Welcome back to Part Two of our Retro Horror Videogame Extravaganza! In case you couldn’t tell with yesterday’s article we’re continuing to press forward in time. So while these games aren’t as old as yesterday’s picks, they’re still pretty ancient in videogame years. Let’s get on with Part Two!
Brain Dead 13 (3DO, PS1, Saturn) – Let me be as clear as possible…Brain Dead 13 is NOT a good game. It’s hardly a “game” at all. Rather, it is more of an interactive, animated, gothic horror, cartoon. That alone makes it the kind of oddball Halloween curiosity that is worth investigating. As a kid I had the 3DO version (yep I owned a 3DO in the 90s). For some bizarre reason my friends and I would play this game ALL the time. The slick cartoon animation made a huge impression on us, and even today Brain Dead 13 is quite the looker. The gameplay is identical to that of the Don Bluth classic, Dragon’s Lair. The main character will run around on screen and then at a specific time you’ll need to input a direction or a button to avoid a gruesome death. That’s the entirety of the gameplay. Not exactly riveting stuff.
Our hero, Lance, is always one wrong move from dying in the most gruesomely cartoonish way possible. It’s great!
Part of the allure of the game is it’s humor as well as the seemingly endless amounts of different death animtions. Every single room is home to something random as hell that can fucking insta-kill you. Thanks to the infinite lives, it’s the very definition of “trail and error” gameplay. Still, there is something oddly satisfying about memorizing and surviving a particularly long sequence in the game. The gothic castle setting, classic monsters, Looney Tunes inspired demented humor, and cartoon violence make this sort of worth checking out. Besides, I couldn’t resist putting something from the ill fated 3DO on the list!
Zombie Revenge (Dreamcast) – I LOVE my Sega Dreamacast. It was hard to narrow it down to a single game for this list. I simply couldn’t resist this silly House of the Dead spin-off. Essentially, this is Streets of Rage: Undead Edition. You run around 3D environments choosing a specific character and you must punch, kick, suplex, and shoot your way to victory. All of the while you’re constantly being fed some INSANELY BAD voiced acted cut scenes. It’s wonderful.
Behold! Cheesy arcade action at it’s finest!
It’s not often that a game perfectly captures that “B movie” cheesiness , but Zombie Revenge does just that. Again, this isn’t going to “wow” you with its sophisticated gameplay. Rather it’s something that is best enjoyed with your best bud sitting next to you on the couch. Preferably, you’ve both got some beers close by ready to imbibe. Try not to fight too much over who get’s to play the guy named “Stick”.
Maximo (PS2) – Sometime during the Dreamcast’s ill fated life-cycle Capcom got the idea to make a spiritual successor to it’s Ghouls n’ Ghosts games. After the Dreamcast died an unceremonious death, the title later shifted development to the Playstation 2. It was eventually released as Maximo: Ghosts to Glory. This is Ghouls n’ Ghosts all but in name. You fight monsters, obtain different weapons, and wear flimsy armor that allows you one or two hits before your reduced to your heart patterned under-a-roos. Oh, and the game is hard. Really. FUCKING. Hard. What makes it so hard? Well, how about the fact that you have to collect coins just continue? Hmmm, not hard enough? Well, what if I told you this pre-date modern game design where it was common practice to map the camera controls to the right analog stick? Yeah now you’re worried!
Don’t get used to that armor…
Still despite it’s brutal, hardcore sensibilities, Maximo is a visual and aural treat. It’s teeming with iconic Halloween imagery and as you trounce through grave yards, get attacked by ravens, and even encounter the Grim Reaper himself. Few PS2 games capture the essence of the season as well as Maximo. The sequel is also worth playing and MUCH improved. Again, I’d love for Capcom to get off their lazy asses and do something with their beloved Ghouls n’ Ghost games.
Luigi’s Mansion (Gamecube) – Ah Luigi, you poor bastard. You’ve spent your entire pixelated existence in your plumpy brother’s shadow..UNTIL NOW. Yes, Luigi’s first solo game and it was the launch title for the Gamecube. Many folks were pissed that a traditional Super Mario game wasn’t available at launch and all those people can kiss Luigi’s hairy Italian asscheeks! This game is wonderful! It’s essentially a Ghostbusters spoof staring the scared shitless Luigi. Armed with a sup’ed up Vacuum cleaner Luigi must suck up ghosts, solve puzzles, and explore a creepy, gothic mansion to save Mario.
The game still looks incredible today and it’s haunted mansion vibe scores it big points from me. I’m always a fan of games that force you to use your noggin to solve puzzles and Luigi’s Mansion has just enough mind benders to satisfy. Plus, it’s damn satisfying to suck up ghost’s using the tiny yellow thumb stick. This is a fairly short game that can be completed over the course of a couple sessions and I’ve always been really impressed with the satisfying mixture of action and puzzles. Plus, I love how much charm and personality the entire game exudes. Everything from Luigi’s terrified antics, to the different personalities of ghosts is chalk full of humor and style. The sequel on the 3DS improves upon the Gamecube game in every possible way and is very much worth your time. Go Luigi go!
Stubbs The Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (Xbox) – Do you remember how yesterday I mentioned I LOVED playing as a monster? Well, I FUCKING LOVE playing as a monster! In Stubbs you’re playing as a cigarette smoking undead gentleman running amok in a super futuristic 1950s Utopian city. You’ll trudge around biting citizens, driving hover vehicles, blowing shit up, making a zombie horde, and using a some very unique special zombie abilities. The game has a great sense of humor and plays up it’s absurd premise as much as it can. If you’re offended by sophomoric fart and pee jokes, you’ll want to look elsewhere. Hey, I never said this was a classy game.
This image brings my dark heart so much twisted joy!
Stubbs is high on originality, but it’s gameplay doesn’t always match it brilliant ideas. Playing as a zombie is stroke of genius, but developer Wideload Games really makes it feel like you’re…controlling a zombie. For better or for worse. Stubbs is slow and the controls take some getting used to. Still, I can easily overlook any of the game’s faults because it’s just so damn unique. Weird ass games like this just don’t see physical releases anymore. For that I salute and pledge allegiance to Stubbs. May he forever be remembered as the foulest smelling Xbox exclusive there ever was. His game is funny, violent, and filled with one hell of a soundtrack. Also, there is a nifty two player co-op mode and that always great to see. Stubbs with a friend is a perfect way to spend a weekend evening this October. It’s 100% Wolfman Lounge Approved.
There you have it. That’s the list. Do you agree with the games? Anything you’d rather be playing this Halloween? If you’d like to hear Josh and Mike talk more in depth about this topic please listen to our Podcast from last October where we talk about our favorite horror themed videogames. Please like and share this article if you enjoyed it and spread the Word of the Wolf. Keep howling you sexy mother fuckers!