October 17th, Drac’s Night Out for the NES

Going into this, I had certain expectations about the games that I would be covering. There were certain games I knew I had to talk about. There were characters that I knew would come up one way or another. Frankenstein, the Mummy, Wolf-Man and Dracula were sure to make appearances, not because they are such iconic characters as much as a ton of movies, and thereby crappy licensed games, feature them. Dracula alone could probably fill the entire month himself, with an astounding 9 games being based solely on the early 90s Francis Ford Coppola directed biopic. Mobygames‘ list of games that feature Dracula currently stands at 55. Shifty-five games! As part of my presidential platform, I vow to increase educational spending, put an end to bi-partisan bickering, lower health care costs, reduce taxes, and extend the Halloween season to 55 days.

Now, I’m an old-skool Bela Legosi Dracula fan and cheesy horror flick buff, but nothing could prepare me for the wondrous recockulousness that I stumbled upon on a random emulation web site. This particular game is not contained within Mobygames extensive library, and probably for good reason. There are barely any words capable of describing how I feel about Drac’s Night Out for the original NES, so I’ll make up a new one: euphrapturedise! Never before have two seemingly unconnected things come together in such an orgy of pertinence!

Okay…I need to slow down…my heart is pounding…that last sentence makes no sense. The hyperbole is flowing like Mountain Dew Game Fuel.

Deep breath…

Phew…

Let me think… Is there any way in which Drac’s Night Out could be improved?

HOLYFUCKINGSHIT-PIZZABAND-AID! YEEEESSSSSSSS!

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Sorry.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Drac’s Night Out COULD be better, but only if Count Dracula were to be replaced with Count Duckula.

What’s the point of all this nonsense? Ol’ Drac awakens one night (Though it’s not expressly stated, I think it’s strongly inferred, mostly by me, that it is Halloween night.) to find that his Transylvanian castle has been invaded by delicious mortals hell-bent on destroying him once and for all. Not only that, they tracked mud on his new BETTAN LINJE rug from IKEA. Dr. Acula must use the various Goonies-esque booby traps that litter his castle to immobilize the humans, whom he can subsequently pierce the necks of and drink their precious Game Fuel-esque fluids, vampire-esquely. Let the humans touch you, and it’s game over. It’s a bit disconcerting when an immortal, blood sucking, hypnotist like Dracula can be easily overcome by an 80 year old Transylvanian woman in a head scarf, but, as we learned earlier, video game character head gear can be deceptively cunning. Besides traps, Dracula has one more weapon of justice with which to beat back the human hordes. Take a look at the title screen and see if you notice anything out of place.

Now look again.

Still not clear?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

What could this possibly mean? I did a double-take. Twice. If the Microsmiths had somehow managed to shoe horn an early 90s shoe fad into a game based on a 19th century vampire, they would be the most powerful force in game design the world has ever known. Then again, how could they go wrong? I mean, I love Reebok Pumps. I love Dracula. This is the game I’ve been waiting my entire life for.

The Reebok power-up lets Dracula run faster, jump higher, and look sexier than ever before. Not since the Bubble Bobble Red Shoe has a pair of footwear changed the course of a battle to the death so swiftly. Witness the power of the Pump as I execute a double-kill on a poor, unsuspecting Grandmother and her boy toy Renaldo. White men can jump, indeed, and the whiter they are, the higher they’ll go.

Unfortunately, while 10 foot jumps are possible with The Pumps, 8 foot falls are, apparently, not. My mind was blown after this one. This COUNTdown could end right now and I’d be totally satisfied. However, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to know more about Drac’s Night Out. One Google search later, and I was staring in the face of another cross promotion that sent even more shivers down my spine.


October 16th, Jack Bros. for the Virtual Boy

Who would’ve thought that the Virtual Boy would save Halloween. We have, not one, but two frightening games to review BS about for the Virtual Boy. This means that the Old Boy has a greater percentage of Halloween games than any other console in existence! We heart you Virtual Boy.
Jack Bros. for the Virtual Boy, just based on the name alone, is ripe for ridicule. However, we here at the kentdog blog, like to think that we take the high road when it comes to these kinds of things. We could talk about how the gameplay is rudimentary and boring, how the dialogue is poorly translated, and how we only played it for about two minutes. Sure, Jack Bros., is all of those things, but it is also so much more. Most of the games we’ve covered so far have had fairly obscure connections to Halloween. Monsters and ghosts are pretty standard video game fare. From Doom to Super Mario Bros., a lot of games feature macabre creatures that get translated into plastic masks and find their way to the seasonal aisle of your local Walgreens to hang between Spongebob Squarepants and a Power Ranger. It’s a rare game that fully embraces Halloween. The Halloween section of Bully was over before we had a chance to enjoy it. In an era where it’s nearly impossible to come across a broadcast of Garfield’s Halloween Special, Jack Bros. will now and forever hold a special place in my Hallowed heart.

Following Japanese Halloween tradition, the intro to Jack Bros. is long and agonizing, but it sets the stage for an epic journey rivaled only by The Adventures of Milo & Otis.

It seems that every Halloween, due to the purchase of so many miniature Snickers bars, the fabric of the universe is torn asunder, thereby allowing fairies to enter our realm and gad about the house all day like Sandy Frank.

Three brothers from different mothers, all named Jack, but with different last names, have come together for their one night of human-style debauchery. The brillgenius of naming all three of your characters Jack quickly becomes apparent. When the player chooses one of the three as his avatar, you can refer to them by name in dialogue and cut-scenes and not have to lift a finger assigning variables or using arcane GOTO commands. Jack Bros., can you do no wrong?

Like a moose on a coke-induced rampage, or Cinderella, Jack soon realizes that it’s almost midnight and if he doesn’t high tail it home, he’ll be trapped in our dimension forever. You’ll guide Jack through a series of mazes on his way back to the land of the fairies.

I’ve just realized that there’s not a whole lot of scary in this game, and even less horror. In fact, it’s kind of cute.

I hate you Jack Bros.

October 15th, Frankenstein’s Monster for the Atari 2600

Let’s say that the most horrific creature ever created were about to be unleashed on a unsuspecting public. Someone must be notified and called into action. Frankenstein’s Monster, you see, is white. Not Caucasian, mind you, I’m talking about horribly horrific bento box white and if that’s not bad enough, he’s slowly beginning to turn green. Someone must stop this agonizing creep of color from infecting the entirety of the monster. The call goes out, and our hero prepares himself. Four-foot ghosts and six-foot spiders will need to be leaped and dodged, so some sturdy American blue jeans and steel-toed brown work boots should do the trick. What type of head-gear is appropriate for monster hunting? Mario and his red cap are inseparable. Master Chief doesn’t ever take that damn helmet off. The Belmonts would appear to buck the trend, oozing machismo as they gad about topless. On closer inspection, you’ll notice that each and every one of them suffers a family curse far worse than the oblivious one. Male pattern baldness. Always the ingenious types, those Belmont’s hair pieces double as head protection of the highest order. Such is the case with the hero of Frankenstein’s Monster. On the surface, his baby blue engineer’s cap would make a lot more sense on a box of margarine, but don’t be fooled, this head piece is 100% butter.

If the big guy does become full of green, not even a iron fedora can stop his awkward stomp towards the camera.

One of Frankenstein’s Monster’s uncredited contributions to the lexicon of today’s youth is the term “bat-shit crazy”. One look at the movie below is all you need to understand how this part of the game can’t possibly be labeled as anything but.

October 3rd: Ghost Hunters for the Atari 2600

I really love Ghosthunters. Those two guys, Jason and Grant really know how to hunt some ghosts. I really think that Steve is cute and Brian is such a goof-ball! Oh, yeah, Donna is really good, too. She has such great feelings (and nice hair). This Ghosthunters game is not what I was hoping for. It’s a bit of a confusion. First of all, you control a little white guy with a red coat who travels around a grid like the Pac-man. Only he doesn’t eat it. Sometime the cubes flash and if you go to the cube, some stuff really happens! Suddenly, it’s like another world as you drive a boxy car to the place that you already went too. That’s a double-travel! You do get a chance to catch some ghosts when your driving, by catching them in your vaccuum. This is a really silly part of the game, I think. Who ever heard of catching a ghost in a vaccuum? Oh! I forgot that at the start you can buy the vaccuum, but then, there is no instruction to start the game, only confusion. You can also buy some BAIT and TRAPS. TRAPS is almost like TAPS…haha. Ha. Anyway once the not TAPS van arrives to the building, Jason or maybe Grant (the look is the same) comes out to set the ghost TAPS (haha). Once it is done, the other guy comes out to face the other direction. A ghost flies around the building and when you push the button, some silly string comes from Jason and Grant. I don’t remember that on the show. Maybe it’s like an EVP or EMP. Anyways, push the button again to try and catch the ghosts. That’s about it.

I don’t likes this game, it is not like the show, there is no Steve (so cute!), and it is not very scary, too. Really. I did take some pictures of the game, and you know what? I found some Orbs! Clearly, there is a haunting in this game.

 

A large orb follows my box car.

 

Here is an orb near the building (not the ghost, silly!)

 

Three orbs over the city…I remember, I felt cold during the city parts.

October 2nd: Ghost Manor for the Atari 2600

What can be said about Ghost Manor for the Atari 2600 that hasn’t been said before? If I were to tell you that Ghost Manor doesn’t take place inside a Manor, would you be surprised? Perhaps, after sitting down to play, and then realizing that the aforementioned Ghost looked nothing like a ghost, your monocle might pop off and your top hat would spin 360 degrees around, but I doubt it. You are savvy, internet reader. You eat rainbow-colored ghosts who dance in erratic patterns for breakfast. With that in mind, there is only one thing I can possibly say about Ghost Manor:

WHAT IN THE NAME OF SWEET BABY JESUS’S BALLS IS HAPPENING?!

Bonus:

Recipe for Sweet Baby Jesus’s Balls

1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sifted powdered sugar

Beat your butter mercilessly, preferably with a belt, though an electric mixer is also acceptable. Cover the butter in about half the flour (give or take a half). stun the sugar and add it, as well, along with the vanilla. Put a drop of vanilla behind each ear, and you’ll smell like a cookie all day. A tablespoon of water is also required, despite having not been listed in the ingredients. I’ll fix that later in a patch.

Beat until thoroughly combined, then, beat some more, this time just for fun. Stir in the pecans with vigor.

Shape the dough into Baby Jesus’s balls (about 1-inch in size…don’t ask me how I know that…), taking care not to squeeze them too tight. Caress Baby Jesus’s balls gently, and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the Baby Jesus stops screaming. Cool balls on a wire rack. Gentile-ly shake cooled balls in a bag with the powdered sugar. Makes about 36 balls.

October 1st: Halloween for the Atari 2600

You know, I’ve never actually made it a point to sit down and watch the original Halloween. The horror of it all just seem a little too raw and real for my delicate and timid soul. Michael Myers wasn’t stuck at the bottom of lake, awaiting in your dreams, or trapped in the body of a My Best Buddy doll. Ol’ Mike lived right next door, like some modern day Boo Radley. He wouldn’t leave trinkets in the knot-hole of the oak tree in front of your house, he would make a knot-hole in your chest and make trinkets out of your intestines.

Halloween (AKA Sexta Fiera 13) for the Atari 2600 won’t leave trinkets in your knot-hole, either, but it could possibly be the most horrify horror you’ve ever experienced. The premise is simple: avoid Michael Myers and escape your house with your sibling and/or friend of indeterminate sex. You play as who I can only assume is Jamie Lee Curtis if she had blond hair and was digesting a football. All the while, the 5×5 pixel representation of Michael Myers hunts you mercilessly, continuously stabbing the air with a knife that can desintegrate a head in one blow. Now it’s well known that the most horrifically horrifying horror contained within the film is its soundtrack, and no game based on the film could possibly exist without it. It’s actually used to great effect here as the soundtrack kicks in whenever Michael comes on-screen, urging him to kill you dead.

The death sequence of Halloween, is absolutely, ludicrously, amazingly, awesomely, boss. Should your knee-high sock clad legs falter and be unable to reach your sibling in time, Michael Myers politely stabs the kid, leaving him a bloody mess on the floor, pixels everywhere. Not until Manhunt 2 arrives on the 31st will video gamers be subjected to such senseless brutality and hilarity. As we all know, once the blood lust strikes, it’s hard to stop at just one kid. Next thing you know, Michael Myers is coming for your head, and if you’re not quick enough, he’ll take the whole thing. Bereft of head, your manic torso makes a mad dash for the exit, squirting bloody pixels all the way. Oh, it is glorious, indeed.