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Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: ‘Haunting’

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chris-littlechild - June 4, 2014

If you're unfortunate enough to be, y'know, not effing living any more, we have two things to say. Firstly, we salute your keyboard skills (typing when you're non-corporeal has got to pose a challenge) and your great taste at cruising over to Egotastic! Second, this is not the way to haunt. Don't try this at home, or any other poor bastard's home. This is Being An Ass: The Game, right here.

Haunting is an obscure Genesis/Mega Drive title from 1993. It's an action game starring Polterguy, the ghost of a teen punk rebel. He was killed in an accident with a defective skateboard, and is now tormenting the family of big business dude Vito Sardini, who produced the faulty product. But that's just how punks were. When they weren't dicking around on skateboards, they were possessing beds and making giant ‘teeth' grow out of the mattress.

Of course they were. Damn punks and their demon-beds.

Ogling a creepy plant with face-flowers without your pants on, huh? We've all been there.

Anywho, you begin the game in the Sardini's first home, invisible to the family. Being the kind of fancy-ass yuppies they are, it is festooned with gadgetry and general 'stuff.' All of these assorted mod-cons are known as Fright-ems (items), and it is these you use to scare each member of the household. Any objects around the home with a certain evil aura can be jumped into, and ‘set', so that any approaching Sardinis crap their undercrackers.

There are around 100 Fright-Ems in each house, and there are a few different categories. Some must be manually activated when your prey approaches, while others will take effect automatically. The third variety is directly controlled, like a toy doll you can use to chase down your quarry. They have an array of different effects, a lot of which are rather creepy (think that sudden fang-y piano moment from Super Mario 64), and this lends the game a great horror/comedy charm.

Apparently, we all spoke like this in the nineties.

Your objective with all of this poltergeist-ing is to scare all four members of the family out of the house, which constitutes completing that stage. Consulting the map will show you where Ma, Pa, brother and sister Sardini are each located, and you then use everything at your disposal in that room to increase their fright meter. When it's high enough, they'll flee to another room, or out of the building entirely if they are next to an exit.

But you don't have all the damn time you want to do so. Simply existing in the world above uses up your stock of ectoplasm. Should this be exhausted, you'll be transported to a craptastic underworld dungeon to find more. It's not exactly easy to miss --we all know ectoplasm is that fluorescent green shit Slimer leaves behind him in Ghostbusters-- but it's still a pain in the ass. Particularly so considering that these dungeons are the only places you are vulnerable to damage.

All in all, Haunting is a real cult classic for the console. It's inventive, funny and deeply bizarre. You don't often get to see bratty little boys pee themselves at a gateway to hell briefly opening in their bedroom floors, after all. A must for any serious Genesis collection.

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