Following up on the recent Arcane Arcade coverage of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for the Atari 2600 (which you can find here) we now get to take a look at the other infamous slasher-based video game for the Atari. Halloween was released the same year (1983) as Chain Saw, and both games also shared a developer and publisher, Wizard Video. So, would Halloween get a better shot at being memorable, or would it just be another abomination when compared to the source material?
Sadly, not in the slightest. In retrospect, the only notable thing that The Texas Chain Saw Massacre had going for it as a game was that it was one of the few games that let you play as the slasher. Unfortunately for the other video games based on classic horror flicks, we are stuck playing on the side of good. In the case of Halloween we are playing as what is meant to clearly be Laurie Strode, protecting the children from the maniacal Michael Myers. That is literally the basis of the entire game. You run through room after room while an Atari-ized version of John Carpenter’s iconic theme plays anything Myers is on the screen.
Being an Atari game, there really isn’t much to the game itself. Everytime you save one of the children, you earn points. The random thing about it is that for every save you make, you receive the completely odd number of 675 points. Why 675? Your guess is as good as mine. One of the most noticeable things about the game is that when Michael Myers gets to you are decapitated by his butcher knife. The graphics for this are quite amusing, as two little blood spurts rise up from the decapitated body.
There is also a way for you to attack Myers, using what appears to be a night stick, but given that this is Atari it really could be anything.
Overall, the Atari 2600 Halloween game is nothing more than a novelty. If you are able to get more than 10 minutes of enjoyability from the game then consider that a win. Between the constant iconic theme blasting through the television, and the limited playability, Halloween is definitely a game made for collectors, and outside of having the game on your shelf to prove yourself a hardened horror nerd, there is really no point in bothering with the game.
Stay tuned as the next Arcane Arcade review will be moving forward into the 8 bit era, as we will revisit both Friday The 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street on the NES. Wish me luck, as I am sure you are all aware, both games are considered to be some of the worst games of all-time.