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Haunted House Review

Developer: Atari Publisher: Atari
Release Date: 1981 Available On: Atari 2600

The horror genre has become quite popular in recent years with franchises such as Resident Evil. And yet, for every genre that exists today, there have to have been games that gave it its start. In the horror genre, one of the games that established it was Haunted House for the Atari 2600. But is Haunted House a game worth playing, or was it only a step forward toward bigger and better things? Read on to find out.

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The concept behind Haunted House is reasonably simple. The game takes place in a haunted house. Your objective is to find three pieces of an urn and bring them back to the entrance to the house, or, to make things easier to explain, to the place where you started the game. The house has four floors, all of which look the same although they are different colors. There are many staircases on each floor, some going up and some going down.

To find the urn, you have to use matches to look through the different rooms for the pieces. Only when you activate a match by pressing the button and it is active can you see the various objects in the house, whether it be a piece of the urn, a key to go through the locked doors, or a scepter to protect yourself from the enemies in the house. Running into an enemy reduces your quantity of lives by one, and the quantity of enemies varies by which game mode you are playing in.

As you play in higher level game modes, other things change as well, such as the requirement that you have a key to get through added locked doors or the speed of the enemies increasing. These things make each game mode increasingly challenging and give the game a little more lasting appeal. When you get to the final game mode, the layout of the house is randomized making the game even more difficult.

Graphically, the game is quite basic, but it is not bad. Your character is nothing but a set of eyes. One would think they would make your character look like a full person, but I guess that is just a matter of preference. The objects, the enemies, and your set of eyes all use reasonably small pixels in their designs. There are not really that many sound effects in this game either, but what few there are get the job done reasonably well. Suffice it to say that the aesthetics do not detract from the game any.

With nine game modes increasing in difficulty, this game does have the potential to last a reasonably long time, but the game is simplistic enough that it will not have the lasting value of some other games on the Atari 2600. Still, it is a pretty good game in its own right, and, if you are a fan of the horror genre at all, it is a game worth looking for and giving a try. It is fairly common as well, so it should not be too difficult to find or too expensive to buy once you do find it.

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 6.5
Final: 6.6
Written by Martin Write a User Review