Whoever invented October deserves a medal. It has everything: Cooler weather, beer festivals, Retropalooza Arlington (weak lineup this year, but whatevs), and Halloween. It’s a great time to indulge your creepy side. There’s no better time to enjoy a month-long tribute to spooky retro games.
I’ve got my list, of course. Every blogger has lists of things, it seems. Ha! And here are 7 spooky retro games I plan to play this month. This list includes things I’ve already got, and a few things that I’ve neglected to pick up, but definitely want to try this month. And this is just the start of my creepy October list!
Spooky Retro Games to pee my pants to:
Friday the 13th (NES)
I know this game has some issues, and a lot of otherwise reasonable gamers have deep-seated hatred for it. I’m sure part of that is thanks to the Angry Video Game Nerd and his always-brutal analysis. As much as I enjoy James Rolfe’s character, and his hilarious hot takes, I also wish the gaming fandom could separate their own opinions from others’.
It’s fine though, really. I actually really enjoy it in spite of its quirks. It’s published by LJN, of course, which for a lot of “fans” is grounds for hating it right there. But give it a fair shake and you’ll see Friday the 13th is mediocre at worst. And it’s basically a masterpiece compared to some of LJN’s other products.
Nightmare on Elm Street (NES)
I actually just played this for the first time. This is another one that the AVGN ripped into, but he may have been a little closer to the mark this time.
Yeah, the game itself is a pretty generic platformer. I think some of the environment graphics are good, but the character sprites are mostly ugly. One cool thing about this one is that it supports 4-player play with the NES FourScore. (Not the FourSkin as I keep “mistakenly” calling it.) I’m not sure what the 4-player mode is all about, since I don’t have 3 friends to try it with. I’ll have to check it out and maybe write a bit deeper of a review.
First impressions, though, is that this is just a basic, generic 8-bit platformer that could have been any movie tie-in with a re-skin. Overall, it’s playable and I’m curious about the multiplayer. But it’s definitely not great.
Jekyll and Hyde (NES)
One more from AVGN. Actually, this is his all-time most hated game. I’ve played it a bit and was as confused as he assured me I would be.
Still, I like to give these old games a fair, unbiased look. So I dunno. I’ll have a look at this one, too.
Silent Hill 2 (PS2)
Most of the gaming world is in agreement that Silent Hill 2 is great. Experts on the series may quibble over whether 1 or 2 is better, but the biggest factor for me is simply the fact that I have Silent Hill 2 and not Silent Hill 1. So yeah.
This was one of the main games that initially convinced me I needed a PS2. I was watching a friend play it at his house, with the lights low and, I believe, it was a cold October night. I was like, woah. I’d never seen anything like it before. Throw in the fact that Squaresoft was all-in on PS2 and that was what threw me off the Nintendo wagon for like, 15 years.
Yeah, Silent Hill 2 is good. It’s been so long since I played it. I’ll be rediscovering the story like the first time.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent (PC)
Certainly one of my favorite horror games. It terrorized me the first time I played it. And as a longtime H.P. Lovecraft fan, I’m very much into the subtle and strange interdimensional horror. And the madness…
Fatal Frame (PS2)
I know nothing about Fatal Frame, except that a lot of people have told me I need to play it. So no spoilers, ghetto fam!
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (NES)
October is a wonderful month to have a curse!
Full disclosure: I probably won’t limit myself to CV2. I love the whole NES trilogy and will probably hit them all. But Castlevania II is one I haven’t played in a few years, and it was one of my favorite games as a kid.
Again, I know the game is flawed. And AVGN did a number on this one, too. Come to think of it, his first video was on Simon’s Quest. But I love the game, and I’m not alone.
And just to be safe, I’ll probably go ahead and play the Castlevania II: Redacted version. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a fan hack that fixes a lot of the biggest complaints about CV2. The day/night transition happens faster, previously poorly-translated dialogues are fixed, and a handful of other tweaks have been made.
Overall, CV2: Redacted is a great version of Castlevania II and you should probably try it along with all the other spooky retro games you plan to play this month.
More to follow!–GG