Arcade Games

Weird Games: Chiller

Chiller - Arcade game - gameplay screenshot

Weird Games: Chiller

I have always liked shooting games. From the simple BB gun shooting games at carnivals to games like Operation Wolf and Time Crisis, there was something about shooting at things that made my young self smile. Then there was Chiller which took the arcade shooter and added horror and gore and scared little boy J.A. forever.

Chiller was first released to the arcades in 1986 from publisher Exidy and the game consisted of several different screens of horror settings like torture chambers and graveyards. Now you would think the goal would be to save the helpless victims trapped there and to shoot and the bad guys holding them there, but you would be wrong, horribly wrong.

Chiller - Arcade game - gameplay screenshot

Your mission is to figure out how to kill every victim on the screen the fastest way possible. Now you would think that all you would have to do is shoot the victims outright, but I guess being trapped in their living nightmare has given them super powers or something because if you try just shooting them it takes too much time to kill them and you lose.

The challenge is finding ways to activate the torture devices or other means to kill the victims. So an example of that would be shooting a lever on a stretching rack to pull the victim apart. There are also bonuses for shooting all targets on each screen which results in a bonus round, as if shooting off chunks of flesh and bone wasn’t enough.

Chiller - Arcade game - gameplay screenshot

Now this game was released in the U.S. for the NES and used the light gun to shoot. Obviously there were differences in the NES release including a storyline which said the victims were monsters not people (I guess that makes torture ok).  Here is the storyline in a nutshell:

“Back in the middle ages a castle on the outskirts of town has been invaded by an evil force which is causing the dead to come back to life! You need to stop this force before it can create a large army and take over the town. …Each level also has 8 talismans hidden in it; you need to find and destroy these to stop the monsters from appearing.”

We have talked about Nintendo Censorship before so what was censored in this version of Chiller? Well, the infamous “shoot the clothes off the half buried woman” part was removed as well as things like shooting off the flesh of the victims and the body parts spread across many of the levels. Strangely enough one weird change was in the original was a monk hauling a wheel barrel of body parts across the screen. This was replaced with a nun pushing a baby carriage and yet you could shoot the nun.


Serious Nintendo WTF.

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J.A. Laraque

J.A. Laraque is a freelance writer and novelist. His passion for writing mixed with a comedic style and intelligent commentary has brought him success in his various endeavors. Whatever the subject, J.A. has an opinion on it and will present it in writing with an insight and flair that is both refreshing and informative.

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