Horror Business: Pre-Saturn Horror-inspired Games

Games have been inspired by horror for as long as they’ve been based on war and sports. From Haunted House on the Atari 2600 to Ghosts’n Goblins in the arcade, horror-inspired games began emerging in the 80s and instantly found an audience. These early titles may not have offered the calculated, cinematic scares of the survival horror games from the late-90s, but the ability to play in worlds inhabited by ghouls, ghosts, zombies, vampires, and monsters was enough for players.

Sega platforms saw many horror-inspired releases in the pre-Saturn era. This is a sampling of those games, varying not only in terms of quality, but in the way they approach the frightening and macabre…

(Click on the title screen for the full write-up)

Master System

“There are cracks in the walls, sticky spider webs, invisible pitfalls (ala Simon’s Quest), and coffins everywhere.”

“The in-game creepiness comes from little things like statues (or mannequins?) attacking after you walk by them and furniture coming to life and hurtling towards Dr. Social…”


“The scares (which there are apparently over 400 of) range from silly to pretty grotesque (the washing machine filled with blood and body parts comes to mind).”

“In the eight stages of Splatterhouse 2 you will find puking mounted deer heads, misshapen twitching corpses, bloody skulls, bodies impaled on spikes, and more gruesome delights.”

“The intricately designed creatures are repugnant, and nearly every room has some sort of gruesome touch to it, whether it be a small bloodstain on a couch or piles of dismembered torsos.”


“The parts missing from the game are intriguing and fun to spot for seasoned veterans of the PC original (such as myself) and the soundtrack, with its strange and sparse tones due to hardware limitations, actually creates an additional layer of dread for the player.”

Master System / Game Gear / Genesis / Sega CD

“The game uses digitized characters and backgrounds…”

Bonus: The Tragic History of Castlevania Games on Sega Platforms

About ryan

This entry was posted in 32X, Castlevania, Game Gear, Genesis, Horror, Master of Darkness, Master System, Mega Drive, Sega CD and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s