Atari 2600 | 1982 | Wizard Video
Modern equivalent: Manhunt 2
Once again, piss-poor graphics are the saviour of brutal killing. You might expect one of the very earliest horror movie licensed games to be one of the very earliest ever survival horror games, but oh no. In a startling fit of knowing exactly what was suitable for the kids, Wizard made the world’s first murder ‘em up instead.
Yep, you get to play Leatherface, and you get to kill teenagers. In fact, due to the 2600’s comparative horsepower failing when placed next to an alarm clock, that was all you get to do. Just pure, unbridled chainsaw killing, devoid of context or purpose. Over and over again. Well we think it’s chainsaw killing anyway. He’s definitely either using a chainsaw or his giant nobbly wang. The jury’s sort of out though… Where’s the BBFC when you need it?
Werewolves of London
ZX Spectrum/Amstrad CPC | 1987 | Viz Design
Modern equivalent: Grand Theft Auto IV
Werewolves of London might look tame today. Endearing. Cute, even. But those dated visuals belie a wealth of depraved and filthy content. Imagine GTA IV if Niko could tear people’s throats out with his teeth. That’s exactly what we’re talking about here.
You’re a werewolf exploring an open world city of London, seeking bloody revenge on the family that cursed you. New parts of the city are unlocked as you find new tools and transportation, like a manhole key and a torch to explore the subway. There are pedestrian NPCs who you can ignore or kill as you wish. There are cops who’ll come after you if they catch you killing, and you can kill them too. If you get busted, you’ll spend the night in a cell at the police station and lose your equipment. There’s a day/night cycle that controls your transformations. Do you see? It’s GTA: Transylvania City. There’s even gratuitous nudity as you tear off your victims’ clothes during a kill. Rockstar, remake this now!
Mega Drive/Genesis/Home computers | 1990 | Sandcastle
Modern equivalent: Resident Evil 4
An arcane environment beset by evil. Fantastical monsters and deadly over-sized creatures. A lone hero with a penchant for monster decapitation and a ludicrous variety of graphic instant death animations of his own. A punishing survival challenge. A young NPC maiden who provides assistance. Resident Evil 4? Not at all.
Sandcastle and EA’s dark fantasy role-player was an insanely violent game. Immediate and almost unwarned deaths lurked at every corner, monsters hid in every shadow, and its brimming catalogue of custom death animations must have taken up half of the game’s ROM. You don’t get the scope of the game’s creative killing in the video above, but check outthis one(embedding disabled, frustratingly) for a plethora of devourings, impalings, meltings, drownings, head explodings, and a really icky one with several thousand baby spiders. It’s most impressive. Less a game really, and more a wizard abuse simulator.