It's a Virtual Console Halloween

Welcome to Living in the Past, a weekly column about what's new in old games. Now get off our lawn.

If you're going to be at home this Halloween, waiting to dispense candy and tinny Wilhelm screams to neighborhood children, why not pass the time with some spooky games? While it's easy to tell you to go play the latest zombie whatever or Castlevania, I am opting instead to mine the downloadable retro lineup of our most terrifying console: the Nintendo Wii.

There might still be some Castlevania.

It's a Virtual Console Halloween
  • Splatterhouse: A young woman is kidnapped and imprisoned in a monster-filled house, and her boyfriend is murdered in the same attack. Meanwhile, a man possessed by a demonic mask is destroying everything in sight. The twist is that the dead boyfriend is the possessed maniac, and is actually the protagonist of the piece.

  • Devil's Crush: Fight a transforming demon, dragons, giant skull monsters, undead knights and a weird druid-looking cult. In a pinball game. Devil's Crush is simultaneously the creepiest and the most metal album-cover like game in the era pre-Crüe Ball.

  • Ghouls 'n Ghosts: Gotta have one of these on the list. These are the canonical Halloween games, starting in a graveyard and ending with your inevitable death, a lone skeleton in boxer shorts, murdered without remorse by a playful red demon. And speaking of Firebrand, you can get his own game, Gargoyle's Quest, on 3DS.

  • Castlevania: Rondo of Blood: All right, there's a Castlevania game on here. I warned you. But if you haven't played this lost gem of the series, it's worth me being a total hack in a Halloween feature. Originally released on the PC Engine CD-ROM in Japan, it didn't come to America until this Virtual Console release and the Dracula X Chronicles on PSP. Not only is it a great game, it's an interesting transitional step between vintage Castlevania and Symphony of the Night.

  • Kid Chameleon: It's a game about wearing masks! In the game, putting on a mask transforms you into a different person with different abilities. I can dress up like a knight in real life, but somehow it doesn't allow me to scale walls. On the upside, it might prevent me from dying when I try.

  • Summer Games II: Just kidding.

Let other people wear costumes and go to parties. You can sit at home on your couch and play old games! Those suckers may not ever see Devil's Crush's bonus stages because they're all too busy socializing or whatever.

[Splatterhouse image: HG101]