Sunday, 14 October 2018

Son Of Gruesome Games - Part 1

Okay, so it's been a long time coming, but I'm finally ready for the first post in this year's Gruesome Games list! I'm still lurgied up, but it definitely seems to be on the move, so hopefully we can get through quite a few games before the end of the month, with a games post every few days! Anyway, let's not waste any more time and get on with the first bunch of oddities......


Dr. Chaos (NES) :

*Mild Spoiler Warnings for the horror film House!*

Have you seen House, the 1985 horror film starring William Katt as an author who inherits his dead aunt's old place after dealing with the disappearance of his son, and divorcing his wife, only to discover that the house is haunted by various freaky monsters and an old war buddy, who blames him for his torture and subsequent death in Vietnam, and there are also portals all over the house that seem to lead to jungles and clifftops and general weirdness?

The reason I ask is because this game seems to be heavily influenced by said much so that it seems more than just a coincidence and makes you wonder if it was at some point, in fact, going to be a licensed game!

In the game you play as Michael Chaos, whose scientist brother Dr. Ginn Chaos, has gone missing whilst doing secret experiments in his old mansion. In a bid to seek him out, Michael enters the mansion, and finds it overrun with spooks and freaky beasties, and has to search the rooms for weapons and ammuntion with which to battle these fiends as he hunts for his brother.

As Michael, you play in a platform type environment as you wander about the house, avoiding or killing the aforementioned monsters, but when you enter a room the viewpoint changes to first person, and you search the environment using a menu system with four choices....Open, Get, Go and Hit.

Open lets you open doors and drawers, Get lets you collect the ammo, weapons, pills or items that you find, Go moves you forward through other doors or openings and Hit is used to try and break through walls and stuff....which you'll have to do, as there seems to be a lack of door access to some areas.

According to the last research report Michael received before Ginn's disappearance, his last experiment was some sort of Interdimensional Warpgate, and he's created portals all over the house too. Entering the portals is something of a must, as at the end of each portal-area is a boss who holds a part of a laser that you'll need to fight the final big bad boss, Canbarian!

Portals can be quite frustrating to find, as pretty much anything you can open can be hiding a portal, so you'll need to click Go on everything to work out where they are!

Also, every now and then when you open a door in a room, you'll set loose a slightly bigger monster than the usual fodder running about the levels. And it's here that the influence of House really starts to show....

Here's a picture of Dr. Chaos's Big Lady monster...

...and here's a hag-type monster from House...

Now here's the Omen monster....

...and here's Creeper from House....'s Big Ben from House....

...and here's Franken from the game!

If you're still unconvinced.......

....that last one especially proves the point!

Pretty damning evidence, I'm sure you'll agree! As is the fact that the portals take you off to jungle type areas...reminiscent of...oh, say...Vietnam?

Anyway, I found the game quite tricky. Hunting around the rooms clicking on absolutely everything can be a bit annoying, and when the monsters appear it doesn't take them long to smack the health out of you! Despite all that, I still had a lot of fun with it, especially once I went to the portal levels.

But yeah, the main point of interest for me is the ties to House, as it's one of my favourite horror movies...and i wonder if Pony Canyon, who mad this game, did ever have the license to make an official fact, woah....wait a minute.....what's this!?!?!

Mashou no Yakata Gabalin (MSX): 

It's only another bloomin' game by Pony canyon clearly influenced very heavily by House! 
I discovered this today while looking for any information about a House licence, but the only info seems to be that it indeed based on the film...still no official ties!

Anyway, let's load this up and have a quick go to see what it's all about! 

So we start right away with Big Ben running up on the title screen and nabbing the protagonist's child! And the hand below the title is clearly ripped straight from the promotional stuff for the film too!

Now we're in the house and a couple of rooms in, we get surrounded by bats. No weapons yet, so we just have to rush past and try to avoid them.

After a few more rooms filled with furniture, and what appeared to be some rats and more bats, i discovered a hole in the ground which turned out to be another portal to Vietnam! Still no weapon, and after crossing the bridge in the screenshot above I got wasted by the soldiers!

Starting again, I wandered through the rooms until i accidentally fell through a cross-hatch patterned piece of floor. It landed me right beside this odd looking spear...or is it a gun?

The gun made it a lot easier to get past the soldiers in the jungle area, and exiting there I end up in a room with more spiders and a key to unlock the door at the bottom of the screen.

The nest room has rats and another locked door, but no keyhole. I was stuck here for a few attempts, going through that 'down' cross-hatch bit and ending up having to go through the jungle again. And then ended p here again, until eventually I killed all the rats, and then the door unlocks! Doh!

And then I get to pick up a weird crystal ball type thing, which apparently ends the stage! Hurrah!

And then the game goes through more of the same, fighting through rooms looking for keys and pick-ups, meeting a few new enemies like the spider above, and fighting through more jungle areas when you fall through holes! It seems like it might be pretty fun, now that I know what I'm doing!

Anyway, I reckon that's enough Pony Canyon House rip-offs for now...lets see what other games I have in this first wave of Gruesome!

(With thanks to, where I nabbed some of the pics and gifs in this article from)


Ghostblaster (Colecovision) :

You won't get any prizes for guessing where Ghostblaster gets it's influence from. I mean look how blatant that cover art is! But this hombrew by Daniel Bienvenu plays better than quite a few games that have a proper Ghostbusters licence.

Released as a special game for the 10th Anniversary of the CCJVQ (Club De Collectionneurs De Jeux Video Du Quebec) in 2009, and as an actual cartridge for proper Colecovisions, I found a downloadable rom online which I was able to load up in my BlueMSX emulator, as that allows play of Colecovision as well as MSX games.

As you start the game, you'll be treated to a lovely rendition of a very familiar them tune, and this continues to play throughout the game. Pushing start pops up a message from the CCJVQ themselves telling you how they've been invaded by ghosts that are making them ill, and they reckon they've came from some gems that they bought offline to celebrate the tenth anniversary. They want you to clean up these gems, blast any ghosties that get in your way and hopefully sort all this out before the celebrations begin!

And so that's what you do as you speedily zip about the platforms, gathering up all those shiny stones. You'll also have to collect the letters that spell out CCJVQ to open the exit to the current level, and there are various power-ups to help you out strewn all over the place too!

If you miss any gems, you'll have to try the level again, but you should get plenty of enjoyment trying to work out the correct way to collect them all before accidentally opening the exit! The jolly music, cutesy graphics and smooth gameplay make this a great ghost-blasting experience that I totally recommend you give a bash this Hallowe'en!

And if you head over to Daniel's Youtube channel, you can find lots of videos on the development of the game too, if such things interest you!


Ninja Blade (Xbox 360) :

I picked this game up in a Gamestation sale, a few months after it released, for the grand sum of 50p (66¢) . This obviously set some alarm bells ringing about the quality of the game, but when I loaded it up and started playing I realised I had potentially got the bargain of the decade!

You play as Ken Ogawa, a young ninja who is having some problems with worms. Not the wriggly, garden variety of worms but a specific intestinal hookworm type, that have been infecting residents of a small village, changing them into hideous mutants whilst also improving their strength and resilience. Medicine and vaccines had no effect in stopping the outbreak, and so a global task force was put in place to combat the problem, composed of elite operatives from all over the world. Ken is just one of these operatives.

Nuking the village where these outbreaks occurred hasn't stopped the infection spreading to Tokyo, and so the G.U.I.D.E (Global United Infestation Detection and Elimination) force heads there to try and stop the infected before the city has to be purged with a similar nuclear solution.

What this boils down to in gameplay terms, is a barrage of non stop action in a Ninja-Gaiden-type style as you slice and dice your way through waves of enemies, but with more QTEs (quick time events). Way more QTEs. In fact, if quick time events aren't something you enjoy or can at least deal with, then this isn't the game for you at all. In fact if this wasn't called Ninja Blade, it could have been called QTE - The Game!

This does mean that the action is relentless, and even during the cutscenes you can't relax, as you'll suddenly be required to dodge out of the way as a giant boss crashes into the scene! And these bosses truly are giant, screen filling things, as you might expect in a From Software title. Battling them can take ages as you usually have to weaken them quite a bit before being able to finish them off with fancy moves called Todome (basically just another QTE). These battles can get frustrating, but perseverance usually pays off.

The sheer craziness and intensity of the action. the great looking, shiny graphics and the weird looking enemy-monsters make this worth way more than the pittance I paid for it though, and as I don't mind QTEs that much, I've found a lot of enjoyment playing this and finding power ups for my different sword types, random suit designs and emblems, and other cool stuff hidden away behind secret walls.

If you're a fan of the Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden games, this is definitely worth some of your time. If however you hate QTEs with a passion, this will be your worst nightmare!


That should be enough for now! Don't forget to check out the other blogs taking part in the countdown by clicking on the badge below!


  1. I'm going to have to look into Dr. Chaos I just might own it but never played it. I bet it would have done better if it had the naming rights from House. Fun post by the way!

    1. Thanks! Dr. Chaos is definitely worth a look! It also makes me wonder if there are any other nearly-licensed movie games out there that I haven't discovered yet!