Wow. This is just special.
As far as horror movies go, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of my all-time favorites. It’s gritty, realistic, and unsettling, despite very little gore being shown on-screen. This is due in part to the low-budget nature of the production, as well as the genius of director Tobe Hooper. Of course, the film was a huge hit, spawning several sequels, as well as… a video game?
Yes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre had a video game, of all things… on the Atari 2600 no less. The game was highly controversial at the time, and many stores refused to stock it due to its violent content. Those that did stock it usual kept it hidden out of public view, and it needed to be requested specially, much like the infamous Atari porn games.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre would be hard to translate to game form as is, but on the Atari? Geeze. Well, let’s take a look.
Yes, this… thing is indeed supposed to be Leatherface, and is in fact the character you control. That blue tendril protruding from his chest is his chainsaw, and the pixels rotate around it as you rev it up. This would be pretty cool if it wasn’t the same color as his outfit. Christ, he looks like a sad muppet.
Being an Atari game, the gameplay is very simple. You run around with the joystick, and try to murder girls. Sounds like family entertainment to me. When you find a girl, a high-pitched beep plays, which I’m assuming is supposed to be them screaming.
Pressing the button revs up the chainsaw, which of course kills the girl if it touches her. However, this is easier said than done, as the girl will “teleport” behind Leatherface several times. I’m assuming this is her narrowly evading him or something. You’ll also notice that you have a fuel meter on the top of the screen. This is, essentially, Leatherface’s life meter. It drops slowly as you walk around, but goes down faster if you rev up your chainsaw. So obviously, it’s best to avoid using your chainsaw until the time is right.
However, there’s all sorts of obstacles along the way, from cow skulls to fences to wheelchairs. If you bump into one of these, you get stuck and have no choice but to chainsaw your way through, costing you precious fuel. Don’t know how the hell Leatherface can get stuck on a bale of hay, but he never was very bright.
Also, let’s take a look at that background for a second. First of all, check out the size of that truck relative to the house. Second, check out the size of those trees relative to both of them! Then again, I guess I shouldn’t be nitpicking this game, of all things.
And that’s really all I have to say about it. To tell you the truth, I’ve played FAR worse games. I mean sure, this sucks. But it’s the Atari, so you’ve got to give it at least a little leeway. I don’t particularly reccomend playing it, but hey, your call.
And believe it or not, this wasn’t the only horror franchise made into an Atari game…