- Original release year: 1993
- Consoles: Genesis/Mega Drive (later: PSP)
There’s something about the 16-bit era of video games that I just really love. Video games were going through a boom period and renaissance of sort, with Sega and Nintendo viciously battling each other, bringing out the best of both companies.
Whilst I don’t want to ruffle too many feathers, I feel like that video games these days, although being possibly even bigger business, have become increasingly homogenised. Originality is something of a rarity now (well, it’s not entirely, but you do have to look for it more). Back in the days of the Mega Drive though, bizarre and random games like Haunting were kinda a dime a dozen and it was a really cool time. I remember just picking up random games and really enjoying everything that was on offer.
Haunting stars a guy called Polterguy (I know, because it says so on the front of the box), who is a ghost. The game doesn’t really have a title screen and it just kick starts with some cutscenes (which I probably didn’t pay as much attention to than I should have) and then the game begins with you inside the family’s mansion. Your aim is simple – you must scare each family member as much as possible, until all have been scared so much, that they leave the house in fear. This can be done in a variety of ways, by finding items in the household to ‘possess’, which then triggers a frightening effect – e.g. triggering monsters or by throwing weapons across the room. Each time you use a scare method, it drains your energy. Energy can be regained by collecting green goo, that is left for you each time you scare a family member out of the room. If all your energy is depleted, you are warped to a dungeon, where you must collect all the green goo and find the exit, to warp back to the mansion recharged.
Haunting is a unique and incredibly fun title for its time. The 16-bit era is often defined by platformers like Mario and Sonic and the endless list of clones, but this is something truly original and a blast to play.