Halloween is just a couple of days away, and it’s a good opportunity to get together with friends and watch scary movies, or go trick-or-treating (if you’re the proper age – c’mon, adults) or just stay in and enjoy a great Halloween-oriented video game.
A lot of people have their contemporary picks in mind, including the underrated (yet amazing) The Evil Within 2, the awesome Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and, for a certain few that apparently can’t get enough of the games, Five Nights At Freddy’s.
However, we’re in an old-school frame of mind with this special, so we’re going to discuss five overlooked classics that are perfect for Halloween night, whether you’re in the mood for something goofy, atmospheric or downright perfect when it comes to fighting off ghouls.
Dig your classic game system out of the closet, because it’s time to enjoy some retro favorites!
The original Splatterhouse is nothing short of a masterpiece, as you make a tireless journey through a house filled with demons and monsters, all in the hopes of saving your girlfriend. But Namco really upped the ante with the sequel, adding even more ghoulish terrors and making the situation look even more hopeless as you continue to chase after her. With the additional gore, new weapons and superb presentation, Splatterhouse 2 easily stands as one of the best in the series. Of course, you can’t go wrong with the original game either, which you can play on the Turbo-Grafx 16, or as part of the Namco Museum compilation for Nintendo Switch. Can’t go wrong with a 2 X 4 to the face!
These days, Resident Evil looks and plays in an outright ancient manner. Its “tank”-style controls take away from the maneuverability you need to escape some enemies, and the static graphics may not be everyone’s speed. However, at the time of its release, Capcom really did something incredible here, taking the formula that worked pretty well in Alone In the Dark and bumping it up several notches. The sheer terror of having the dogs come through the window, or the zombie giving you a knowing glance of your presence, still remains, making this an old-school delight that’s worth firing up again. Just be prepared for some really bad dialogue – like “master of unlocking” bad. But of course.
I’m sure anyone who’s a retro gamer knows the sheer joy of the Ghouls ‘n Ghosts trilogy, in which a lone man takes on a demonesque army with an endless supply of weapons – and hearted boxers. But then there’s the stupendous spin-off that Capcom produced for the SNES, putting you in control of the game’s gargoyle villain, Firebrand, as he attempts to fulfill a legacy of his own. This game is absolutely atmospheric, with some of the best music you’ll hear on a SNES, along with fun visuals, exciting boss fights and plenty of cool abilities to unlock. If you haven’t played Demon’s Crest yet, you need to fix that. It’s easily one of the best games we’ve seen on the platform.
The story behind Rondo of Blood is fascinating. It’s easily one of the best classic Castlevania games out there, but for years, it never saw a U.S. release, making it a Holy Grail-esque title for retro collectors. But then, thankfully, Konami gave it a shot on both the PSP with Dracula X Chronicles and the Wii Virtual Console service as a digital release, giving fans the chance to see the game for themselves. While Symphony of the Night is the greatest Castlevania game, Rondo is a gem, filled with old-school vibes that only this series can deliver, along with tremendous boss battles and fantastic music. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you can find the PSP game for pretty cheap, and the Wii Virtual Console release is still available. Of course, collectors may not find hunting down a Turbo Duo and going completely old-school. (It’s expensive, though.)
Finally, we have to discuss one of the most underappreciated – yet still beloved – games in the PlayStation 2 library, Rule of Rose. The game takes an unconventional approach to horror titles, featuring a young girl named Jennifer who, in 1930, ventures her way into a world ruled by young girls, who have created a hierarchy called the Red Crayon Aristocrats. You can probably guess that things go downhill as you venture further into this world. Despite the controversy with the game’s violence and implied sexuality (which didn’t sit so well with certain gamers at the time), WWG staffer Liana Ruppert noted, “The game was way ahead of its time. When it first released, it was met with mixed criticisms because it was so unique with its narrative. Because of this, the game didn't receive as well as it should have - though now it's hailed as a classic and generally held in very high regard.” So track down a copy and enjoy this gem for yourself.