Haunted House (Atari 2600)

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Written by  :  Guy Chapman (2001)
Written on  :  Jun 01, 2004
Platform  :  Atari 2600
Rating  :  4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars

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The Original Survival Horror Game.

The Good

One of the classic Atari 2600 games, Haunted House could actually be SCARY with its continual feeling of being hunted and surprise encounters. The dark graphics with their limited range of view kept players stepping carefully through the four-story mansion, and running blindly in the darkness when the ghost started hunting you down. One of the biggest draws was the sound. It was a very ambient game, with footsteps in the hallways, and wind and thunder adding much of the tension to approaching creatures. The louder things got, the closer a bat and spider could be. Escape the house with the urn, and players would hear a rendition of the "Twilight Zone" theme.

The Bad

While the ghost and other creatures could pop out of anywhere, which kept things continually on the move. However, there were times where an enemy would pop out of nowhere and kill the player seconds after already doing so, which led to some frustrations. It wasn't overly common, but it would happen.

The Bottom Line

Haunted House is a four-story romp through an old mansion filled with ghosts, bats, and spiders. Players had to hunt down the missing pieces of an urn while stumbling through the darkness, and trying to deal with locked doors. Players could defend themself with an old scepter (against the ghost), but were otherwise defenseless. One of the few solid adventure titles for the Atari 2600, it reminds a lot of the classic gameplay found in "Adventure". It's a classic game by any means, with some genuine "jump" moments, and one of the deeper titles for the system.