Halloween seems like the perfect time to partake in a spooky video game. Previously, we discussed five horror-based games that will leave you feeling unnerved, but now it’s time to take it back to the old-school, with five games that will definitely get you in the Halloween spirit without necessarily scaring you silly.
So get out your retro systems and prepare to power on, because these five games have plenty of ghouls and demons to keep you satisfied.
Monster In My Pocket (Konami)
Based on the popular toy line of the same name, Konami’s Monster In My Pocket is an entertaining side-scrolling action game where you choose between a vampire and a Frankenstein-ish monster as they fight against the vicious Warlock and his hench-lings, including Spring Heeled Jack, Bigfoot, the Kraken, Gremlin, and more. The game features most of the staples you’d come to expect from a platforming adventure, including boss battles, segments where you’ll need to avoid obstacles (like cans rolling down the street), and interesting level designs that take place in normal locales, such as bathrooms or alleyways. On top of that, the soundtrack is great; probably one of the best Konami composed in the NES days. It’s definitely worth adding to your retro collection.
Monster Party (NES)
Back in 1989, Bandai published a cool little platforming game for the NES called Monster Quest, which teams together a young kid, Mark, and a winged monster named Bert. After a bit of convincing, the two team up to take on a number of bosses based on horror lore, including giant spiders, a dragon, zombies, a mummy, and even a monster plant. Though the gameplay takes some getting used to, being able to select between two different characters with unique powers (Mark with his bat, Bert with fire-shooting capability) adds some good replay value to the title. Plus, it also has some pretty good moments of humor, including one plant that apologizes for being dead. (Note: the Japanese version was supposedly a lot darker, with less lighthearted moments.) If you’re up for a monstrously good time, this cartridge is worth hunting down.
Demon’s Crest (SNES)
On the heels of its Ghouls ‘n Ghosts trilogy, Capcom opted to release a spiritual successor to its Gargoyles Quest series, dubbed Demon’s Crest. In it, players take control of Firebrand, a fire-spitting demon who takes on the diabolical mission of attempting to retrieve a series of powerful Crests. The journey is anything but easy, though, as a number of enemies step up to get in his way, opting to get the power of the Crests for themselves. The game features a brilliant cinematic style that matches (and in some ways, surpasses) the previous Ghouls games, along with a killer SNES soundtrack. Crest also benefits from a strong combination of side-scrolling action and role-playing elements as you visit a number of towns in the 3D world. This is one Demon that’ll make your Halloween special. (You can download it now on the Wii U eShop channel for a pretty cheap price, if you can’t find the original game.)
Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (Sega Genesis)
At a time when Sega was looking to establish a solid library of games for its Sega Genesis console, it took one game to get the attention of gamers–a solid port of the Capcom arcade game Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. In it, Arthur, a heroic knight finds himself caught up in a demon invasion in order to rescue his beloved Princess Prin Prin. He ventures through a series of stages, taking on everything from devastating sand pits to fire demons to win her back. Featuring a bevy of super-powered armor and additional weaponry, the game also has the usual challenge level; you’ll have to play through it twice to truly beat it. For good measure, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts also gets a recommendation, though it’s definitely much, much harder. At least the music’s awesome.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES, Genesis)
One of the better “sleeper” hits from the SNES era, Zombies Ate My Neighbors is easily a favorite with the Halloween crowd. You play one of two brave young souls as they fight their way through a series of levels, taking on everything from aliens to demon dolls (with the creepiest laugh ever) as they try to save every innocent person they come across. With just the right vibe between comedy and horror, the game also serves as a great gaming experience for two players, as it wonderfully supports co-op. No matter if you go for the SNES or Sega Genesis version, you’ll find that these Zombies are right up your alley.
BONUS:Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PlayStation)
There’s always room for one more! At one point in time, Konami opted to make a drastic change to its Castlevania formula, opting for an open-world approach where players could venture through Dracula’s enormous castle as his son, Alucard. While the change was jarring for some, it eventually paid off, creating one of the most renowned games in the series to date. Featuring a fantastic music score by Michiru Yamane, excellent 2D visuals, and deep gameplay that challenged at every turn, it became an instant hit for years to come. Even with its corny dialogue (“What is a man?! A miserable little pile of secrets!”), it still managed to win us over.
Cover image source: Demon’s Crest/Nintendo