Video Games for Halloween

Zombies, witches, vampires, monsters, and other blood curdling creatures invaded pop culture centuries ago. While I’m not big on gory thrills, I am a fan of other ghoulish delights. I fill each October calendar day with some Halloween activity. With video game titles like Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ and A Vampyre Story, I have plenty of action to fill my free-time.

Count Dracula, a vampire, sorcerer, and Transylvanian nobleman, radiates confidence that even Napoleon would covet. In his 1897 novel, Bram Stoker created a charming vampire that would kiss “with a red light of triumph in his eyes.” Unlike the vampires in early folklore, Stoker’s Count Dracula’s charisma veiled his evil (attention bar flies, watch out for mates like this). More than 200 films, 1,000 novels, and an abundance of cartoons, comics, and TV programs feature Dracula. One of my favorites the NES game, Castlevania, reached North America in 1987 just one year after its release in Japan. The player controls Simon Belmont who is on a mission to defeat Dracula. Although Castlevania hails from the 8-bit era and requires strict linear game play, the opportunity to fight each boss, including Medusa, a pair of mummies, a giant bat, Frankenstein’s Monster and Igor, and the Grim Reaper provides timeless entertainment.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is another classic. I’ll admit, I’ve never read the novel, but I’m nuts for Mel Brooks’ spoof Young Frankenstein. I also enjoy the multiple platform game, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which designers modeled after the 1994 film of the same name. Frankenstein does not exude any of Dracula’s charms, but instead trudges through the streets of Ingolstadt, Bavaria, seeking revenge against his manufacturer, Victor. Ignorant of modern science, villagers believe that Frankenstein’s a monster and they attempt to kill him. The player controls Frankenstein as he walks loudly and carries a big stick to keep enemies at bay. The game incorporates simple puzzles with switches and pulleys. Take some advice from Young Frankenstein’s Igor and be sure to “walk this way” through the eerie town.

Accolade’s Elvira Mistress of the Dark is a first-person perspective combination role-playing and point-and-click adventure game based on the 1988 comedy horror film of the same title. The game play begins with events similar to those in the movie—Elvira, a sassy TV horror hostess quits her job and moves to a small town where she has inherited her great-aunt’s dilapidated home, peculiar poodle, and spell book. In the game, Elvira inadvertently resurrects her sorceress ancestor Queen Emelda the Evil, along with her several monstrous devotees.  Emelda’s minions capture the player, and then Elvira saves him. Elvira proceeds to ask him a favor—can he help her regain power? She must send Emelda back to the place she came from. Elvira’s charms nearly put Dracula to shame and with cheesy lines that only 80s popular culture could produce like “revenge is better than Christmas” a player’s guaranteed to fall under her spell.

Over the weekend, I ordered the iPhone 4S and I’ve marked its arrival date to check-out Freeverse’s action game Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on my new screen.