Haunted House XBLA impressions

In 1981 Atari released what was essentially one of the pioneers of the survival horror genre called Haunted House. The game consisted of three floors where the hero is only depicted by two floated eyes(to project just how dark the house was). The player guides a character named Zachary Graves through a dark mansion to acquire an urn while fighting off bats, spiders and ghosts.

The 2010 Haunted House remake’s story involves a brother and sister,Jacob and Silvia Silverspring, as they search a ridiculously dark mansion for their grandfather and the scattered pieces of his urn. The gameplay consists of searching treasure chests, shelves, bookcases and desks for keys, journal pages, treasures and various light emitting apparati. You must use matches, candles, torches etc to defeat ghosts, gargoyles, rats, bats and other creatures that constantly pursue you. The simple matches and cellphones you have in the beginning are quite weak compared to the torches, candles and lanterns you acquire later. Haunted House is somewhat enjoyable in the early stages as you discover your first item upgrades and see ghosts and rats vanish in the light of the fireplaces you ignite or torches you drop. But that initial fun fades quickly as the game gets rather repetitive.  You may find yourself just searching for the keys or levers to open doors to complete the levels as opposed to exploring for treasures or journal pages. I did appreciate the simple bit of puzzle solving gameplay using lanterns to walk through walls. The game also has a Clue reference as some of the treasures you acquire are clearly weapons from the popular board game. There is also a bit of a twist that would likely be appreciated by fans of the original game. If you are a fan of the original I would suggest trying the XBLA demo and seeing if the update is for you. If you are not familiar with it, the XBLA demo is still worth a try if you have some time to kill and nothing else to play.

Full Disclosore

-This game was provided to me by Atari

-I did not complete the game, hence these are my impressions and not a review