shadow, and got his own chance to shine with this launch title for the Gamecube! After Mario wins a mansion in a competition and goes missing when he decides to check it out, Luigi takes up the task of searching for the mis-placed plumber...

Upon arrival, he meets the mysterious Professor E.Gadd , who explains that the competition was just a ruse by the Boos to kidnap Mario! He lends him the powerful Poltergust 3000, a vacuum cleaner with the power to suck up spooks, and the Gameboy Horror , which allows Luigi to see where he is in relation to the mansion's map....

It's basically a rip-off of Ghostbusters , with Luigi traipsing the halls and rooms of the mansion, setting loose the Boos by knocking on furniture, and then battling it out with them to pop them in the hoover. It's excellent fun though, and every now and then you'll come up against a Boss ghost who won't expose their ghostly heart to you until you work out a way to trick them.

Y'see to suck up the ghosts, you need to show their heart up with the beam of your torch before locking on to them to suck them up, but as this doesn't work with the bosses, you'll need to find another way to get them to comply...

Being a Nintendo game, the presentation in this is marvellous...Luigi shivers and shakes, and you can hear his voice tremble as the scaredy-cat shouts for his brother. Animation on everything is superb throughout, and contol is effortless, even with the Gamecube's rather unwieldy Fisher-Price style controller...You can tell that the game was pretty much designed around it!

Anyhoo, it's well worth helping Luigi out, as although some people don't see this as being in the same league as the Super Mario games, it's still an excellent Nintendo classic, and comes with everything you'd expect such a title to have!

7 - Project Zero (PS2) :

Now this is properly scary! Miku Hinasaki's brother has gone missing while investigating a spooky old mansion, and so off she goes to look for him. Once inside, she discovers a place filled with lots of freaksome Japanese spooks, and the only thing she can do to stop them is use an object called the Camera Obscura which she has found in the mansion...

If you can manage to take a snap of a spook before it reaches you, you'll do some damage to it.. The longer you can keep it in the frame, the more of it's energy you'll zap..but they don't make it easy for you, as they float about all over the place before lunging forward to get you in a ghostly grip! All the while they'll whisper things and moan and groan in your ears, making for some very unsettling battles..

The camera can also be used to find hidden secrets around the mansion. If you come across something which looks a bit odd, try looking through the camera and more often than not it'll help you work out how to beat a certain puzzle hindering progress. Also keep an eye out for slightly less aggressive ghosts who'll appear every now and then...if you can snap these, you'll be able to check them off of a ghost list you get a bit later on. Upgrades can be found for the camera which will add extra oomph, as can different film types...

Your quest to rescue your brother is a truly frightening one...if you play this game in the dark wearing headphones, you might actually have trouble sleeping afterwards, and it's rare I can say that truthfully after playing a game! Although the voice acting and script can sometimes seem a bit shoddy, the atmosphere and minmal sound use make playing this a truly eerie experience, and having a ghost fly at you whilst complaining about having no eyes is a lot scarier than you might think it could be, playing a game!

Another brilliant survival horror for the collection, you'll be missing out on some quality scares if you let this pass you by....

6 - Elvira - Mistress Of The Dark (Atari ST) :

What's Halloween without Elvira! She might not be quite as well known this side of the pond, but I can still remember seeing her pop up, and out, everywhere at this time of year back in the eighties and early nineties...

Sorry to say I haven't played this one much yet though, as it's one of the games I have lined up for playing today! Apparently though, the plot follows on from the 1988 film Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.. After evil Uncle Elmo's death, Elvira inherits Castle Killbragant and set's about restoring it with a view to turning it into a tourist attraction for horror fans.

In the process of doing this however, our favourite horror hostess has inadvertently brought her ancient ancestor, Satan-worshipping sorceress Queen Emelda the Evil, back from the dead along with several hundred of her horrible minions. You play a chap hired by Elvira to help her prevent the full resurrection of Queen Emelda, who popped her clogs before her plans for world domination took hold.

It looks like I can look forward to a fairly good point-and-click style game with this received lots of good scores back when it was released, and still seems highly regarded by ST fans these days! Maybe I'll write more about it on the blog later, if I like it enough....

5 - Grabbed By The Ghoulies (Xbox) :

If there's one thing you shouldn't do when you get caught in a storm with your girlfriend, it's head for shelter in a nearby mansion! This has seen hundreds of horror film couples end up in sticky situations, and for Cooper and Amber, the couple who star in this Rare title, it's no different..

Upon reaching the mansion, Amber gets kidnapped and it's up to you as Cooper, to go about rescuing her. You do this by travelling through the rooms of the mansion and defeating a set number of opponents by punching and kicking them, or battering them with any objects you find lying around...

There's a few twists and turns in the plot, but I'll leave them for you to discover yourselves..What you need to know is that it's a wonderfully presented jaunt through a spook-filled house, that'a absolutely perfect for playing on a cold, Halloween night!

I love this game! It came out to mixed reviews early in the Xbox's life, and people seemed to find it repetitive and fiddly...but I loved making my way through the haunted house, and was eager to see what the next room had in store for me. I do think that if was anything other than a game about a haunted house, and if it was released by anyone other than Rare, my enthusiasm for it might not be as great though...

4 - Scooby Doo Mystery (Megadrive) :

A rather excellent point-and-click adventure this one, where you get to play through a couple of episodes as Shaggy (with help from Scooby) and look for clues to solve the mysteries...

The first has you off to Daphne's Uncle's hotel, where you find he has mysteriously disappeared and the ghost of a Native American Chieftain has been scaring off the guests...The next has you battling a spooky clown in the Ha Ha Carnival!

Well presented and pretty decent point-and-click stuff indeed! Scooby and Shaggy have earned their Scooby Snacks with this game, and if you like these sorts of games, this is a rather fine example to add to your own list...

3 - Splatter Master (PS2) :

I picked this game up a couple of years ago, and it has now become a game I save for playing as part of my Halloween ritual! It has you taking control of a pumpkin-headed scarecrow, given sentience by an evil spell cast by the malevolent wizard Jagodd! Unlike the other things brought to life by this spell though, our straw-filled hero has been loved by his owners as if he was their own son, and after Jagodd's fiends injure the old couple, he decides to head out for revenge.....

What follows is a side-scrolling beat-and-hack-em-up where you dispatch the baddies by smacking them with your fists, or if you can find enough petrol, slicing them through the middle with your chainsaw!

Various pick-ups can be found, and you can visit a shop to purchase upgrades too! And you'll need them, as this is quite a tricky little budget game..I've only made it to level 3, but I get a little further every year!

It's a funky wee Halloween themed treat, and although far from perfect (especially the controls, which sometimes act a bit odd and cause you to plummet down a hole), it's managed to somehow become one of my favourite titles to play whilst munching on all the Halloween candy I somehow still manage to amass, despite being in my mid-thirties......

2 - Medievil (Playstation) :

Sir Daniel Fortesque: "Hero of Gallowmere". This is what's written on Dan's gravestone, as he's regarded as being the one to slay the evil wizard Zarok in the battle of Gallowmere in 1286...what really happened was a bit different....

Our hero was in fact the first to fall in the battle, getting an arrow in his eye right at the start! Although his men managed to win, Zarok was wrongly thought to be dead and after regaining his strength for the last hundred years, he's decided to once again try for domination...

Raising his undead army with a spot of necromancy, he unwittingly raises Dan from the dead too, and our now one-eyed, jawbone-less chum sees it as an opportunity to set things right, and finally earn a place in the Hall Of Heroes...

This PS1 arcade-adventure is another of my favourite games ever, as you get to explore areas filled with secrets and puzzles, battle all sorts of weird and wonderful enemies and embark on a truly epic adventure!

A true classic, you really should load this up if you've never experienced it. It's another one that any gamer should have in their collection. And it's horror-based antics mean that there's no time like the present to sample it's spookiness...

1 - Cauldron (ZX Spectrum) :

And so here we are! The last game on the list, but one of the first horror-themed games I ever played! Cauldron on the ZX Spectrum!! Although showing it's age a bit these days, it's still loads of fun..Basically, the rhyme from the instructions tells you what you need to know..

Harken witches everywhere, take the challenge - if you dare,
Tomorrow night, 'Tis Halloween, when only one shall be Witch Queen,
Six ingredients thou must take, and in the cauldron boil and bake,
Juice of toad, eye of newt, wing of bat and hemlock root,
Mouldy piece of splintered bone, found from deep in musty tomb,
Molten lava, cooled awhile, taken from the smoking isle,
Then the spell shall be at hand, to rid the pumpkin from the land.

Off you fly on your broomstick then, shooting bats and looking for keys to enter the underground lairs that hold the ingredients. Once underground, you'll need to traverse the platforms and collect your items, before flying back home and concocting the spell needed to defeat the evil Pump-king! Still worth a blast, this classic is just the ticket for Halloween!

So yeah, there we go! 100 games to give you goosebumps! The night is still young, and there's plenty of time to load these up on their various platforms, or via emulation, or whatever....thanks again for reading the blog, and let me know if any of the titles I've talked about has become a new favourite of yours, and perhaps we'll be back next year for a rundown of another hundred horror hits!

I'm off soon to play some of these into the witching hour..need to hone my skills just in case evil entities decide that this is the Halloween to really shake things up!!

Oh, and if you really can't be bothered playing any games just yet, don't forget that you can always read some of the horror comic scans I'm posting, or sit back in a comfy chair and listen to some spooky sounds I'm about to post!

Whatever you decide, I'll catch up with you barmy blog-readers later!! Good fright for now....And Happy Halloween!!


  1. Great list...chuffed to see Luigi's Mansion get some much deserved love!! And a great little surprise with Cauldron, I used to have it on the C64, think it might be time to track it down.



  2. Thanks...glad you liked the list! I've never played the C64 version of Cauldron actually, so I might have to track that one down too!

  3. Have you ever played The Path? I think you may like it judging by your taste in horror-gaming.

  4. No, never heard of that one before....PC gaming is a bit hit and miss for me as I have a really old computer...

    Looks interesting though, so thanks for the head's up...could be one for next years list! : )

  5. Just found your blog, and I really like it. Bit redundant saying it now, but a massive omission from your otherwise fun Gruesome list is Decap Attack, for the Mega Drive! The platformer which has you playing as a decapitated mummy.

    Also worth a go:
    -Monster Party [NES]
    -Majuuou [SNES]
    -Undead Line [Mega Drive]
    -The Nightmare Before Christmas [GBA]
    -Abadox [NES]
    -Metal Slug 3 [Arcade] (has zombies, mummies, giant snails, aliens, yetis, crab monsters, everything!)
    -Gegege no Kitarou [GBA]
    -Haunted House [Atari 2600]
    -Illbleed [Dreamcast]
    -Psycho Dream [SNES]
    -Road Rash II [Mega Drive] (if only for the noises the cows make when you ride into them)
    -Killing Time [3DO]

    Just a starter!

    1. Thanks TwoHeadedBoy! And thanks for the suggestions...the Gruesome Games list has been rather popular, so I'm about to start work on another list for Halloween this year...I've pretty much already sorted what's going to be on it, but I'll check out your recommendations if I can (and they're not already on the next list.. ;D )

  6. Aha, giving yourself more time this year, yes? The panic/urgency could be seen in those last few posts, a big task doing ten or fifteen reviews in one day!

    Good luck with the new one, looking forward to it. The Out of the Inkwell cartoons are good too - well pretty much anything out of the Fleischer studio's worth seeing at least once (in particular that mini masterpiece known as Swing You Sinners).

  7. Hehe...Yeah, was a bit rushed at times! Will hopefully be able to spread them out through the month a bit this year too...

    I love all those old cartoons...expect to see a few more posts regarding those soon as well!