Fall is right around the corner and you need to inoculate yourself against the fear of the encroaching darkness and decay of the winter months. That means it’s time to break out your hoodies and cardigans, watch the foliage turn different colors, grab a pumpkin latte, and break out the spooky retro games. Doctor’s orders.
As someone who grew up playing the Sega Genesis (the first system I ever owned), I played a fair few games that are spooky enough to fit the Halloween season.
These 13 spooky Sega Genesis games can give you the shivers, a few jump-scares, or just get you into the mood for some campy Halloween fun.
1. Splatterhouse 2
Unless you played the first Splatterhouse, the game isn’t going to make a lick of sense. Basically, you control Rick, a college student who goes into West Mansion aka Splatterhouse with his girlfriend, Jennifer.
Rick gets possessed by a mask that makes the player capable of taking on the horrors in the house while poor Jennifer disappears, and you have to save her. Spoilers: you don’t. You go on a murder spree and kill the mansion.
In Splatterhouse 2, the mask comes back and offers to help get Jennifer back if you do a little of the beat ‘em up, side scrolling, bloodlust thing.
Basically, you become the unkillable killer from all those great Halloween movies and slaughter monsters all the livelong day. Although retro gamers are probably too old to get spooked by these graphics, they’re pretty nice for the Sega Genesis.
2. Castlevania: Bloodlines
Castlevania: Bloodlines is the perfect Halloween game to get the heebie-jeebies. Once again, you’re called upon to fight vampires and other monsters. You play as John Morris and Eric Lecarde, both of whom have different skills and tools to kill the monsters.
The game has all the standard spooky stuff with haunted mansions and other weird locations along with scary, well-designed enemies.
This platformer is something that every fan of the series should go back and pick up. The game might not be as popular as the ones released on SNES, but it was really good.
3. Phantasy Star III
“What? Phantasy Star isn’t scary!”
Sure, Phantasy Star III doesn’t put you in a murder house, but if you pay attention to what’s happening around you, then this game is downright horrifying. In fact, I think the existential horror offered by this game beats any other on this list.
The game starts off simple enough. You’re a medieval prince named Rhys, and it’s your duty to rescue your bride-to-bed. Yeah, she got spirited away by a winged beast right before the ceremony. That happens, though.
You take Rhys to different towns and flesh out your party with a few cyborgs, including Mieu. She’s just chilling in the desert and casually explains she’s been waiting for 1,000 years for her master to return. Got that? Cool. That’s pretty weird for a medieval game, but cool.
You also find out that all the kingdoms are connected via a futuristic-looking cave system, and each one appears as a smaller globe
The game sends you from land to land, globe to globe, and you continue to see more signs of technology. You can’t help but ask, “what the f*** is going on here?”
The game doesn’t tell you right away, though. You have to battle across multiple generations of characters with this nagging suspicion that something is really wrong with this world.
And that’s when the game hits you with the horrifying truth: your world is not a world at all. It’s a spaceship. You’re survivors from a planetary calamity that sent you and thousands of others into deep space in a desperate attempt to get away from this all-consuming evil that appears every 1,000 years.
Except you brought it with you, hilariously packed away like your winter jackets.
The sub-title of the game wasn’t lying. You’re doomed. Even if you beat Dark Force, there are no happy endings. At best, you link up with another ship and say you’re gonna fight Dark Force together in 1,000 years. Thanks, guys, but you’re a little late.
This game is flawed, but it’s also gutsy because it’s so frickin’ dark. It’s probably my favorite spooky Sega Genesis game for Halloween. I need that real existential horror to get me going.
4. Addams Family Values
Alright, it’s time to get back to the fun part of Halloween games, not the stuff that will keep you up at night.
For that, we turn to Addams Family Values, a game created to follow up on the film of the same name. In this game, you play as Uncle Fester, and it’s your job to find the kidnapped baby, Pubert Addams.
You’ll travel through haunted house locations, overgrown gardens, and dungeons, using Fester’s lightning attack in this Zelda-esque game.
This is the fun kind of spooky, just like the movies, and you will see a lot of familiar characters along the way.
5. Mutant League Football
Are you ready for some macabre football? Then we have the game for you. Mutant League Football is more of a funny-spooky game than anything else.
Still, it gets you out of the beat ‘em ups and platformers and brings the horror to the gridiron where it belongs.
In a post-apocalyptic world where the human race has been mutated, football prevails. Your players don’t get the same football sim stats as the Madden games. Instead, your challenge lies in keeping your team alive!
The field is littered with obstacles that can injure or kill your players, rapidly changing the way that you approach every down. The refs are on the take (just like real life), but you can also dispose of a bad ref by murder.
Like I said before, this game is the funny-scary Halloween variety, but it gets boring quickly.
I can’t help thinking that this is the future of sports, though. Murder, unfettered bribery, and players mutated by a chemical cocktail to produce athletes that can run 45mph and punch someone’s head clean off.
6. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Zombies Ate My Neighbors is not just a great Halloween game, it’s a great all-around game. Now, I know some heathens are going to say “but it’s better on SNES.” Only in the ways that matter, kids.
In this run and gun style game, it’s up to Zeke and Julie to fight back against the monsters unleashed on their precious suburban neighborhood by a mad scientist.
Armed with all sorts of improvised weapons, like footballs, soda cans, and the bazooka, you are tasked with fighting through levels while rescuing innocent bystanders.
You’ll fight chainsaw killers (those were a big problem in the 90s), zombies, werewolves, and more. The levels include a suburban neighborhood, malls, dilapidated factories, and much more.
This game is a great callback to the campy horror films of yesteryear, complete with some fun graphics and downright amazing music. Feel free to play this one year-round.
7. Doom Troopers (AKA Doom Troopers: The Mutant Chronicles)
The Solar System, run by Megacorporations in the future, has gone to hell with the invasion of The Dark Legion. As Doomtroopers, you are unleashed on the enemy by your corporate daddies, taking the role of Mitch Hunter or Max Steiner— two of the manliest names I’ve ever heard of.
Your task is to go planet to planet and turn the mutant hordes unleashed by the big bad into smoking hunks of bloody meat.
The post-apocalyptic future isn’t bright in Doom Troopers. Literally. This shoot ‘em up/ platformer might have started the grim-dark, washed-out colors trend way back in the mid-90s.
The gameplay is kind of simplistic, but it will help you get your fill of monster slaying.
Fun fact: this game is rooted in the Mutant Chronicles series. Doom Trooper spawned a card game, too.
8. Alien 3
Alien 3 is a run and gun game that puts you in the shoes of one of the badass Ellen Ripley. Don’t let that and the vast assortment of weaponry go to your head, though.
You’re in the Fiorina 161 prison colony from the film, and you’re not alone. You need to escape the colony while being hunted by Aliens and Facehuggers.
The game’s design team used light and shadow to make you see Aliens where there are none, leaving your eyes constantly flickering to the motion sensor in the corner of the screen. Nothing is worse than being caught off guard when an Alien comes charging through the darkness to get you.
The tension ramps up as you rescue prisoners and work your way towards the end of the game. The music, art, and enemies perfectly capture the mood of the film.
9. Haunting Starring Polterguy
Haunting Starring Polterguy is a spooky game where you are the ghost of a teenager that wants to scare the person responsible for his death. Apparently, his skateboards weren’t up to par.
Yeah, it’s that kind of story. You can look at the story as being a little callous, though. You are scaring a family out of their home even though it’s not all their fault that you died.
Anyways, look past that and focus on the great mechanics. You essentially possess different items around their home and use them to frighten each member of the family. For example, you can possess a bed to do a jump-scare or bring the washer to life.
Your goal is to chase these poor people around to four different houses and fight the final boss. It’s spooky, it’s kooky, and it’s fun.
10. The Simpsons: Bart’s Nightmare
Ah, the 90s. Where The Simpsons show wasn’t a nightmare of its own, and the “falling asleep at your desk and living out horrors” was still a trope.
Taken straight from the infamous Halloween episodes of the series, you’ll face down enemies like King Kong Homer while you wreak destruction as Godzilla-Bart at the beginning of the game.
Other times, you’re not so lucky. One minute, you’re turned into a frog by a fairy Lisa, and the next you’re dodging Otto’s bus. There’s even a Temple of Doom-esque featuring Maggie statues, demons, and lots of fire.
All the while, you’re tracking down pieces of your homework. If you’re a fan of The Simpsons and their Halloween episodes, then you’ll love this one.
11. Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
This game is a fan-favorite among many friends and family members. The side-scroller has you play the Knight Arthur, who goes on a quest for murderous revenge after his beloved Princess Prin-Prin is kidnapped by Loki.
You jump and slay your way across several levels of haunted castle grounds, using various weapons and powers to reach the nefarious enemy.
The game forces you through a replay of all the levels before you can beat the final boss, which requires the use of a special weapon. The Sega Genesis version of the game is a solid port, with the availability of power-ups and increased armor
This game is known for its toughness, but the Genesis port made it more playable.
12. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Hearing that there is a platforming Bram Stoker’s Dracula game where you play as Keanu Reeves’s Jonathan Harker might come as a shock.
The game actually isn’t that bad once you get used to the controls and refocus your eyes from the painfully blurry graphics.
I guess the only thing this game has going for it is the atmosphere. You fight your way through gothic castles and dungeons while taking on dragons, Dracula, and the brides of Dracula.
It’s good for a single playthrough but not much more. The art is worth admiring though.
13. The Immortal
In this action-adventure game, you play as a wizard who is searching for his mentor who is apparently lost deep within the Labyrinth of Eternity.
Sounds menacing, right?
So, you undertake a somewhat slow descent into the dungeon to find your master, receiving exposition during your infrequent rests. You dodge traps, fight enemies, and solve puzzles on the way to your master.
The level art in this game makes it spooky enough to qualify for Halloween, but it’s really the story that gives it the darkest turn.
When you find your master, you discover that he is only using you to kill his last enemy, a dragon that torched his whole city in vengeance for the sorcerer doing the same to him years before.
You were going to be a human sacrifice by someone that trained you for years. That’s pretty dark.
It doesn’t go down that way, though. All in all, the game isn’t great, but it has a creepy story and atmosphere that makes it stand out on this list.
Final Thoughts on the Best Halloween Games on Sega Genesis
We’ve taken a look at a bunch of spooky Sega Genesis games for the Halloween season. Whether you can look in your collection and play them or you need to emulate them instead, there’s a whole world of scary fun waiting to happen.
What’d I miss? What are some games you wouldn’t play at night? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!