Friday, 22 February 2013

100 More Gruesome Games! ( 42 - 39 )

Right, it's been a while, but let's get on with the next lot on the list now...all of which I've only just started playing, despite having had a few of them for years! I've got literally hundreds of games sitting in my collection that'll take me years to get through and I have a habit of starting them, getting distracted by something else, going back to them and forgetting where I am in them and then restarting them again....

For instance, I must have started Freak Out about 6 times but I've never gotten further than the first few levels! I intend to remedy this after I'm done with the list, and get back to sticking with one game at a time and writing about one's I've already played....well, that's the plan anyway.....we'll see how it goes! For now though, let's get on with it....

42 - Zombi (ZX Spectrum) :

We can thank George A. Romero for starting off the whole brain-munching-zombie epidemic witnessed in cinema and games for the last few decades...and in his 1978 film Dawn Of The Dead he also made sure that we'd forever associate the undead flesh-fiends with shopping malls! This Ubisoft game is basically a cheeky homage ( read "blatant rip-off" ) and as close as gamers would get to recreating the movie until Dead Rising came along....

The wonderfully awful comic in the instruction manual tells how our four heroes have managed to nab a helicopter from a hospital roof, but are now severely lacking in petrol. Deciding that the shopping mall might have loads of the stuff, they head there and find the undead have decided that it's the best place to pick up a quick snack....

Using on-screen icons to move around and click on things, you start to explore the mall and can switch between characters to use their different strengths. For instance, the chaps are supposedly a bit handier with the weapons...which is probably seen as being a bit sexist, but if they're following the movie they're probably supposed to be members of SWAT or something.... you search, zombies keep popping up and trying to get access to your yummy brains and you have to batter them with whatever's at hand...or just, well...your clicking furiously on their head! You'll find guns lying around too which are obviously a bit better for dealing with the hungry horrors..

Items are picked up by clicking on them...Cupboards also reveal their secrets when clicked upon, although sometimes it can be difficult to work out what exactly you're picking up, as the item graphics aren't the best....and with minimal instructions, you're pretty much left on your own when it comes to working out what to do with an item too, meaning you'll probably need to seek help from a walkthrough at some point!  

Despite all this, the game is a lot of fun and you should definitely check it out! It'll keep you happy as you recreate scenes from Dawn Of The Dead such as blocking the doors with trucks, throwing dead bodies down garbage chutes to keep the place clean and eventually having to deal with a bunch of scary bikers who have come looking for food! 

41 - Arachnophobia (Amiga) :

Ah yes...time for anyone with a hatred for things with more than six legs to look away! This BlueSky Software game is based on the 1990 movie of the same name and has you take control of bug exterminator Delbert McClintockJohn Goodman's character in the movie

A deadly Venezuelan spider had hitched a ride in to town and got frisky with the local arachnids, creating an infertile but dangerous horde of offspring. Driving around a map that reminds me of the Ghostbusters game, Delbert must stop and go through the houses in eight different towns, killing all the spiders in each one. 

He's armed with a can of bug spray, and you can aim the joystick in the required direction depending on where the spiders are, and give them a blast of the careful though, as some of the little feckers will jump at you, making it easy to miss them as they try to chew your face off and web up your insides!!

You also get a couple of gas bombs that you can set on the floor, and these will wipe out all the spiders in that room....unless of course it's a queen spider! Yes, in every town there will be a queen that you have to track down and kill. She's not always easy to find, but the compass on the map screen will handily point in the general direction of where she might be hanging out...

You'll discover her nests everywhere though, and these need to be taken out to stop spiders spawning in the houses. Also, if you find yourself running low on spray, a quick jump on top of a spider should squish it in to a sticky, bloody mess...a trick worth remembering when you're in a tight spot. If you run completely out of spray, you'll need to leave the house for another can y'see...but this spawns all the spiders back to life when you re-enter...

As I just mentioned, gas bombs will only slow the queen spiders down when you find them...not kill them....and spray is pretty useless against them too. No, these silk spinners need a special kind of finishing off! Somewhere in town there will be a red can lying around. This allows you to spray fire once you aquire some matches, which will also be lying around's worth checking where the queen is first though before you light up and waste the spray, as I've been told the queen sometimes isn't in the same house as some of the matches, meaning you might light up only to discover you've no flame spray left when you actually need it!

It's a fairly enjoyable little bug hunt, and the spiders move around in a suitably creepy way. It can get a bit repetitive I guess, but in the short time I've played it it's never really become a problem. Whilst looking for the box art I discovered a little extra something awaits those who clean out all the towns too, so I'll definitely be going back to the game later to try and do just that! And also try to avoid the screen below that greets you every time you die....

40 - Sanitarium (PC) :

Waking up in a sanitarium after a nasty car accident, your character in this game realises he is suffering from amnesia and has no recollection of how he got there. Wandering around the madhouse, he chats with a few crazy characters and decides that it'd be best if he tried to work out how to escape....and it's not long until he appears to do just that...but by some rather unusual means...

This game is properly weird...and is another of those games that it's best to start playing not knowing too much about! Apparently the game design came about by Dreamforge wanting to make an adventure game that was different from the normal type of thing on offer, but everyone had different ideas as to what they should put in the game....

Eventually, they decided to put all these ideas in and come up with a weird main plot to tie them all together, and from what I've experienced so far, it seems to work in creating something truly different...

As you wander around the isometric landscape, you'll meet all sorts of bizarre individuals and come across puzzles that will need to be solved in order to progress, some of which are fairly straight forward, but others that'll require a little hunting around for clues..

Flashbacks happen every so often too, but is it your past you're seeing or someone elses....and what memories are real? It's this sense of not really knowing what exactly is going on that keeps you interested in what's going to happen next! You'll suddenly find yourself in an entirely different area, or even looking a bit's totally insane but brilliant! The visuals help add to the atmosphere too, with some truly odd offerings to be witnessed...

The game oozes atmosphere, and its unusual story should have you hooked from the start...I'm certainly intrigued enough to keep playing! As with most of the PC games in the list, I picked this one up relatively cheap over at

39 - Freak Out (Stretch Panic-US, Hippa Linda-JPN)  (PS2) :

More utter insanity now, but this time from Treasure, a company who excel at making great games that nobody buys! And even a lot of Treasure fans seemed to not give this one much notice...

Freak Out tells the tale of Linda, a girl who has to deal with 12 rather vain sisters who constantly mock Linda's fashion sense and love of her scarf, which was gifted to her when she was six by her now deceased father. One day...whilst Linda is off picking up the weekly cosmetic shopping for her self-obsessed sisters... a mysterious package arrives on their doorstep. Possibly thinking it has come form some secret admirer, the sisters open it.....and unleash 13 scary vanity demons looking to punish pretty types!

12 of the demons possess the sisters, but the 13th only manages to attach itself to Linda's scarf... thanks to her lack of vanity. Despite her obvious annoyance at her stupid siblings, she decides she better get to the task of saving them from the vile Zakos, for that is what these demons are called! Because Linda took good care of the scarf, and with it's magically gained sentience it agrees to help Linda rescue her sisters, and let her utilize its newly acquired powers of stretching... that turns everything it touches into elastic!

Each of the sisters has been zapped off to a seperate dimension, and these are accessed through various different dimension doors. In order to open the doors, Linda must first defeat some more vanity demons...ones named Bonita Zakos! 

These rather large-breasted baddies can only be defeated by pinging their heads or bums, which can be tricky to grab hold of as their bulbous boobs block your aim! Once you've managed to get a few of them to explode though, you can access one of the doors to the other dimensions..

Here you'll face one of your possessed relatives, and have to work out exactly what needs to be stretched and pulled in order to free them. Once..well, if... you've managed to do that, your sister will be saved and she'll be added to the Gallery Of Shame...a place you access by pinging a bell in the hub world and that lets you mess around with your families features and textures later in the game! And you set off to blow up more Bonitas and rescue the next victim of vanity!

It's truly a weird little game, and won't be for everyone. It has a sort of odd Tim Burton-esque atmosphere, but probably has just a touch too much colour in it to be really classed as such. Still, I think it looks rather groovy but I can see how some people might find it a bit too strange...

It was one of Treasure's first 3D titles, and you can see they haven't quite mastered how to make a good game camera, with it spinning around and not letting you see what you need to see sometimes.

It can also be tricky to judge exactly where your scarf is in relation to things, and the controls for using it take a bit of getting used to too. And I've had to refer to an online guide more than once to work out exactly how to defeat the bosses...But having said all that, I still enjoy it every time I restart it to try and play through again, and if you're looking for something very different from the type of things you normally play, then this could be a good place to start!


  1. This is a great list, our kid! I look forward to more instalments. Zombi looks great. It's hard to imagine that games with visuals this crude could have been seen as controversial, gruesome video nasties!

    1. Glad you're enjoying it! Yeah, some of the things that were considered controversial back in the day are really tame when compared to stuff nowadays...mind you, some of the old games would still upset the critics! :-)

  2. Yep, Zombi looks like a fantastic game - I need to find another Spectrum (or at least get "back into" the whole emulation thing).

    Freak Out's one that I've had for a couple of years now but haven't got around to playing (mainly because it's a PS2 game, the most unappealing console in history, but still).

    1. Hehe...the PS2 is one of my favourite consoles! Loads of great games and more than a few hidden gems....

      Oh, and Zombi is also available on Amstrad, C64, Amiga, Atari ST and you could always check out one of those versions if you prefer