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Can You Survive the Unholy 13?
By Adam Wallace     |   Posted on October 14, 2016   |   Episode 56 (Show Archive)  

   

Darkness falls across the land and the midnight hour is close at hand. There are ghouls, ghosts and monsters to be seen ... all ready to be part of the Unholy 13!

Halloween is nearly upon us, which can only mean one thing: It's time to talk about the creepiest, scariest and most horrific video games ever committed to cartridge. To get you in the mood, Adam Wallace will be reviewing a frightening selection of old school horror games. The Unholy 13 kicks off on Wednesday, October 19th, and will run all the way through Halloween day.

Now here's the real challenge: Can you guess the thirteen horror games Adam will be reviewing? He's provided clues for all thirteen games, so it's your job to figure out the old school release he's talking about. Be the first to figure out the Unholy 13?
As I mentioned when I reviewed Halloween, the Atari 2600's archaic hardware was largely insufficient to create the kind of scares to rival horror films. That isn't to say that the 2600 couldn't pull off a tense atmosphere that works with checked expectations. In fact, Halloween managed to create some decent atmosphere for the time with the limited means. For the most part, that also holds true with Haunted House.

I was initially ready to dismiss this game due to the graphical presentation which is poor even by Atari 2600 standards. The four floors of the titular house are just eight boxes with the walls colored differently for each floor. The bat, spider, and ghost which serve as the enemies are as generic as they come. As for the player character, the only thing seen are the eyes. In fact ... [READ FULL REVIEW]
Lots of mythical monsters get brought up around Halloween. However, one monster that actually gets brought up in everyday life is the gremlin. Every time something breaks down for apparently no reason, people always claim it to be the work of gremlins. However, in 1984, there were three types of gremlins that got major attention: the Gremlins that infested the Joe Dante movie of the same name, the Gremlins games that Atari put out based on that movie, and the gremlins that clearly infested the Atari 5200.

The Atari 5200 is a permanent resident on lists of the worst game consoles. The reasons why are plain for all to see. The bulky console is a pain to set up, its game library mostly consisted of just prettier versions of 2600 games, and its stock controller is one of the worst controllers ever ... [READ FULL REVIEW]
When I reviewed Halloween on the Atari 2600, I mentioned that I'm not a fan of slasher flicks. Part of the reason is that the plots depend too often on disposable protagonists acting stupid just to get sliced up, but mostly it's because of how cliched they tend to be. The only slasher franchise I actually like is A Nightmare on Elm Street. The idea of a killer that invades his victims' nightmares, turning their own dreams against them, leads to plenty of creative ways to kill off the disposable characters. A game based on the franchise would have had plenty of potential, but most of the potential was lost in this NES game. Really, did you expect better from LJN?

The game isn't based on any of the individual movies; rather, it's based on just the character of Freddy Krueger and a handful of ideas from the whole franchise. That's actually a great idea since singling out one movie in particular could've been too limiting for the game. Your goal ... [READ FULL REVIEW]
Predator stands as one of the greatest movies of the 80s, effectively combining sci-fi, action, and horror to keep audiences in suspense. For some reason, the sequel from 1990 got hammered by critics and audiences despite it getting a lot right, too. I personally like Predator 2. It had great characters, great atmosphere, plenty of creepy moments, and an awesome final fight between the titular alien hunter and Danny Glover. That movie didn't deserve the hate it got; no, the hate should've been directed at the Sega game instead.

Unlike the NES game based on the first Predator which was an extremely weird platformer, Predator 2 on the Sega Master System is a very straightforward shooter that plays like Ikari Warriors flipped on its side. You play Danny Glover's character Lt. Harrigan who ... [READ FULL REVIEW]
Recycled concepts are nothing new in the games industry. For a classic example, the company Color Dreams, responsible for a ton of unlicensed NES games, took most of its existing games, repackaged them with Christian themes, and sold them again under the company name Wisdom Tree. For a more recent example, look at all the various series and sub-series that Koei spawned from the success of Dynasty Warriors 2. Quite simply, if you've played one Warriors game (aside from the first), you've played them all. Developer Vic Tokai is no stranger to recycling games. In 1988, they developed Kid Kool for the NES which sucked. In 1989, they reworked and fixed Kid Kool into the game Psycho Fox on the Sega Master System. Finally, the same game was reworked and enhanced again to create Decap Attack, easily the best the concept could get. [READ FULL REVIEW]
In the early 90s, the original Universal monsters that terrified movie audiences in the 30s saw a resurgence in popularity. This trend started when the legendary director Francis Ford Coppola did his take on Bram Stoker's Dracula, the one with Commissioner Gordon playing the Count. (Yes, I know who Gary Oldman is.) While it can be debated whether that film was better or worse than the Bela Lugosi film, there's no denying that the movie was amazing; not even Keanu Reeves could sink it. Naturally, after that success, the next logical step was to re-adapt Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The movie which was directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh and starred Robert DeNiro as the reanimated monster was just okay. Like with Dracula, Frankenstein got promotional tie-in games. Also like before, the tie-in games sucked.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein saw releases on the Genesis and Super Nintendo which were just good looking platformers that didn't play worth a crap. However, the Sega CD version was entirely different. Instead of another cash-in platformer, the Sega CD game was actually the strangest genre combination I had ever seen in my life. This game was part point-and-click ... [READ FULL REVIEW]
Zombies Ate My Neighbors still stands as one of the greatest co-op games of all time. It also was a glorious tribute to the campy horror films of the 50s. It came out during the time when LucasArts wasn't afraid to create some kooky games without the Star Wars or Indiana Jones licenses like Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. Everyone from the era still loves Zombies Ate My Neighbors. However, few people are aware that it actually had a sequel. Ghoul Patrol can be just as entertaining as its predecessor if you can check your expectations, but don't people have to do that for sequels anyway?

Once again players take control of Zeke and Julie. Here they are battling an undead army spawned from a horror exhibit coming to life. The plot is barebones, and I forgot about it almost instantly. That wouldn't ... [READ FULL REVIEW]
There are few series that carry the honor of popularizing a whole genre the way Resident Evil does. Although Alone in the Dark set many of the benchmarks for the survival horror genre, Resident Evil was the game that brought the genre into the mainstream. Even though the franchise has been milked like crazy the same way that Capcom milks all of their successful brands, the games are still some of the most enjoyable slices of terror you can find in gaming. One would think that Resident Evil's style would be impossible to put on the lowly Game Boy Color, but Capcom tried anyway with Resident Evil Gaiden. This one isn't just a shambling corpse, but it isn't the Tyrant, either.

The story takes place after the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3. Barry Burton from the first game and Leon Kennedy from the second game join forces to find a new type of Bio-Weapon developed by the series' villains ... [READ FULL REVIEW]
Okay, before I start this review, I have to confess something that would probably eliminate at least 80% of my geek cred. I have never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I mean the show; I had seen the Kristi Swanson movie once a long time ago. It's nothing against the show, Joss Whedon, or Sarah Michelle Geller; I just never got around to it. I have, however, played and thoroughly enjoyed the Buffy games on the Xbox and was curious to see if the Game Boy Advance could hold its own compared to those games. While it doesn't reach those heights, I'm not sharpening any stakes to use on it, either.

The story is fairly straightforward involving going after the cybernetic Frankenstein's monster Adam as well as the Gentlemen. Even though I haven't seen the show, I am familiar with the main characters ... [READ FULL REVIEW]
The original Doom is not only one of the greatest first-person shooters of all time, but it's also a great game to pull out for Halloween. While a lot of games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill tried to elicit scares by limiting movement and ammo, Doom did it with awesome visuals, great lighting, and impeccable sound design. Those elements also worked for Alien Vs. Predator on the Jaguar, and they worked yet again for Alien Trilogy. When I reviewed Itchy and Scratchy in Miniature Golf Madness, I fired a couple of cheap shots at how Acclaim ruined great licenses with crappy games like LJN did. However, unlike LJN, there were times where Acclaim got it spot-on, and Alien Trilogy by far was the best example of what Acclaim could do when they actually tried.

Despite the title, Alien Trilogy is NOT a playable recreation of the first three Alien films. The story takes you as Ripley through a new story inspired by elements from the trilogy. The plot is told through mission briefings between stages, but, like with Doom, the plot becomes largely ... [READ FULL REVIEW]
Even though horror-themed games had existed since the Atari 2600 era, the Playstation was the first console to bring them to the forefront. I distinctly remember displays at Electronics Boutique (now GameStop) around the system's launch. They weren't showing off WarHawk, Twisted Metal, or NFL GameDay; they were showing the original Resident Evil. That and Silent Hill were mega-successes, leading to a deluge of horror games that took on numerous forms. Of course, there was an opening for a horror RPG in the PS1's catalog, and Sacnoth, founded by former Square employees, tried to fill it with Koudelka.

Koudelka has a story that is all over the place involving three characters meeting up to investigate strange things occurring at an old monastery. Even though ... [READ FULL REVIEW]
The fifth console generation was a transitional period for video games. Even though there were experiments with 3D during the fourth generation, the fifth was when sprites were getting replaced by polygons all over the place. As a result, many established franchises had to adapt to the new 3D paradigm. Some did wonderfully like Mario and Zelda; some failed like Contra and Bubsy. Castlevania 64 fell in the middle of that spectrum when it released, but Konami rectified that for the most part with Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness.

Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness is a prequel to Castlevania 64. The main plot focuses on a werewolf named Cornell out to save his sister from being sacrificed to resurrect Dracula. The plot is fine though, like with Alien Trilogy, it becomes almost superfluous during the game. The ending (which I won't spoil) leads right into Carrie and Reinhardt's tale which, thankfully, you don't have ... [READ FULL REVIEW]
It's tough playing catch-up. The first three Alone in the Dark games were the games that created the survival horror genre; however, they were quickly cast aside when Resident Evil hit the scene. By the time Darkworks put out the fourth game in the Alone in the Dark series, The New Nightmare, the genre had expanded to ridiculous degrees. The developers decided that the only way to compete was to copy Resident Evil for the most part. Nine times out of ten, blatantly copying a rival doesn't turn out well, and The New Nightmare is no exception.

The plot revolves around series regular Edward Carnby and his compatriot for this game Aline investigating a mysterious island. While looking for answers about a colleague's death, the two find out about [READ FULL REVIEW]
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