Atari 2600 – Haunted House


By many considered to be the first survival horror game (a far stretch imo), Haunted House represents the player as a pair of eyes which turns out to be a pretty cute idea.

Your goal is to collect three pieces of an urn that are randomly scattered through a maze-like (ugh) house.
The main gameplay element involves lighting matches all the time to discover hidden items like keys, the aforementioned urn pieces or a wand that scares off enemies.
Of course, there are some mean foes who will try their best to rob you of your nine lives. You will face a spider, a fast ghost and a bat that blows out your matches.

The game features nine different levels.
Level one is the easiest as there are no locked doors and the walls are well-lit.
Great to get the hang of it, but too easy.
The real fun starts in level two when you are surrounded by complete darkness.
It’s quite atmospheric and can easily scare you when a ghost suddenly appears out of the black.
The following levels get more difficult with locked doors that need a master-key (and some annoying item management) and enemies that can move through walls or even follow you to the next screen.

I’d say the graphics are very simple, but then again…well you’re mostly staring at a black screen and it’s kinda hard to find a flaw in that.
I must compliment the sound tho.
The echoing footsteps of your eyes (…) add another layer of suspense and some loud noises (when an enemy appears) made me genuinely jump.

Haunted House was a breath of fresh air and pretty tense at times but got old after a few rounds. You’ve seen it all after five levels or so and I don’t see myself coming back to it very soon. Probably because mazes combinded with random item placement is kinda my Achilles heel.




2 thoughts on “Atari 2600 – Haunted House

  1. Great review! This month Haunted House will turn 35. I already have a post ready for it. Unfortunately I still haven’t got this cartridge, but I hope I will find it soon. Have you used the original Atari to play it or an emulator?

    Liked by 1 person

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