Don’t call it a comeback! Two Halloween-themed games that were originally released for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System have now been resurrected for the Nintendo Switch. Creepy Brawlers and Haunted: Halloween ’86 (The Curse of Possum Hollow) are especially nostalgic for those that have played the original titles on the NES. For the past week, I played both games for the first time.
Creepy Brawlers, released by Mega Cat Studios, sets the scene in black and white with a crowd heckling a horror movie. In the midst of this, a hand juts out from the beyond, plucking an audience member from their seat, and forcefully immerses them into the world beyond the silver screen. You then play as this character – the protagonist laces up and prepares to brawl against the various other antagonists in the game to win the championship and claim top spot above the various goons and goblins you have to face.
While the game’s premise is cool, the gameplay is fairly repetitive. Once a foe has been defeated, you are quickly subjected to the next one. There is no overarching story or plot that continually builds as each foe meets their demise. As I continued on my quest for greatness, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a similar NES title, Punch-Out!!. This had been the first fighting game I’d played as a kid at my uncle’s apartment in New York while visiting family, and upon further inspection, the games are visually identical. It’s blatantly obvious that the title game gleaned inspiration from Punch-Out!!, as not much sets the games apart aside from the theme.
In being a casual gamer that loves a good beat ‘em up game, I do feel this title fell short. The overall premise was not enough to fully engage me, but it’s definitely something worth trying out. However, the game is also very easy to pick up and go back to whenever you want, so please check it out; it’s worth a try! Creepy Brawlers is available on the Nintendo eShop for a cool $6.29 CDN.
HAUNTED: Halloween ’86 (The Curse of Possum Hollow)
Now, this game was a lot of fun! This side-scrolling platformer by Retrotainment Games had a story that put the fight into perspective. You follow Donny and his tag team partner, Tami, back to their native Possum Town to fight their way to the game’s main antagonist, Harry, in order to restore peace. You also can switch between two characters at any point utilizing the game’s Tag Team Technology. As an upgrade to its original NES title, the combat system includes new attacks including the ability to decapitate your foes and use their head as a weapon.
While the story was engaging, it was slightly time-consuming at times to have to constantly click through. That aside, you are able to navigate various environments that fit the Halloween theme: dank, dark, dungeons, caves, and old mills. As you battle waves of the half-dead, being able to switch between Donny and Tami at will is very helpful for staying alive, as each has their own amounts of health. The only way to figure out how much damage has been displayed is by how green they turn before they turn into zombies themselves. By that point, it’s game over.
As the game progresses you can unlock more special attacks and charged attacks, which are especially helpful when more affluent baddies try to take you down. This game has been developed with a lot of love, and while there is room for improvement, I’d recommend this as a worthy addition to your roster! HAUNTED: Halloween ’86 (The Curse of Possum Hollow) is available for purchase from the Nintendo eShop for $12.49 CDN.