Sunday, April 26, 2009

Halloween: The Video Game

Halloween: The Video Game
In Wizard's early 1980's version of Halloween for the Atari 2600, you play the hapless babysitter, locked in a large two story house with no furniture and no exits. It's just you, Michael Meyers, and a whole caboodle of kids that need to be saved. The screen is divided into two levels--the first floor and the second floor--and you can scroll either left or right until you reach the end of the house. There are doorways that you can take, some leading to the other level of the house while others take you to another room on the same floor.

Your objective is of course to save the children from the maniac, escorting their little panicky bodies from the clutches of Michael Meyers to a safe room
in the house (either the first or last room on either floor.) For each child you successfully save, you are awarded 675 points. There is a knife that pops up sporadically that you can use to attack Michael Meyers and scare him off, which gives you another 225 points. It can only be used once before you have to go find it again, however, and it gets you in dangerously close to the killer. If he gets to the kid before you do, the child falls to the floor and bleeds profusely from the head. And if Michael Meyers gets to you, he decapitates you with one quick swipe of his knife and you run around like a chicken with its head cut off, spurting blood from your ragged neck. You only have three lives, each represented by a jack-o-lantern at the top of the screen, so run like hell and zigzag your ass off to stay alive.


The graphics are about
as good as can be expected considering the abilities of the 2600, but the game play is a hell of a lot better than Wizard's other (ahem) stab at the genre: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. However, precisely like that game, this one was all but blacklisted by most major distributors and so the original cartridge is an extremely rare find. ROMs are available for download from the internet to be used with Atari emulators on your personal computer, but the legality of such an item is dubious at best.

The game is well worth playing, especially for fans of the Halloween series. Even the Atari version of the theme song has the remarkable ability to send chills up your spine.

Get down with your 8-bit self!

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