We all love a list, so every Tuesday we’re posting one, on a variety of retro-themed topics! Feel free to share your own favourites down below — and let us know what other lists you’d like to see on future Tuesdays!
Today’s list is all about the best horror games in retro gaming — ones that we’d love to see get a rerelease on the Evercade retro gaming platform.
As you all doubtless know, we love the Evercade here at Retrounite, and with the impending release of the home console version, the Evercade VS, the platform is going from strength to strength.
The best thing about the Evercade is that as a new platform that is putting out officially licensed rereleases of retro classics, the possibilities of what we might see on the system in the long term are potentially limitless. It all comes down to the fine folks at Blaze being able to sweet-talk the various companies who own the properties — and if you ask me, they’ve done a pretty fine job of that so far.
Anyway, were licensing negotiations, costs and the like simply not an issue, here’s our dream list: 10 of the best horror games that we’d love to see get a rerelease on the Evercade someday. Just in time for…
As always, this is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you have any favourite horror classics from years gone by that you’d love to see on the Evercade, feel free to sound off in the comments below. We love to hear from you!
All right then. In no particular order…
The Evercade already plays host to the second and third Splatterhouse games for Mega Drive, so it stands to reason that at some point we’ll hopefully see the first — assuming Blaze can get licensing with Namco sorted out in time for a third collection of their games.
Splatterhouse for PC Engine/Turbografx-16 (and arcades) is one of the best horror games of its era; it was well-regarded back in the day not just for being a great game, but for being one of the first truly “adult” games we’d seen on gaming platforms thanks to its unashamed goriness. Naturally, fanboys used this as a prime opportunity to dunk on their SNES-owning brethren, since Nintendo’s policies at the time forbade gory games on the platform…
Okay, this one’s fairly unlikely to ever happen — but it would be a massive scoop for the platform if the Evercade was able to bring out the first ever officially licensed and localised version of Sweet Home, one of the earliest and best horror games ever created.
For the unfamiliar, Sweet Home is a role-playing game for the Famicom that, in many ways, set the template for the survival horror genre that would come along a few years later. It’s a really interesting game, and it would be a delight to have an officially localised version. And since it’s a Capcom game, licensing it would theoretically be possible — it’s the official localisation of all the in-game text that would prove troublesome. Even though fan translations exist, Capcom would likely want the last word in any official English version — and translations ain’t cheap.
Still, we can hope, can’t we?
Alone in the Dark 2
With the Evercade proving itself perfectly capable of handling PlayStation games on its more recent cartridges, that opens us up to the possibility of what many people regard to be one of the best horror games out there, and one that helped define the fixed camera angle survival horror subgenre: Alone in the Dark from Infogrames. Well, the second one, anyway; the first never came out on consoles.
In Alone in the Dark 2, you take on the role of supernatural private detective Edward Carnby as he attempts to uncover the truth behind the kidnapping of a young girl named Grace Saunders. The trail leads to the obligatory survival horror mansion, in which Carnby must fight off voodoo spirits in the search for his young charge.
The PlayStation version of Alone in the Dark 2 was actually somewhat enhanced over the MS-DOS PC original; it featured more detailed, texture-mapped models and new video cutscenes.
This is a classic horror series that has never really had enough love in the west. The original Super Famicom game in the series has never been localised — like with Sweet Home, it would be a massive scoop for Evercade to play host to the first officially licensed localisation, but that might be a big ask right now. It sequel (called simply “Clock Tower” in the west despite being “Clock Tower 2” in Japan) did get released over here, though, and was the first in the series to use a 3D graphics engine on the original PlayStation.
Clock Tower (in its various incarnations) has had a mixed reception from western commentators over the years, with reviewers at the time of its original release comparing its slow adventure game pace unfavourably to the faster action of Resident Evil. More recently, however, series fans would argue that the Clock Tower games are some of the best horror games out there — and well worth opening up to a new audience.
Tecmo’s Deception is a highly unusual game that, if you let it get its hooks into you, can definitely be considered among the best horror games on the PlayStation platform. Unfolding from a first-person perspective, it’s up to you to explore and expand your castle to repel intruders using a variety of gruesome traps — and ultimately reaching one of several different conclusions to the story depending on your choices.
Tecmo’s Deception was received positively on its original release for its imaginative inversion of the usual role-playing game tropes — it wasn’t often we got to play as the “villain” of the piece, and said “villain’s” tragic backstory made for a compelling narrative to explore, particularly with the multiple endings on offer.
Zombies Ate My Neighbours
LucasArts and Konami’s classic top-down run-and-gun game has long been a beloved classic of 16-bit fans — and while it might appear more comedic and cartoonish in tone than many of the other games on this list, it’s still one of the best horror games of all time. In fact, it got a rerelease alongside its sequel Ghoul Patrol for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Windows PC in June of 2021, so interest in this game is very current.
The big question with this one, of course, is whether or not Disney (who now owns the IP) would be willing to play ball with the license for Evercade. Licenses from large, well-established companies aren’t out of the question on the Evercade — the two Namco collections were available at launch, after all — but, well, let’s just say negotiating with the House of Mouse can be a challenge at the best of times.
It wouldn’t be the Evercade without a few sleeper hits in there, now, would it? In fact, to date I’d argue that the resurrection of sleeper hits has, in fact, proven to be the platform’s main strength; it’s introducing games that don’t typically get a lot of attention in the retro sphere to a whole new audience — and preserving them for future generations.
Dracula: Resurrection is a point-and-click adventure that was released for Windows PC, Mac and PlayStation back in 2000. It acts as a follow-up to Bram Stoker’s classic story, postulating what might have happened if Dracula didn’t stay dead at the end of the original book. It’s up to Jonathan Harker to once again face the vampire and rescue his wife Mina from a terrible fate.
The game enjoyed four sequels; only the first of these was available on PlayStation, however, since the third to fifth installments are all much more recent releases, and are largely unrelated to the first two.
Haunting Starring Polterguy
This excellent EA game (they existed, once) is one of the best horror games on 16-bit platforms — though it errs rather more on the comedic side of things than being “true” horror. The game places you in the role of Polterguy, a rebellious teenager who was killed in a skateboarding accident. Wishing revenge on the manufacturer of the faulty equipment that caused his death, Polterguy decides to haunt his house and torment his family.
Gameplay involves possessing household objects and making use of “Fright ’em” abilities to scare the family members out of four different homes. You’ll also need to avoid the unwanted attentions of the family dog and the Ecto Beasts spawned by the frightened family members. It’s a highly original, very entertaining game — and one that deserves a rerelease.
Originally released as one of a series of “MacVentures” for the original Apple Macintosh platform, Uninvited (along with its contemporaries Shadowgate, Deja Vu and Deja Vu 2) got ported to various other platforms, including NES and Game Boy Colour. These console versions are regarded as some of the most unsettling versions of the game thanks to their excellent use of music and atmosphere — and many cite Uninvited as one of the best horror games of all time.
Uninvited opens with you waking up from a car crash only to find that your sibling is missing. You conjecture that they must have run into the nearby spooky-looking mansion to seek shelter — and since your car explodes not long after you clear the area, you don’t have much choice but to go looking for them. Using a point-and-click interface, you’ll need to find and manipulate items, interact with the environment and quell the evil that resides in the house… before it’s too late!
It’d be great to see a single Evercade cartridge that compiles all the console releases of the MacVentures together. And it’s not beyond the realm of possibility — they’ve all had rereleases on today’s consoles, so it’s just a matter of licensing.
Finally, we close off with a game that isn’t “retro” in the traditional sense — instead, it’s a new(ish) game for the Mega Drive. Specifically, it’s a graphic adventure developed exclusively for the Mega Drive that acts as an extended version of developer Sasha Darko’s original Sacred Line game. It follows the story of private detective Ellen as she investigates an anonymous call about a hidden forest outpost.
This sort of thing would be the perfect fit for a future Indie Heroes cartridge for Evercade; many people really appreciate how the platform has been so open to modern games for classic platforms to date, so Sacred Line would fit right in.
And those are our picks! What are the best horror games you’d love to see on the Evercade? There’s a whole host of ’em out there, so let us know your favourites.