TopofMaiHelmutBannerHalloweenPREPARE TO TASTE THE SMELL OF FEAR!

Velcome gamers of ze night, it’s Count Von Alan McGhostWolfman III here! Tenously filling space with spooky puns before dropping some spooky retro fun on your lap then shouting BOO! Woooooh!
(Hitchcock ain’t got nothin’ on me right guys? Right?)

Anyway, the dark evenings and the calendar have led to but one conclusion, that All Hallows Eve will soon be upon us, so it’s time to get spiritual and look at some of the games that absolutely rammed the willies up me back in the day! (Oo-er missus!)

The first title was probably my first experience of a Horror game, let me set the scene for you…
In the dark dark times of the early 80s, I had finally saved up enough pocket money to get a ZX Spectrum and start my illustrious career as a gamer, my money could only stretch to the smaller 16k model, at the time it was no big deal, but later on all the games were only written for the bulky 48k model, so what to do? Well, somehow I ended up with a 48k game, and it was this…

HUMMER HOUSE OF HORROR
(1983)

HummerHouseOfHorrorGet a load of that loading screen, it’s terrifying! Or an assault on your eyeballs that they may never recover from, either or…
The fear on that womans face! She knows the disembodied mouth of a vampire is upon her and there is no escape!
So how did I end up with this title that I couldn’t play? Well, it was thanks to a game club, which was a common thing, you basically sent them a few quid a month and they posted you games, but you did need to order one every month, so somehow this age innapropriate title ended up in my juvenile hands. Later that year, my parents took pity on me and installled/soldered on the missing 32 kays that I needed to super charge my speccy without telling me, to stop me from finding out before Santa could deliver it, this tape was hidden from me until the big day. When the news was broken on that most festive of tides, I naturally slapped in this game and looked forward to find out what ‘playing with power’ truly felt like!
I was…dissapointed
Hummer is basically a text based adventure game where you try to rescue your girlfriend a ‘maiden‘ (Apparently this game was made in 1483!) from the clutches of the usual crowd, let’s see…there was…

  • HummerHouseOfHorrorDracula
  • Vampire Bats
  • Ghouls
  • Imps
  • Mad Chinese Cook (That old mainstay! He gets everywhere!)

All shown in a ‘3D’ or what passed for 3D view at that time. I was extremely unimpressed and looked forward to the day after boxing day when I could go out and spend my xmas monies on something a bit more satisfying! I was far too young to know better at that time, but I wonder if the word ‘Hummer’ still had the same connotations in that carefree 80s time?

WHAT NOW?

THE EVIL DEAD
(1984)

EvilDeadTheYes, that Evil Dead by Mr Raimi, and the fact that the film had been out for 3 years at this point didn’t stop Palace Software from jumping on the deadite bandwagon! Palace software actually went on to produce some quite gory games, such as Barbarian, which was my first experience of a pixellated decapatation and the Cauldron series of games, which were practically Halloween made flesh! And the creepy as heck insert disk screen for Barbarian II on the Amiga. So what sort of blood soaked horror did this game churn out, I mean, that loading screen is all very authentic and everything, so the game itself must be…

EvilDeadThe
Good grief! For future reference survival horror game makers, a top-down view does not help to build tension! Nor does having weird sparkly stuff appear when you attack enemies. That said, the game is a very early survival horror title, with you boarding up windows long before it became a mainstay in many titles these days. It’s just, not very close to the original material is all, but back then you could package any old rubbish in a case and hope for the best, since there was no internet there was no such thing as a day one review, so you could get away with…
murder! Mwahahaha!!!
Which brings us quite neatly to…

 

SOFT & CUDDLY
(1987)

SoftandCuddlyIntroWell, what do we have here, 2 binbag gimp Zippy monsters and a winky zombie face. You’re probably chilled to the bone at this point, it’s sheer terror! Soft and Cuddly came from the twisted mind of John George Jones, who had previously released Go To Hell, which was similar in style and content, but this was the title I can remember so vividly seeing at a computer show back then, made all the more noticable by the fact that it came with a free sickbag to use when the fear became too much and you had to expunge it in the form of bile! Now you may think that last line was extremely wordy and pretentious, but it is as nothing to the interviews given by Mr Jones back in the day. If you think that the rockstar games designer was invented recently, I can assure you that they were around long long ago. Check it out

SoftandCuddlyScreenGrabAre you done vomiting? Then I’ll continue. If you read that, then you shouldn’t be surprised that John was a musician at heart, and the bonus soundtrack that was included is available to download on the World of Spectrum website if you really hate your earholes. The game itself is actually quite solid codewise, with some interesting monsters dotted around the place, it’s very much of it’s time though, nearly all the releases on the Speccy then were of this quality, so it never stood out apart from the gimmicky art. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Midway learnt a lot from this when they released the awful Mortal Kombat games. The story is a load of nonsense, but as you should know by now, that was expected. But we did learn a valuable lesson in the end, judging by the interview, just as in real life, man was the real monster after all!

 

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed your dismal journey into the gaming hereafter,
now it’s time to return to the crypt and watch some of my favourite Horror Movies…

MadChineseCook*Apologies to Ken Hom, I love your cooking sir!

AWWW YEAH! – Until next time Earthlings! Alan Vader

For more articles from Alan Vader or others you can download the PDF of Issue Zero or you can read it online

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