LINKS TO THE PORT MANTEAU OF HORROR

Monday, July 16, 2012

8 BITS FROM HELL: Now You're Playing with HORROR!!!



There is a contingent among the horror loving populace of the realm that adores 8-bit graphics. You can count me among the members of this contingent having cut my teeth on the beloved big gray box known as the Nintendo Entertainment System or NES to those who have romanced this sweet box to a Marvin Gaye tune or two.  What might be obvious to a few of us is that Nintendo has never been on the forefront of horror gaming. While there have been a limited number of releases that specifically cater to our horror fetish, few are of sufficient quality to mention with n gamer company. When one wants horror gaming the NES simply won’t do as is the case with the various successors to platform even though one could argue that Zombies Ate My Neighbors is one of the most playable, good spirited, camp horror games in history… outliers aside... This has left we, the contingent, feeling abandoned by our great teacher, mother, secret lover, the NES.








 There are only so many times one can feel satisfied with beating Ghosts and Goblins, Castlevania, Simon’s Quest and Dracula’s Curse. We like variety. Purists will throw out the Jaws, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street release for our 8-bit system of choice. These games, while having certain nostalgic appeal, do not come close to the quality of Castlevania and certainly do not offer a horror related experience that is derived from the movies from which they derive their stories. Fester’s Quest has game play that makes you want to end your life via Mountain Dew asphyxiation even if it does have kick ass music. In my research for this article I even came across a few games that had horror content but zero availability or had good Sci-Fi crossover potential. Horror nerds want pure horror gaming and while the Nintendo Entertainment System may be a bit antiquated, it continues to be adored and played by many a horror fan. 



Where does that bring us? Well, since it’s Italian Horror Week we wanted to bring you something special. 8-Bit art has re-surfaced as a popular artistic style all be it still somewhat underground. This offers us the chance to rewrite history or at least pretend like we have a say in the games we play… if the licensing worked out as WE would have had it work out. If the game developers had OUR best interests in mind. 


Below are just sampling of games that “might have been”. Since it is Italian Horror Week they are Italian Horror Games complete with game play instructions, plot and title screen courtesy of Frank Browning henceforth to be named the 8-Bit Wizard Master. Mr. Browning hails from the great state of West Virginia and has a history in product art design. Most recently he has been seen around FaceBook posting his fine adaptations of stills from many of our beloved horror and sci-fi favorites of the 1980’s (see the end of the article for a gallery of Frank’s work). Frank has also done some work from the best damn horror blog on the web, Freddy in Space. His work is inspiring. His artistic intuition is spot on. He’s a great guy, and I’m glad to call him my friend. Make sure you send some project work his way. Contact info is at the bottom of the article.



And now… let the games… BEGIN(Somebody call Fred Savage and Jenny Lewis on the phone). We will begin with our featured game ZOMBIE. Mr. Browning and I put together some interesting material for this one. Make sure to enjoy the preview of the game including 8-Bits of glorious everything from screen shots to music to "animation".


ZOMBIE


From the manual:






Thank you for selecting the Nintendo Entertainment System’s ZOMBIE



GAME SELECTION

1. Insert the ZOMBIE cartridge and turn on the Nintendo machine. The story of Zombie will begin. If you would like to skip the story, press START.

2. The ZOMBIE title screen should be on the screen. Use SELECT to choose the appropriate game and mode desired. Options are 1 PLAYER GAME A, 1 PLAYER GAME B, 2 PLAYER VS MODE AND 1 PLAYER SHARK MODE.

3. You must now choose START to begin the game.

OBJECT OF THE GAME/GAME DESCRIPTION

A Zombie is found aboard a boat off the New York coast which belongs to do a famous scientist. Peter West,a journalist, travels to the Antilles with Ann, the daughter of the scientist. On the way, they meet with Brian, an ethnologist, and Susan. When they arrive at Matul Island, they find Dr. Menard, and discover a terrifying disease which is turning the Islanders into horrifying Zombies which devour human flesh and seem indestructible.

As Peter West your job is to help destroy the zombie hordes before they can leave the island. The adventure begins in New York City where you must fight the few zombies that have found American soil. With the help of your sidekick, Ann, you make your way to Zombie Island to battle the undead and Dr. Menard himself. The human race’s fate is in your hands.

CONTROLLING PETER WEST

Pushing UPDOWNRIGHT or LEFT on the controller moves Peter West up, down, right or left on the screen as if you are looking down on him from above.

The A button is for using your primary weapon.

The B button is for using your secondary weapon or talking to villagers.

The START button is bring up the weapon selection menu. Weapons include fire, shotgun, hand gun, blow torch and bomb. Secondary weapons including boomerang, lantern and camera.



GAME PLAY MODES

1 PLAYER GAME A is game play as Peter West. The Player interacts in both New York City and on the Zombie Island in an attempt to kill Dr. Menard and stop the zombies.

1 PLAYER GAME B does not require the player to finish the game in a linear fashion as would be accomplished in 1 PLAYER GAME A. In Game B, the objective is to kill the most zombies in a fixed period of the players choosing. Difficult levels range: ROMEROLENZI and FUCLI MODES. The user begins with all weapons obtained. Hi Scores are displayed on the Game Menu.

2 PLAYER VS MODE pits two players against each other. Player can fight as a zombie, Peter West, Dr. Menard or Ann Menard. ). For this mode please see section SPECIAL MODE CONTROLS as game player differs from GAME A or GAME B and has the characters moving side to side.

1 PLAYER SHARK MODE pits Zombie versus Shark in an epic underwater battle. SHARK MODE comes equipped with two different music selection modes (The music from Cruel Jaws or the traditional Fabio Frizzi Zombie score). For this mode please see section SPECIAL MODE CONTROLS as game player differs from GAME A or GAME B and has the characters moving side to side and swimming.



ANTRHOPOPHAGUS



From the manual:

Thank you for selecting the Nintendo Entertainment System Anthropophagus Limited Edition

GAME SELECTION

1. Insert the ANTRHOPOPHAGUS cartridge and turn on the Nintendo machine. The story of Anthropophagus will begin. If you would like to skip the story, press START.

2. The ANTHROPOPHAGUS title screen should be on the screen. Use SELECT to choose the number of players and difficultly level. Choose 1 PLAYER EASY MODE, 2 PLAYER EASY MODE OR 2 PLAYER VIDEO NASTY MODE

*WARNING: Video Nasty Mode may be illegal in some countries of origin. Please contact your bureau of trade and taxation to find out if this is a legal game mode for your location.

3. You must now choose to START or enter a PASSWORD. Press START to begin the game. Enter a PASSWORD per manual instructions to continue with that selection.

OBJECT OF THE GAME/GAME DESCRIPTION

A group of tourists become stranded on an uninhabited island where they are stalked by an insane, violent, and grotesque killer that slaughtered the town's former residents.

As a member of the tourist group, you must fight against a cannibalistic killer who’s only mission is to eat your entire party or dismember them trying. Your goal is to get off the island and save as many as you can. The Anthropophagus and his ghoulish henchman of cannibalized victims stand in your way.

CONTROLLING THE TOURIST

Pushing RIGHT or LEFT on the controller moves the Tourist right and left. This works even when he is jumping or falling. Remember this! It is a very important feature.

UP and DOWN are used for climbing up and down ladders. Anytime the pad is pushed UP and the Tourist is over a ladder, he will immediately start climbing.

The A button is used for jumping.

The B button is for attacking and will use any weapon selected in the START menu.

The START button is used for changing weapons. You have weapons selections of gun, poker, board or rope.


VIDEO NASTY MODE

While in Video Nasty Mode game play becomes more difficult. Anthropophagus will attack more violently and there will be an increased level of blood. Your energy level will be reduced more with each attack then if playing in EASY mode. Also, note that there are occasional sequences involving potential sexual situations in this mode. NOT FOR CHILDREN 18 AND UNDER.

SUSPIRIA


From the manual:

Thank you for selecting Nintendo Entertainment Sytem’s DARIO ARGENTO’S SUSPIRIA: ITALIAN HORROR WEEK EDITION

GAME SELECTION


1. Insert the SUSPIRIA cartridge and turn on the Nintendo machine. The story of Suspiria will begin. If you would like to skip the story, press START.

2. The SUSPIRIA title screen should be on the screen. Use SELECT to choose START, 2 CONTINUE OR WITCH MODE

3. You must now choose to START to begin game play from the beginning. Select CONTINUE to select a saved game from a list of saved games under the player assigned name. Select Witch Mode to play the game in simulated Technicolor in anaglyphic 3-D (Two sets of green and purple anaglyphic glasses included with purchase).

OBJECT OF THE GAME/GAME DESCRIPTION

As the newcomer to a fancy ballet academy, Suzy, you must search for clues to uncover the mystery of several student deaths. When you come to realize that the staff of the school are actually a coven of witches bent on chaos and destruction you begin to fight back using weapons at your disposal and attempting to uncover clues as to how to defeat the coven leader and end the siege on the school and the world.

As Suzy your job is to free any remaining ballet students and collect their hints as to how you might destroy the leader of the coven, Helena Markos. Also, you are tasked with reassembling a special knife of supreme craftsmanship and importance although Suzy is unaware of why it is important.

CONTROLLING SUZY BANYON

Pushing RIGHT or LEFT on the controller moves the Suzy right and left.

UP and DOWN are used for climbing staircases. Anytime the pad is pushed UP and the Suzy is over staircase, she will immediately start climbing.

The A button is used for jumping.

The B button is for attacking, using detective instruments and will use any weapon selected in the START menu.

The START button is used for changing between weapons and detective instruments. Weapons include a selection of knives (refer to WEAPONS), rope and spell casting. Detective instruments include a magnifying glass, journal and various books to be collected along the journey.

ENDING

*NOTE: Suspiria comes equipped with three separate endings in which you battle Helen Markos based on game play and score. These are referred to as THE THREE MOTHERS endings. While each one has its own special look and feel they are referred to as SUSPIRIA ENDING, INFERNO ENDING AND MOTHER OF TEARS ENDING.


HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD



From the manual:

Thank you for selecting the Nintendo Entertainment System’s HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD.


GAME SELECTION

1. Insert the HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD cartridge and turn on the Nintendo machine. The story of Hell of the Living Dead will begin. If you would like to skip the story, press START.

2. The HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD title screen should be on the screen. Use SELECT to choose the number of players and difficultly level. Choose between NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIES MODE and 2 PLAYER CO-OP SURVIVAL MODE.

OBJECT OF THE GAME/GAME DESCRIPTION

After a chemical leak at the Hope Centre in Papua New Guinea (an organization devoted to feeding underdeveloped countries) turns its staff into flesh-eating zombies, a four-man commando squad led by Mike London are sent to investigate. They run into a TV news crew led by celebrity reporter Lia, who are after the same story, but when they discover that the entire country has been overrun by zombies, what are the chances of them getting the message across? Unlike most zombie films, this actually tries to make a serious point - that if we don't feed the Third World, they'll come and feed on us!

As Mike London your mission is to stop the zombies from leaving the third world while feeding the native people of Papua New Guinea. The ultimate mission is to shut down the Hope Centre, the epicenter of the zombie outbreak run by seemingly charitable individuals who are actually trying to beef up corporate profits.

CONTROLLING MIKE LONDON

Pushing RIGHT or LEFT on the controller moves Mike London right and left.

UP and DOWN are used for climbing up and down ladders. Anytime the pad is pushed UP and the Mike London is over a ladder, he will immediately start climbing.

The A button is used for jumping.

The B button is for attacking and will use any weapon selected in the START menu.

The START button is used for changing weapons. You have weapons selections of gun, baseball bat, chemical bomb, radiation suit, litmus paper, food, tear gas or raft.


GAME PLAY MODES

NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIES MODE is a mode that takes the player through various levels of adventure culminating in a battle with the Hope Centre and the growing mass of zombies.

2 PLAYER CO-OP SURVIVAL MODE is a team player mode in which each player is given a player selected number of locals to defend from the zombies. Each player must keep his locals from being transformed into zombies by preventing any zombies from touching his group. The winner is the team that has the most non-zombie, living locals left at the end of a pre-selected time from the SURVIVAL MODE MENU.

DEEP RED


From the manual:

Thank you for selecting the Nintendo Entertainment System’s Dario Argento’s Deep Red

GAME SELECTION

1. Insert the DEEP RED cartridge and turn on the Nintendo machine. The story of the Hatchet Murders will begin. If you would like to skip the story, press START.

2. The DEEP RED title screen should be on the screen. Use SELECT to play as the Musician or as the Reporter. There is also a SURVIVAL MODE for experienced players.

3. You must now choose to START or enter a PASSWORD. Press START to begin the game. Enter a PASSWORD per manual instructions to continue with that selection.

OBJECT OF THE GAME/GAME DESCRIPTION

A musician witnesses the murder of a famous psychic, and then teams up with a feisty reporter to find the killer while evading attempts on their lives by the unseen killer bent on keeping a dark secret buried.

As either a musician or as reporter it is your job to discover who is behind the murders while learning collecting notes from the killer’s signature murder music which can open doors, uncover secrets and may lead to the murderer. Will the hatchet murders stop?

CONTROLLING THE MUSICIAN/REPORTER

Pushing RIGHT or LEFT on the controller moves the Musician/Reporter right and left.

UP and DOWN are used for climbing up and down stairs. Anytime the pad is pushed UP and the Musician/Reporter is over a staircase, he will immediately start climbing.

The A button is used for jumping.

The B button is for attacking and will use any weapon selected in the START menu.

The START button is used for changing weapons and items. Weapons include a knife, hatchet and a recorder to play notes. These notes will be collected throughout the game.

*Note that each player option, Musician or Reporter, have a different skill set and proficiency that will aid the player in uncovering the killer.

SURVIVAL MODE

SURIVAL MODE is a game in which the player must test his musical proficiency against the killer. The killer will play notes and the player must match them exactly. The pattern increases and will vary becoming quite difficult. The player must outlast the killer and match every note in order to survive the challenge.


CITY OF THE WALKING DEAD


From the manual:

Thank you for selecting the Nintendo Entertainment System’s City of the Walking Dead: Nightmare City Edition


GAME SELECTION

1. Insert the CITY OF THE WALKING DEAD cartridge and turn on the Nintendo machine. The story of Nightmare City will begin. If you would like to skip the story, press START.

2. The CITY OF THE WALKING DEAD title screen should be on the screen. Use SELECT to choose the between NEW GAME, CONTINUE or OPTIONS.

3. If you have selected NEW GAME you will immediately begin playing from the beginning of the game. Selecting CONTINUE will prompt you to complete a password in order to continue at a saved point in the game. OPTIONS provides additional game play modifications such as level difficulty, playing as the radioactive undead rather than playing as Dean Miller and settings for the speed and ferocity of the attackers.


OBJECT OF THE GAME/GAME DESCRIPTION

An airplane exposed to radiation lands, and blood drinking, poisoned undead gang emerges armed with knives, guns and teeth! They go on a rampage slicing, dicing, and biting their way across the Italian countryside.

As Dean Miller, investigative reporter, your job is to save your wife and the entire nation of Italy from the radiation infected army. The country and indeed the world wait on your every action. Spread the word of the impending attack by the unknown army and fight them off by any means necessary.

CONTROLLING DEAN MILLER

Pushing RIGHT or LEFT on the controller moves the Dean Miller right and left.

UP and DOWN are used for climbing up and down ladders. Anytime the pad is pushed UP and the Dean Miller is over a ladder, he will immediately start climbing.

The A button is used for jumping.

The B button is for attacking and will use any weapon selected in the START menu.

The START button is used for changing weapons. You have weapons selections of gun, Molotov cocktail, camera or machine gun or hatchet.

OPTIONS MENU

Under the OPTIONS screen after the START menu the player must choose responses to the following parameters:


-RADIOACTIVE ZOMBIE FEROCITY Level 1-10

-RADIOACTIVE ZOMBIE SPEED Level 1-10

-PLAYER MODE: Dean Miller, Radioactive Zombie or Military Personnel

-NIGHTMARE CITY OR CITY OF THE WALKING DEAD MODENIGHTMARE CITY MODE is the first outbreak of the radioactive zombies. CITY OF THE WALKING DEAD MODE is the post-dream version of the radioactive zombie attack. Levels are different in each board and endings are different.

-FRANCO NERO MODE, HUGO STIGLITZ MODE or FABIO TESTI MODE – the appearance of Dean Miller will changed based on selection as well as proficiency with each weapon. Language spoken by the character will also change.

BLACK CAT


From the manual:

Thank you for selecting the Nintendo Entertainment System Black Cat

GAME SELECTION

1. Insert the BLACK CAT cartridge and turn on the Nintendo machine. The story of Black Cat will begin. If you would like to skip the story, press START.

2. The BLACK CAT title screen should be on the screen. Use SELECT to choose from either PSYCHIC MODE, CAT MODE OR PHOTOGRAPHER MODE.

OBJECT OF THE GAME/GAME DESCRIPTION

Robert Miles is a psychic that can communicate with the dead. He also has the ability to control the mind of his cat (who incidentally is black). He uses the cat to take vengeance upon his enemies. A photographer who happens to be working for the local constables begins to notice cat scratches on some of the accident victims that are turning up. She pays a visit to Magee (kitty just happens to be present) and conveys her suspicions of the cat's involvement in some of the local deaths. Kitty doesn't like this at all, and it's his turn to control the mind of owner Magee to take it's vengeance out.

Play in PSYCHIC, PHOTOGRAPHER or CAT MODE and either try to solve the ongoing murders or assist in the killing. The choice is yours but the consequences are dire.

CONTROLLING THE PHOTOGRAPHER OR PSYCHIC

Pushing RIGHT or LEFT on the controller moves the Photographer/Psychic right and left. This works even when he is jumping or falling.

UP and DOWN are used for climbing up and down ladders. Anytime the pad is pushed UP and the Tourist is over a ladder, he will immediately start climbing.

The A button is used for using your camera as the Photographer or Psychic Powers to control the cat as the Psychic.

The B button is for attacking as the Photographer using a knife or gun depending on which you pick up. For the Psychic, the B button allows you to use psychic force to push objects or destroy enemies.

The START button is used for pausing. The SELECT button looks into the next game board if you are the Psychic or brings up a selection of images taken with the camera as the Photographer.

CONTROLLING THE CAT

Pushing RIGHT or LEFT on the controller moves the Cat right and left. This works even when he is jumping or falling.

UP and DOWN are used for jumping or crouching respectively.

The A button is used for the berserker cat attack.

The B button is for attacking using claws.

The START button is used for pausing. The SELECT button calls upon the Psychic to clear out all the enemies on the board which can only be done once per level.

EYEBALL


From the manual:

Thank you for selecting the Nintendo Entertainment System Umberto Lenzi’s EYEBALL

GAME SELECTION

1. Insert the EYEBALL cartridge and turn on the Nintendo machine.

2. The EYEBALL title screen should be on the screen. Use SELECT to choose START to begin a new game or CONTINUE to enter a password to continue a previous game.

OBJECT OF THE GAME/GAME DESCRIPTION

A Killer in red cape and hood is killing off tourists on a tour bus by gouging out their eyeballs.

In EYEBALL you are the killer. You collect the eyeballs of your victims for points and outsmart the police at every turn. Your goal is to not get caught and to satiate your homicidal tendencies.

CONTROLLING THE RED CAPE KILLER

Pushing RIGHT or LEFT on the controller moves the Red Cape Killer right and left. This works even when he is jumping or falling.

UP and DOWN are used for climbing up and down ladders. Anytime the pad is pushed UP and the Red Cape Killer is over a ladder, he will immediately start climbing.

The A button is used for jumping.

The B button is for attacking and will use any weapon selected in the START menu.

The START button is used for changing weapons. You have weapons selections of knife, melon baller, fingers, drill or corkscrew.



Enjoy a gallery of Frank Browning other work HERE and enjoy the images below. Some of these were used to generate the title screens for the games above and others are simply labors of love by a fan of the 8-bit art and horror movie. We’re out there. We have the numbers. We are ready to believe you!

Contact Frank Browning with project ideas HERE.

ITALIAN HORROR WEEK GALLERY OF FRANK BROWNING'S WORK:









and my personal favorite...


ABOUT THE VISUAL ARTIST, FRANK BROWNING:

Born and raised in southern West Virginia, Frank Browning's passion for art developed at a very young age.. He would spend time recreating his favorite images from his beloved Marvel comic books while "Empire Strikes Back" played in the background. He continued to develop his talent throughout high school, then took that talent to college. He graduated from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, with a bachelor's in graphic design.

Frank has a broad range of talent and has designed for the likes of Spencer's, Hot Topic, FYE, HBO, Capcom, Epic Games, DC, Warner Brothers, and Jim Hensen Company, to name a few. Many of his designs can still be found in Spencer's stores today.

Frank currently works for the West Virginia Department of Education and enjoys doing freelance design projects. He loves all things horror, Star Wars, and Marvel, but his favorite thing is spending time with his wife and 6 week old son.

ABOUT THE MUSICAL ARTIST, SEAN O’CONNOR:

While it is not entirely certain from what time or space the creator of our 8 Bit audio clip comes from one thing is for certain, he was born with a light gun in his hand. The Konami code actually appears in his DNA and we hope that someday... he gets his Gameboy.  Sea O'Connor is an exceptionally talented musician and friend who has performed in such musical acts as Leema Mountain, Me Hate Me and Melatonin. Feel free to check out his music HERE and support him like you would any set of finely crafted breasts. We hope to work with Sean on future 8-Bit renditions of the movies you love, the games you deserve on the system that was made specifically for people who like to stay up all night long with a 3 liter bottle of Mountain Dew and a bag of Cheese Puffs.





Game Play, Ranting, Uprisings and poor use of punctuation and terror specific non-8-Bit styling by JIMMY TERROR.


Let's give these guys a big round of applause for their creative genius!!! 


-Dr. TERROR

8 comments:

  1. Someone who programs emulators needs to get on these NOW!

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  2. I love Fester's Quest and Friday the 13th for the NES!

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  3. I love their music. What did tou think of the faux game ZOMBIE?

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  4. Absolutely perfect. All of it. The music and graphics for the Zombie game are incredible. This whole post made me smile. Thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Amazing. Nothing short of amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Inspiring and creative work!! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete