Halloween Game Reviews
Here you will find my brief reviews of spooky, mysterious games that are great to play in October around Halloween. Each game is rated on a scale of 1 to 10. A rating of 9-10 indicates a great game; 7-8 is a good game; 5-6 is a mediocre game; 3-4 is a poor game; and 1-2 is a horrible game. Some reviews also contain links to gameplay videos. Links to additional Halloween videos and other treats can be found at the bottom of the page.
7
This action game seems to have been modeled after the Castlevania series. Armed with a sword, you make your way through various side-scrolling levels, fighting off zombies and other creatures along the way. There are a few areas where you'll need to make some tricky jumps, but as in most games of this type, practice makes perfect. There is no password or save feature, but the game is short enough that it doesn't really need one. The graphics are about average, but much of the music is quite good. Bram Stoker's Dracula is an enjoyable platformer, but it can't compare to most Castlevania games.
8
Simon Belmont takes on the task of defeating Dracula in this platformer. The player is armed with only a whip at the start, but a secondary weapon (such as an axe, dagger, boomerang, etc.) can be picked up along the way. You must fight through 18 levels filled with skeletons, bats, zombies, ghosts, and other creatures. The game is quite challenging, and the last few levels can be brutal. The graphics and sound are good (particularly the music), and the controls work well for the most part. However, being near a stairway seems to mess things up a bit; it's far too easy to accidentally go up or down the stairs. And getting hit by an enemy sends you flying backwards, which can often result in death if you're on a small platform at the time. Those deaths feel cheap, and it can be frustrating in certain areas of the game. However, Castlevania is still quite an enjoyable game and it's easy to see how it went on to spawn countless sequels.

Note: There are two versions of this game cartridge, one with five screws on the back and one with three screws. The 5-screw version is glitchy and often freezes up in later levels.

9
In this 2D platformer, you play as Trevor Belmont. Armed with a whip, you must fight off many monsters on your quest to defeat Dracula. Three helper spirits will offer to join you: Grant, Syfa, and Alucard. You can take one of them with you and you can switch between that character and Trevor at any time. Each character has special abilities. For example, Alucard can turn into a bat and fly; Syfa can use magic; and Grant (my personal favorite) can climb walls to take shortcuts or reach hidden items. He also has improved jumping controls. Castlevania III has branching paths: At several points in the game, you can choose which route to take. The game has excellent graphics and sound, and the control is also very good. I occasionally had trouble missing a set of stairs and falling, but you quickly learn to press "up" on the control pad a bit early to compensate. Some stages are very challenging and can be quite frustrating. But the game is also a whole lot of fun. Dracula's Curse is clearly the best of the three NES Castlevania games, and it's also one of the best Castlevania games ever.

View Gameplay Video

7
This is a side-scrolling action game from Konami. You can play as one of two characters: John Morris, who uses a whip, or Eric Lecarde, who uses a spear. You'll journey through six levels as you make your way across Europe, leading up to a final battle with Dracula. Unfortunately, the music is a bit disappointing when compared to other games in the series. Bloodlines isn't the best Castlevania game ever made, but it's still a quality game.
8
This first GBA Castlevania game is a platform adventure game modeled after Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on PlayStation. It features Metroid style exploration in addition to the usual whip-slinging action. A new DSS (Dual Set-up System) feature lets you collect cards from enemies and combine them to enhance your abilities in a variety of ways. They'll come in handy too, because Circle of the Moon is a challenging game. Fortunately, it's also a lot of fun to play. It's also worth mentioning that the music is top-notch, although much of it is recycled from previous Castlevania games.
6
This is an action/platform game from Konami. It has a nice feature that lets you pick up your previous weapon if you've accidentally grabbed the wrong one, and the music is pretty good (as it is in most Castlevania games). However, the control isn't great and it just isn't very fun. It's not a bad game, but it doesn't measure up when compared to the other games in the series.
10
This is an excellent adventure game from Konami. The game is set up is much like Super Metroid; lots of exploration and backtracking will be required. You'll gain new abilities throughout the game, including the power to change into a bat, a wolf, or mist. Those forms can allow you to reach new areas that were previously inaccessible. The game also has many role-playing elements such as weapons and armor that can be bought and equipped. The control is near-perfect and the music is outstanding. Symphony of the Night is one of the best PlayStation games ever made, and it's also one of the best Castlevania games ever.
6
This is a downloadable WiiWare game available only in the online Wii Shop. This 2D platformer is loosely based on Castlevania: The Adventure for the original Game Boy. As Christopher Belmont, you use your whip (and other secondary weapons) on your quest to defeat Dracula. The game features only six levels, but those levels are quite long. The first couple of levels are easy, but then the typical Castlevania challenge kicks in...including cheap hits. Unfortunately, this game does not have a save or password feature. The control is solid for the most part, but there are some minor annoyances in some later levels. Your character is unable to even make tiny steps up (unless a stairway is there) and some ledges are placed so close together that you can't directly jump from one to the next if you're using the classic player style option. One nice thing is a power-up that lets you shoot fireballs from your whip. Unfortunately, the ability wears off after a few seconds. The game supports the classic controller, but it doesn't let you map the special weapons to a third button! You still have to press up and attack. The music is a little disappointing by Castlevania standards, and the same could be said of the gameplay. Overall, Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth is just mediocre. Also, the subpar manual doesn't describe what the "player style" option does; it affects your jumping style.
10
Devil's Crush is the best video pinball game I've ever played. It has a mild horror theme with skulls, dragons, sorcerers, skeletons, and other monsters throughout. The table is three screens high and there are some two dozen targets to shoot for. There are opportunities for bonus points, extra balls, multipliers, and guards that keep you from losing a ball. There are also six different bonus stages--and most of them are quite enjoyable. The graphics and sound are great, and you can save your game either with a password or with the back-up memory (if you have the right hardware). The ball physics may not be extremely realistic, as the ball will do some odd things occasionally. But Devil's Crush is just so fun that it's worth playing over and over again.

View Gameplay Video

10
This is a classic first-person shooter from id Software. You use a variety of guns (including the ultimate BFG-9000) to blast imps and other enemies as you flip switches, collect keys, and search for the exit of each level. It's extremely fun and addictive whether played alone or deathmatching against a friend. Doom is one of my favorite games of all-time.

View Gameplay Video

10
This is the PlayStation version of the classic first-person shooter Doom. In most respects, it is better than the excellent Jaguar version. In addition to the standard Doom levels, this version also has levels from Doom II. The control is pretty good, and the ability to use the L and R buttons for strafing works quite well. You can configure the controls any way you want, but you can't save the changes you've made. Unfortunately, this game doesn't use the memory card for saving games. To play a certain level, you must first input its ten-letter password; you can't just continue where you left off like you could in the Jaguar version. But minor flaws aside, Doom is a masterpiece.
8
While Doom 64 has similar gameplay to other early Doom games, it has its own unique levels and other features. It does have its share of problems, including some areas of the game that are excessively dark. It also lacks a two-player option. But overall, it is a fun game. It runs fast and smoothly, has eerie music and sound effects, and includes tons of demon-blasting action.
6
This is a role-playing/text adventure game in which you play the role of Jonathan Harker. As you explore Dracula's mansion, you'll use text-based commands to open doors, manipulate objects, and even talk to Dracula himself. The game intentionally lacks color, with sepia tone graphics. That, along with appropriately creepy music, provides a dark, spooky atmosphere that really fits the theme. At times, it will be unclear how to proceed in the game, but it's crucial to examine every little detail that you come across. Some items may seem useless at first, but they can be used in conjunction with something else later on. The game lacks a save feature, which is disappointing even though the game is relatively short. It also lacks replay value, but it is an enjoyable adventure while it lasts.
7
In this adventure game, you'll journey into a haunted house in search of three pieces of a magic urn. The object is to find and assemble the urn and escape out the front door before losing all of your nine lives. Most of the action will take place in the dark, so you'll need to light a match to help you see. If you can find the magic scepter hidden in the mansion, you'll be protected from enemies (ghosts, tarantulas, and bats). There will also be a master key tucked away in one of the rooms, and it will open any unlocked doors you encounter. The tricky part is that you can only hold one item at a time (scepter, key, or urn). The graphics and sounds are simplistic, but the effects work well to create a spooky atmosphere: You'll hear thunder, see flashes of lightning, and hear the wind blow out your match when an enemy enters the room. There are nine variations of increasing difficulty and items are placed randomly each time. Even though the games are quite short, Haunted House is a fun game to play...especially around Halloween.

Read Blog Entry on Jeff's Gaming Blog

8
In this action/adventure game, Mario's brother Luigi explores a haunted mansion and tries to rid each room of ghosts. You use a flashlight to stun the ghosts and then a vacuum cleaner to suck them up. Puzzle elements are involved, as you must figure out how to get some ghosts to reveal their hearts before you are able to capture them. Other gadgets become available to Luigi as the game progresses, such as a "Game Boy Horror," which looks like a Game Boy, but can give Luigi tips on how to defeat certain enemies. Luigi's Mansion is a relatively short and easy game, so don't expect the depth of a Mario platformer. But the game is very fun and addictive. It also has some replay value and it's worth playing through multiple times.

View Gameplay Video

8
This spooky adventure game takes place in a giant mansion. You explore rooms, find and use items, kill zombies, and try to find the missing S.T.A.R.S. members. The graphics and atmosphere are outstanding, and the game is fun to play. But still, it has a number of flaws that keep it from greatness. The control system is counterintuitive and does not allow you to quickly move where you want to move. The fixed camera angles also cause problems; at times, you'll be trying to shoot or stab zombies you can't even see. I'm not a big fan of the inventory system, either. You can only carry eight items at a time, and you can only exchange items at certain locations.
8
This is a text-based role-playing game. You explore Castle Shadowgate as you try to solve a variety of puzzles. You will also collect a large inventory of items and magic spells, which are used to help you reach new areas. The game has outstanding music that really sets an eerie atmosphere. One annoying thing about this game is that you must continuously find new torches to stay alive. There are plenty of torches at the beginning, but they're harder to find later in the game. Also, some of the puzzles don't seem entirely logical; they can take some trial and error to figure out. Shadowgate is quite challenging, but it's also very enjoyable.
7
In this horror-themed action game, you play as a guy named Rick, who wears a hockey mask--much like Jason from Friday the 13th. Use your fists and your feet to fight through seven side-scrolling levels filled with zombies, demons, and other monsters. Some stages have additional weapons, including a two-by-four, a shotgun, and a golden cleaver. There are some challenging and frustrating parts--the womb level comes to mind--that will require some practice to beat. The hit-detection seems a bit off too, but it's not a huge problem. Splatterhouse has some gory sights, including corpses that literally spill their guts, that may not be appropriate for young players. The game is short and lacks depth, but it is enjoyable while it lasts. The spooky music adds to the atmosphere, and Splatterhouse is a good game to play around Halloween.

View Gameplay Video

9
Simon Belmont returns in this SNES action game. You can now swing your whip around freely, using it to deflect enemy attacks or to latch onto rings that let you cross large gaps. The music and sound effects are outstanding, as is the control. Fight your way through caverns and forests, up a waterfall, and into Dracula's castle. The game does suffer from some pretty serious slowdown at times, but it doesn't hurt the fun factor. Super Castlevania IV is very enjoyable; in fact, it's one of the best Castlevania games ever made. My only complaint is that it's a bit on the easy side compared to most games in the series.

View Gameplay Video

7
You play as the knight Arthur in this challenging side-scrolling action game from Capcom. You start out with just a lance as your weapon, but other weapons can be found in treasure chests throughout the game. You can also upgrade your armor along the way, and doing so will also increase the power of your weapons. In a humorous touch, taking a hit will make you lose your armor; you'll then be walking around in just your underwear! The game is pretty fun to play, but it's probably too difficult for its own good. The worst part is that you have to fight through the first seven levels twice before you can get to the final boss. Making matters worse, there is no password or save feature.

View Gameplay Video

6
This unique game is based on House of the Dead 2, but the method of gameplay is completely different. Rather than using a light gun or a regular controller, you use the Dreamcast keyboard to play. By typing the words and phrases that pop up on screen, you shoot at the zombies that relentlessly come after you. If you type fast enough, you'll defeat the zombies and move on to the next area, where more zombies attack. If you type too slowly, you're dead meat. If you're really good at typing, you'll probably breeze through this game quickly. If not, the game has tutorials to teach you how to type, and drills that help you improve your speed and accuracy. But the main game has only six short levels. Even though there are multiple game modes to try, it's really just the same six levels over and over. There's not a lot of variety or depth. And I have to point out that the voice acting is probably the worst that I've ever heard. The Typing of the Dead is a mildly fun game, but it's more of a novelty than anything.
5
This is a text adventure similar to Shadowgate and Deja Vu. This time, you find yourself in a wrecked car after driving into a tree. Your sister is missing, and the only thing to do is to venture into a nearby mansion to look for her. It isn't long before you realize the mansion is haunted. There are puzzles to solve, mazes to explore, and evil creatures to defeat. There are dozens of items you can pick up, but most of them will prove to be useless--and scrolling through pages of them is a slow process. The challenge comes from finding the right item or performing the right action for each situation, so a lot of trial and error will be necessary. There are some very annoying skull screens that serve absolutely no purpose other than to harass you and sometimes kill you for no reason at all. It's equivalent to the torches burning out in Shadowgate, but here they have no logical reason for it, so it seems pointless. Even though the haunted house theme may seem interesting, Uninvited isn't quite as captivating as you might hope.
8
In this challenging action game, you must rescue your neighbors while fighting off monsters from horror movies. Among them are zombies, vampires, werewolves, chainsaw maniacs, giant ants, UFOs, and more. You're armed with just a squirt gun at first, but other weapons and items can be picked up along the way. The game can be played alone, or two players can team up. The control setup is quite awkward if you're using a standard Genesis controller, but it's much better with Sega's six-button controller. Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a fun game, but it's slightly inferior to the SNES version in terms of graphics and sound.
8
This is a challenging overhead-view shooting game in which you must rescue your neighbors. You have to fight off horror-movie monsters including zombies, Martians, killer dolls, Frankenstein, and many others. A water gun is your main weapon, but others can be picked up along the way, ranging from tomatoes to bazookas. A two-player cooperative mode adds to the fun. It's also worth noting that much of the music in the game is excellent--it may get stuck in your head! This is a very good game to play around Halloween.

View Gameplay Video



Animal Crossing Halloween Treats

Halloween QR Codes for New Leaf and Happy Home Designer
Spooky New Leaf Dream Towns: Aika Village - Hitokui - Town of the Artist
Halloween blog entries: ACCF 2011 - ACCF 2012 - New Leaf 2013 - New Leaf 2014 - ACCF 2015

Additional Halloween Videos
Animal Crossing Halloween
Animal Crossing: City Folk Halloween
Animal Crossing: City Folk Halloween 2012
Super Mario Galaxy: Haunted Mansion
Super Mario Galaxy 2: Boo Moon Silver Stars
Super Mario World: Vanilla Ghost House
Real Giant Pumpkin Crushes Car!

Home | Privacy Policy | Disclosure