Sunday, October 08, 2017

Horror Zombies From The Crypt


I've always been fascinated with Astral's haunted house platformer which I feel has a charming and great comical character. No haunting would be the same without lots of frightful creatures and this game has everything from witches, zombies, werewolves, vampires, ghosts and even the odd weird statue that sticks out its tongue at you!

Each level has a particular task described during a mini-intro but the objective is to hunt down and collect all the skulls and lay their souls to rest. However, this is one tricky play through a maze of creepy screens which often contain puzzles. This is no arcade-style platformer, more of a Fire And Brimstone so keep your composure wear your patience head, Worzel.

The first level introduces us nicely to the game's personality with some not-so-obvious puzzle solving along with a variety of classic baddies, like zombies, headless ghosts and a Morticia Addams lookalike. Puzzles are quite easy and shouldn't tax the grey matter too much: move a table to reach an item, find keys to unlock doors, and wear cute booties to creep past something scary. Things hot up on the next level with tougher monsters and trickier level designs. I must admit to taking a liking to the wolfmen but I hate the old hunchback witch who can drop rocks with great accuracy! Always look for hidden rooms or secret objects that may need a different type of key. Every level has a password so there is never a need to restart from the beginning each time which is an excellent idea and one I wish more games would have supported (I'm talking to you Navy Seals!)

The visual style is perfectly apt for the 1950's cinematic theme with smooth scrolling, incredible artwork and freaky characters who are also superbly animated. Just wait until you die and see yourself shudder before violently suffering a Scanners-like headache, no matter the actual cause of death! I must say that I am impressed with the palette used, each level is its own mini-movie and looks absolutely tremendous. The horror is typically cheesy so if you think this is going to be scary then you might be in for a different kind of shock.

Audio is nothing short of incredible with a chippy rendition of Montagues and Capulets which couldn't have been a more perfect choice. I'm sure I'll be humming this all day long! All sound effects are high-quality samples with the wolf howls being my favourite. However, I'm disappointed there is nothing for my head-exploding deaths?

This is one of those games that eats away the hours but also requires practice and plenty of patience because the gameplay mechanics are cruel. In fact, it's often infuriating on later levels, just try Family Chapel if you don't believe me... Horror Zombies From The [Atari]Crypt is the perfect title for such a cheesy platformer. I wish it was a little easier but killing wolfmen, zombies and running scared from piercing vampire glares is right up my street. Gory fun!

LINKS

 - A hard drive installable version is by D-Bug with floppy disks available via Old Games Finder.
 - Level passwords: Wolfman, Hammer, Lugosi, Nosferatu and Garlic.