A Fortnight of Fright: Crypt Killer

Posted: October 20, 2011 in Retro
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

As Halloween night draws near, Chad has taken it upon himself to dig into the vaults to bring you some of his favorite horror-themed video games in his Fortnight of Fright. Can you handle the madness? Read on, if you dare!

Tales from the Crypt

Cool Board- I mean, Crypt Killer!

The ’90s were the golden age of the light gun game. That’s when arcades hit a peak, and bad-guy shooting games like Time Crisis, T2: The Arcade Game, and Virtua Cop reigned supreme as eaters of quarters. In 1997, Sega released their popular House of the Dead, which threw zombies into the mix. Actually, though, they weren’t the first. Two years earlier, Konami was the first (predating Resident Evil, even) to jump on the graphic horror shoot ’em up bandwagon. Or I guess more accurately, they got the bandwagon rolling with tonight’s game, Crypt Killer.

(Not to be confused with the Sega CD’s Corpse Killer. Or the Crypt-Keeper.)

Crypt Killer (or Henry Explorers as it’s bizarrely titled in Japan) was one of the coolest-looking games you could find in the arcades of the time. Not only did it have a big wide-screen monitor, but the light guns weren’t just guns – they were freaking shotguns, complete with a pump action to reload. This was the bridging link in totally sweet light guns between the T2 game’s force-feedback Uzi and Time Crisis‘ GunCon with a cycling slide. For probably the first time ever, a game offered a gun that felt┬ásubstantial instead of a flimsy plastic pistol.

The first and perhaps only game to offer you a genuine BOOMSTICK! with which to take down the undead.

As for the gameplay itself, it puts you in the shoes of a, uh, dude with a gun, as he’s guided by Professor X’s disembodied head to find something called the “Eyes of Guidance” through various locations around the world. This, ladies and gentlemen, is called an excuse plot. It gives you the excuse you need to load up and start blasting away at ghouls and skeletons. There’s actually a pretty nice variety of monsters – mummies, fishmen, zombies (naturally!) – all rendered in the full glory that a Silicon Graphics workstation could muster in the mid-1990s.

Now that's a face you can trust.

Like most light gun games, it’s a fun, if ultimately pretty shallow, experience. It also subscribes to the typical light gun school of ┬ábeing cheesy enough to grate over a burrito. Crypt Killer (I’ve had to go back several times to make sure I didn’t type Crypt-Keeper) has no pretensions of being deep (it’s an arcade game!). It’s just a dumb, fun way to spend a half hour blasting zombies. Sounds like the perfect rail shooter to me.

View Previous Fortnight of Fright: Monster Party

View Next Fortnight of Fright: Splatterhouse (1988)

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