Remember arcades? Of course you don’t! On one hand, we feel sorry for the younger generations who grew up without such dimly lit havens, spending untold hours playing After Burner and Street Fighter II. And on the other, we’re glad you never had to deal with the light gun aisle of shame, usually led by the shocking grotesque Chiller.
Above: Mom, listen. I really need 50 cents
The idea was, of course, to shoot everything that moves. Or didn’t move, because it was bound to a guillotine or torture rack. Blasting chunks of flesh off the prisoners netted you points, but the real score came from nailing a set number of monsters on the screen. When you were done, it looked like this:
Above: Take the time to compare this shot to the other
Chiller was short, fairly easy and far too graphic to be placed in a Wal-Mart vestibule, so it was condemned to a crap-ass (and unlicensed) NES port way late in the game. We were going to embed the YouTube video, but it’s horribly boring. So horrible… it’s scary. Like Halloween.
Before Mortal Kombat, before the ESRB, even before Sega’s self-imposed rating system (GA through MA-17), there was Death Duel, a game that glamorized intense violence as if it were as wholesome as a drunken monster truck race.
Above: Yeeee haw?
Yessir, nothing as lovely as systematically disarming (legging, heading) a giant dragon monster thing in front of a cheering crowd while grating Genesis music blares in the background. As was the case with most overly graphic games in the ‘90s, the gameplay was total crap – you’re in an arena, but can only move left or right and have a limited number of shots. We’re supposed to keep playing because OMGBLOOD, as blood of any kind was still a novelty.
Above: HAY GUISE
Above: HURRG GUURGGG
This is where we’d mention some neat trivia about the game, or relate it all back in some amazingly clever joke. But there’s next to no surplus love for Death Duel online, so we just have to assume no one ever cared. And thus, no one ever played.
Most scrolling shooters involve a lone spaceship dodging a billion projectiles a second. While theoretically violent, they usually only involve machines… except for the Japan-only Guwange, where you control a possessed ninja and reduce countless soldiers to red paste.
Above: Those red things used to be people
Above: So, this boss was 72% blood
The only way you’ll be able to experience the rush of ruining Japan’s Muromachi era is through the magic of emulation, which, if we’ve heard right, results in Marines storming through your windows and hauling you off to jail. How dare you play a game that isn’t for sale!
Its development is well chronicled, having begun at EA in the mid ‘90s as a groundbreaking 4-player PlayStation brawler. Eventually the focus shifted from “wow, four players at once” to excessive limb tearing and face eating, and EA refused to publish it at all. So, you didn’t play this one because it never made it out the door.
Above: Dr. Faustus performs some much-needed heart surgery
Thrill Kill was so completely done, however, that it did end up as a readily available download for anyone willing to sniff around. Unsurprisingly, the gore blinded the dev team so completely they were unable to make a fighting game that’s loaded with fatalities, disturbing characters and set in Hell’s bathroom fun at all.
Above: There’s what, five fatalities per character?
Activision took the guts of Thrill Kill and tossed them into the equally shitty Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style, and then powered 2000’s X-Men: Mutant Academy with the leftovers. Bam, we all just learned something.
There are only nine M-Rated games for GBA. There’s a GTA, a Max Payne, a couple of Mortal Kombats, but the one we're sure absolutely no one paid any attention to is Dual Blades, a glacially paced fighter that bothered to fill a niche that didn’t exist.
Above: Every match ends with a bloody stump
As with most one-on-one fighters, there’s some semblance of story and reasoning as to why these colorfully dressed idiots are banging swords together. And, as with most one-on-one fighters, said story comes down to this:
Above: Big thanks to Mrs. Finch’s 3rd grade class for the art!!!!!