Well today is Halloween, with costumes and candy aplenty to go around. There are no lack of arcade games that have a Halloween edge to them, on Facebook I asked what your favorite games to play on Halloween are and there were plenty of games you brought up in that regard. We also have a brand new arcade game with a horror theme soon to hit the scene, Namco’s Dark Escape 4D or one that is already on the market, GlobalVR/Taito’s Frightfearland. But today I want to take a look at a game almost no one has played, something that really could be considered a lost prototype called Vampire by Entertainment Enterprises.
For the company behind the game themselves, they were a short lived outfit that released their games during the purge times of the Crash in ’83. Of the few games they worked on, most were just video gambling type stuff with one exception, that exception being Vampire. Not sparkly vampires who are love-sick for humans or anything like that but being the 80s, more of your pale faced Dracula in a purple shirt and yellow slacks (again, the 80s).
Of course saying that they came out with Vampire isn’t really correct – apparently the game just made it as far as location testing and one game magazine got a chance to play it but then it disappeared like vampire mist into the ether. There is a picture of the PCB out there but who has it and whether it still works is unknown. The game has never been dumped to MAME and with no other boards out there it seems to have been lost. But at least we have a description of how it played from Video Games Magazine, published in August 1983.
The player controls a vampire who stalks the streets of a European village in search of women. You’ve got to bite six of them before sunrise, while avoiding “holy men” (priests), nuns, and holy water fountains. Coming into contact with anything sacred will result in the vampire dying and turning into a skeleton. For some real fun, he can touch his coffin and turn into a bat for some faster travel. Either way, our hero must avoid wooden stakes and can kill the holy men for 600 points apiece. Meanwhile blondes are worth 300 points, while redheads are worth only 200. (One supposes that not only do blondes have more fun, but they’re also harder to catch).
The view of the game is set isometrically, so it was a platformer meets Zaxxon. There were four screens to go through, three main Here’s the only picture I can find of the game:
According to the magazine description, the game was far from perfect – there were control problems and no music to give the game a little more of a personality charge. From the sounds of it, they should have given it either an analog joystick or a diagonally-set joystick, like Q*Bert. There were two buttons, one to give you a shadow to hide from enemies and the other to attack. Overall the concept was interesting and it got some props for being one of the very few games to attempt a horror/adult style game which was not terribly common theme at the time.
Who knows whether this will ever be recovered but it’s been almost 30 years now so that seems to be a slim chance at this point. You can read more about the game here.
For games we can play however, hopefully your local arcade has some sort of Halloween-themed game to enjoy which is not a bad way to pass the time. 🙂
Speaking of horror, there are plenty of places in the process of cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy, we hope that all of our readers in the region stayed safe during the time. As a part of destruction, Kotaku has this picture of a Sega Motor Raid that got washed out into the street (thanks for the link Kieran)