Atari 2600

Review by Kevin Oleniacz

Wizard Video


Graphics: 4

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 4

Overall: 4

halloween.gif (3118 bytes)At the present time, game companies are treading a thin line with regards to the controversial subjects of violence and ratings for videogames. The roots of these issues were supplanted a decade ago when Wizard Video released two distasteful movie-based themes for the 2600: Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Both were produced in limited quantities and sales were restricted to gamers over 17.

Michael Myers is on the loose within a two story building. Your role as a babysitter is to guide children to any one of four safe rooms located at each corner of the house. To do this, press the joystick button to "lock in" a child when you're positioned directly above them and they'll follow your lead. A knife randomly appears in one of the rooms. Stab the maniac twice or save five kids to advance to the next level. Doors in the back of some of the rooms provide the only means of transport between floors. The killer can appear through these doorways or from either side of the screen. The movie's theme music announces his arrival. To add to the suspense, several of the upper rooms are subject to blackouts.

Wizard Video placed emphasis on violence rather than solid play mechanics. The appeal is the blood which leaks out of murdered children and spurts from the babysitter's body when beheaded. Since we're discussing the 2600 it is not graphically offending, but this cart would invoke protests and restricted sales if re-released today. This appears to be a hastily constructed release since it's comprised of very limited, repetitious gamelpay. The animation is excellent, however. Michael Myers waves his knife in the air and the children flap their arms and dance around in fright. In contrast, the remainder of the playfield is devoid of detail. The rooms are totally bare. The difficulty is uneven, as one can breeze through the first few rounds and then encounter a truly frustrating challenge. One cannot earn extra lives. You receive no acknowledgement that a level has been completed. There are no variations on gameplay, other than increased difficulty. The sound effects are very limited, consisting of footsteps, locking in a child, and a short ring which signifies acquisition of the knife. If you're a psycho who craves violence of any shape or form, or have a passion for horror films, you'd probably enjoy Halloween.

TIP: The majority of gamers hunger for variety and solid gameplay. Halloween pulls up short in both categories. ONCE the knife is picked up, you can't drop it until you stab the maniac to death or vice versa. It requires perfect timing to successfully stab Michael Myers. Therefore, in later rounds it is best to totally disregard the knife.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:25 PM