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Halloween for Atari 2600
I picked up Halloween as a kid back in 1983 and remembered really liking it for about a month. Then somehow my cart disappeared. Then sometime in 2000, I bought a box of Atari 2600 games and was lucky enough to get a label damaged copy of Halloween. Despite my positive memories of the game, I was always hearing mixed things about the game and figured maybe my kid memories might be confused. So I decided to sit down and give it a go — see what people like or disliked about it. Anyway, 10 years later I opened a box filled with assorted papers and old PC game manuals and there is the copy of Halloween. Not sure how it got there, but I figure my gaming sessions are long overdue.
Now it is 6 months after that and Halloween is upon us. So I finally decided to take this game for a spin and 2 weeks after that I decided to sit down and write the review.
I wish I had played this game earlier, because it is great! You take the role of the Babysitter in the infamous Halloween universe, and you need to rescue your charges while at the same time avoiding the deadly knife of the killer Michael Myers. Myers looks great in his VCS 8-bit form, and they really tap into the feeling of the movie, having Myers appear at random times and always accompanied by that great Halloween music. He is slow and predictable, but deadly. So you need to time your dodges perfectly as you try to keep ahead of him or get around him. While doing this, you may stumble across a knife. You can pick this up as a one use item. Stab Myers, and he flees temporarily. Then the knife will be reseeded into the game world.
The whole point of the game is for you to find the children. You do this by finding them and leading them to a safe room in this multicolored, multi-floored house. This can be challenging when confronted with Myers, but if you learn to time your movements correctly you can run right at Myers and split apart from your kid right before he strikes and then reconnect and escape. The knife will not appear while you are escorting these children, so don’t count on it and be very careful in the rooms where the lights are flickering (great stuff and adds to the mood of the game) because without warning you can go directly to complete blackout conditions (cue music).
My only complaint about Halloween is that it lacks an endgame. You just keep playing until you lose. I would have liked a timer with a set amount of kids to rescue to add some timed tension to the game. Despite that, I think this is a solid title that is well worth owning, or at the very least worth emulating. So I give it 4 stars. It would be 5 if it just had the little something extra.