Thursday, 23 October 2014

Lighthouse Of The Dead

People really should learn to start listening to people who give warnings about keeping away from certain areas, leaving things alone or just general good advice about not messing with the undead! Especially when they live in horror comics from 1954! In this tale from Quality's Web Of Evil 14, it's a lighthouse keeper being ignored when he tell's people not to mess with the "evil of the sea"......

Thanks once again to the Digital Comic Museum and uploader tilliban for another great read! :-)

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

100 More Gruesome Games (29-25) - XBLIG Special Pt. 1

There are literally thousands of games available on Microsoft's Xbox 360 that a lot of people will never have played or even considered. Some gamers looking at the Indie Game section on the dashboard will see games you can buy for 69p/$1 and automatically dismiss them as being pointless rubbish that's not worthy of their attention. Other's will look at the fact that some of the most popular games just involve minimum gameplay and badly-animated, big-boobed, scantily-clad girls and again think that the Indie section of Xbox is to be avoided. And there is a lot of pointless, sexist and just plain rubbish stuff floating around on there....

But there's also a lot of great games! Some of which are a damned sight more entertaining & innovative than a lot of the full price releases on the console....some that are totally unoriginal and steal stuff from other places, but are still a massive load of fun! But it's finding these games that are worth playing that can be tricky! So I've decided to give a mention on the list to 10 horror-themed titles that I've considered good enough to buy, and once Halloween is over I might let you know about some other games that are worth a lot more than the few pennies the creators are asking for them!

29 - Bloody Death (XBLIG) :

Remember when FMV was the future of gaming? Almost every game that came out at one point in the nineties had some sort of live-action element in it! And then it just sort of fizzled out and went back to pixels & polygons....Well, thankfully a group of Italian (I think?) game developers decided that we needed anew Night-Trap style game and provided us with this little gem!

It's obvious right from the start that English is not the first language of the stars of this game...a slaughter takes place at "Quite River" which was surely meant to be "Quiet River"? Maybe not, maybe it is quite the river! Anyway, the rather blood-soaked tutorial introduces you to the Quick Time Event controls you'll be using for the entire game. Yes, it's just a case of bashing buttons as they appear on screen while you watch a really bad horror movie, but what a great bad-horror movie!

Our heroine escapes the slaughter, and we join her 3 years later as a couple of friends join her and her boyfriend for a night of booze and Xbox! Unfortunately, in true schlock-style, the killer from Quite River has tracked her down and phones to let the group know he intends to murder them all! You have to try and keep them alive by using the aforementioned QTEs...

The acting is terrible, the script hilarious and sometimes you'll successfully manage to hit the correct combination of buttons only for the character to be horrifically murdered anyway, but it all makes for a hugely entertaining 20 minutes or so play, and the fact that they've even attempted to resurrect FMV games is to be applauded, as is the fact you can pick it up for £1.99! If you love cheesy, so-bad-they're-good horror movies this'll be right up your street, and as a fan of such fare I highly recommend you download it immediately! 

28.5 - Hell's House (XBLIG) :

Look! It's the star of  Bloody Death Francesca Mamo in a sort-of sequel! This one has our star wandering around a Haunted House, and again you have to QTE your way through the game as you try to stop her dying horribly! This one doesn't have a lot of fact I can't actually remember if there's any talking at all, so it's not quite as funny! It does mean that the acting doesn't seem quite so bad too though, so we may see Francesca in a Dario Argento movie yet!

Anyway, it's another fun little interactive movie and again worthy of the £1.99 it asks for the pleasure of sitting through it!

28 - Dead Pixels (XBLIG) :

This one is a great retro-style side-scrolling shooter that has you trying to make it to freedom across a town filled with zombies! It's got a brilliant Grindhouse-inspired intro, and groovy music throughout! You can stop at shops to sell items you pick up along the way and purchase health packs, ammo & guns, and there are  several types of zombies to try them out on! The zombies will drop extra cash too, but try not to die as you pick it up before it disappears!

Dead Pixels is packed with references to zombie movies & games, and there's some free DLC that adds a survival mode, and another set of levels that changes gameplay a bit to keep you on your toes! Both of these extra DLC modes come with their own great intros and it makes for quite a large package of stuff to play through! It's awesome and could quite easily have been an Arcade release....And yet it's yours for 69p/$1!

27 - Midnight Bite (XBLIG) :

Draku's parents have flown off on vacation, but they forgot to stock up the fridge before going, and so it's up to us to guide the little vampire through a stealth action game so he can snack on the villagers, quench his first and emerge unharmed when his parents return!

You'll have to evade the guards, who have Metal Gear Solid style lines-of-sight, and hide in the occasional box to avoid being seen. If you keep your eye on the guards, you'll get to know their patterns, and you can slip past to the villagers! Once you get to a villager you can feast on their blood, and when you've got them all you'll move on the next screen via a magic mirror exit. Soon, extra dangers are added to the mix, like cats that'll wail if they see you and garlic that'll slow progress even more!  

It's a fun little puzzler with a cute style that'll appeal to any little monsters that happen to be lurking in your own crypts, as well as anyone who generally loves sneaking around as a bloodsucker! 

26 - I Maed A Gam3 W1th Zombies 1nit!!!1 (XBLIG) :

This game is as much a music video as it is a Robotron-style twin-stick shooter! You battle to survive hordes of zombies, picking up various power-ups and trying to last to the end of the creator's 15-minute or so song about the very game you're taking part in! It's a game with zombies in it, for goodness sake! What more do you need to know!? Go spend your dollar!

25 - Saturn 9 (XBLIG) :

Sent to a suddenly silent spaceship to find out what happened to the crew, you discover that things have gotten a little out of hand and some sort of creatures are running riot! This might not sound like the most original set-up for a game, but Saturn 9 was a pleasant surprise when I discovered it!

Taking influence from games such as Fear, Dead Space & Eternal Darkness, this first-person survival horror has hallucinations making you question just what is really happening, and what's in the protagonist's head. These occur when your character is running out of oxygen, which you'll need to keep topping up. Locked doors provide some password hunting and puzzle solving, and you'll need your wits about you to work some of these out.

The atmosphere of the game was really surprising to find in an Indie title, with the constant breathing coming from your character as they move around the incredibly dark levels in their spacesuit and the diary logs left by the crew creating a truly spooky environment..

Again, it's worthy of reaching a larger audience than the one XBLIG has, and like a few other games here it looks like you'll soon be able to get it on Steam too! It's well worth a look, especially for under a quid!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Cinema Of Stuff presents...The Changeling (1980)

After losing his family in a tragic accident, composer John Russell (George C. Scott) moves in to an old Victorian mansion to get some much needed peace & quiet so he can get back to composing and teaching music, and try to move on with his life. However it soon becomes apparent that this house might not be as quiet as he would have hoped.....

The atmosphere of this film is something I find lacking in most modern horror movies, which tend to go for shocks rather than the slow-burning terror found here. If watched alone with a pair of decent headphones in a dark, empty house, I defy you not to be chilled by this classic! It's well directed and the great cast and intriguing story make this one of my favourite ghost films, and both Martin Scorsese & Alejandro Amenábar have it in their all-time best Horror movie lists too, so I'm in good company! 

The only problem I have with it is the not-so-scary ghostly voice, which sounds a bit silly,  but the rest of the film holds up pretty damn well, and had me wishing my flat wasn't quite so dark as I was going to bed after watching it again last year! Anyway, turn down the lights or close the curtains, settle down into a comfy chair and chuck on a pair of headphones, and you can judge for yourselves how scary it is...

Director - Peter Medak

Writers - Russell Hunter (Story), William Gray & Diana Maddox (Screenplay)

Starring - George C. Scott (John), Trish Van Devere (Claire), Melvyn Douglas (Senator Carmichael), Jean Marsh (Joanna Russell), John Colicos (Captain Dewitt), Barry Morse (Doctor Pemberton)

Saturday, 18 October 2014

The Absent Minded Professor

The Gravedigger from Premier Magazine's Horror From The Tomb No.1 (1954)  introduces our next terrifying tale from the Digital Comic Museum in which an absent minded professor reveals to his new love a secret hard to forget....

(Oh, and remember to click the pictures to make them bigger if you're struggling to read them! )

Yeurch! Don't know why she got so upset...he's armless really! Never mind, I'm sure the professor will eventually get some body to love....

Thanks to cimmerian32 who uploaded this, and all the other uploaders who give me loads to read!  

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

100 More Gruesome Games (31 & 30)

Only 17 days left until Halloween, and 31 games to go in the list! Will we actually make it to the end this year? Well, y'know what I'm like so I'm not promising anything, but if all goes well we might just get there! On with the next lot... 

31 - The Mon Mon Monster (MSX2) :

This MSX2 game from 1989 sees you fill the not-very-small boots of that loveable bolt-brain, Frankenstein! Not having the manual, I have no idea what the actual plot is, but it would appear that Franky has taken it upon himself to rid the world of all the other monsters and spooks! Perhaps they stole his cup-a-soup or something?

Whatever the reason, you bash blocks and shoot electric bolts at all manner of monstrosities as you make your way through the levels, navigating moving platforms & finding shortcuts and secret power-ups to use against the end of level bosses!

The game isn't perfect. Sometimes enemies will hit you with a bullet and knock you back a screen, where another enemy instantly respawns and takes a bit of your precious health as you collide with it, for instance. And if you fall into water, instead of restarting where you die the game plonks you right back to the start of the level....and it's quite tricky! I've played a few games now and I've yet to beat level one! But I'm close, and I will be going back to try and get further. It's a fun little game y'see, and that bloody wolf-man or whatever he is isn't getting off that easily....

30 - Halloween Harry / Alien Carnage (PC) :

Another groovy platformer's Halloween Harry (later changed to Alien Carnage to avoid potential buyers thinking it was a seasonal game)! Originally a shareware title, with the first episode being free and the others available to purchase, you can now pick it all up for download via 3D Realm's site!

Aliens have invaded Earth & are turning everyone in to brain-dead killer zombies! Seeing as this is not very nice at all, Harry sets out to free some hostages and get rid of the alien menace! Armed with a flamethrower, some missiles and a jet-pack, Harry is well equipped to tackle the problem. Both the jet-pack & flame thrower use the same fuel though, and so if Harry is to succeed he'll need to find coins to buy more fuel & ammo from the various vending machines that can be found scattered around the levels! There are other weapons to be found too though, so don't worry...

This management of fuel adds a small level of strategy to an otherwise straight forward romp through the maze-like levels, and adds to the fun of blasting all the alien fiends to bits! The cartoon-styled graphics are a joy to look at too, and the different enemies and animations might make you give a little chuckle occasionally! It actually plays a lot like Duke Nukem 1 & 2 and Apogee even went as far as saying on the box that if Duke had a twin it would be Harry!

Anyway, it's a huge load of fun, and if I was you I'd go and download it immediately! He is called Halloween Harry after all, so there's no better time to get acquainted with the fella! And there's a sequel to find as well, called Zombie Wars...but perhaps that's a game to talk about another time.....

Sunday, 12 October 2014

100 More Gruesome Games ( 33 & 32 )

So....this year's blog curse of choice has been a rather nasty cold that has seen me having to deal with the usual nastiness of a runny nose, sore throat and feverish headaches for the last few days, which has been oodles o' fun, but not very many games! And games is what we want isn't it!? So I'll ignore this lingering yuckiness and just get on with it.....

33 - Ghost Battle (Amiga) :

If there's one set of terrifying fiends that people seemed to be a lot less scared of back in the day, it's lawyers! Thalion clearly weren't frightened of them at all, as this game blatantly steals most of its ideas straight from Capcom's Ghosts 'n' Goblins series...

You play as a chap who has had the unfortunate (and yet seemingly very common) upset of his lady friend being nabbed by some great-big-nasty sort, and have to wander through the platform-filled levels defeating zombies, witches, demons, creepy crawlies and all the other usual suspects from these types of games...and it's so blatant in its thievery that there's even those Venus Flytrap type nasties to get past!  There's spikes that pop up to hinder your progress, moving platforms to navigate and you'll be needing a key for coming in at the end of level one too! 

It doesn't quite live up to the task of properly emulating Capcom's success though. There's a lot more awkward jumps, the collision detection can be a bit iffy sometimes and some enemies can't seem to be killed and have to be jumped over to be avoided...which just ends up with you getting jostled annoyingly back & forth as you attempt to clear them.

And yet despite its problems, it remains a fun platformer, with a groovy soundtrack and pretty good graphics, even if the main character's arms do look like they should be his legs ...and vice versa! Still, it's worthy of at least a couple of plays on a cold, October night...and so far I've gotten a tiny bit further every time I play it's keeping me going back to see just how far I can get! It's a grower, I reckon...

32 - The Astonishing Adventures of Mr Weems & The She Vampires (C64 / ZX Spectrum):

Mr. Weems had reached that moment in life where he found himself unhappy in his profession. An accountant for many years, he felt he needed a little more excitement....he'd always fancied running off with the circus as a child, and so he packed up and left to enjoy life on the road as a fearless lion tamer! But alas, even that failed to live up to his expectations...what could he possibly do to find that elusive thrill he so sought? Poor Mr. Weems....

One day, he heard tales of a certain spooky mansion....a spooky mansion populated by the ever-so-scary she-vampires! He decided there & then to hunt down these fiendish femmes & got to work gathering his arsenal! Now armed with a rapid-fire garlic gun and a single smart-garlic pill to be used in emergencies, he entered the mansion, finally excited by what he was about to face....

...which is a fairly standard Gauntlet clone where you, as the brave Mr. Weems, traverse a flip-screen maze collecting keys and battling bats, Frankenstein-types and the She-Vamps themselves! An ever decreasing blood count can be topped up by swigging blood bottles that have been handily left lying around, and there are a few extra garlic bombs littering the place too.

Eventually you'll need to face the Great She-Vampire herself, and to prepare for that epic battle you'll have to find the vital weapons hidden in a box on each level. Only when you've collected all of these will you be able to face the mother of all bloodsuckers!

It took me a while to work out that to stop monsters from spawning and be able open the coffins you have to kill every single enemy and destroy every pot on the screen! There are some places where this is impossible, so ignore those screens and move on! There are also a few hidden walls that have to be found in order to progress, which can be frustrating if you fail to find out where they are.

The Spectrum version is the one I'm most familiar with, but having now played the C64 version I have to say that it's a lot easier on the eye! The colour scheme and movement on the Speccy game can be a bit headache inducing and sometimes it all gets a bit cluttered. Both versions have minimal sound effects, which are nothing to write about really, but they do the job I suppose.
Both games are fairly okay to play too, but unfortunately for Mr.Weems, aren't overly he'll probably be looking for some other career path again once he's done with the Great She-Vamp....