Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Alternate Version)


This prototype is interesting because it is a completely different game than the version that was released.  It is unknown if Wizard had asked two different programmers to submit designs for a game, or if they decided to change it completely after negative play testing.  This version was done by programmer Robert H. O'Neil who also did Polaris for Tigervision.

Unlike the released version, this prototype really doesn't have much to do with the movie (which could be why it was changed).  In this game you still control Leatherface (complete with chainsaw), but the action all takes place on one screen.  The screen is full of rainbow colored blocks which you must navigate through to catch your victim.  However the victim in this version isn't defenseless against your chainsaw, this time he's armed with a gun!

However different the gameplay may be, your ultimate goal is still the same; kill as many victims as possible!  In this version Leatherface has developed the power to produce rainbow blocks (I told you it didn't have much to do with the movie!), which he can use to trap his victim.  Once you have your victim cornered, Leatherface can proceed to chop him up into chunky beef stew (just like momma used to make!).  Leatherface can only place two blocks on the screen at any given time, after which the earliest one will disappear to make room for the new one.  Also, blocks will only remain on the screen for 15 seconds before disappearing.  The victim will attempt to shoot Leatherface with is gun, scoring one point for each direct hit.  Likewise Leatherface scores one point for each time he slices the victim.

There is a small red bar at the bottom of the screen which serves as a timer.  When the timer runs out there are four long warning beeps and the game ends.  Whoever has the highest score when the game ends wins.  For a game based on a horror film this kind of ending seems a bit lame, as there's no finality to it (you never totally kill the victim, and he never shoots you to death).  However it does allow Leatherface to actually win, which is something he can't do in the other version (you always eventually run out of gas).

Unlike the released version, this prototype has a two-player mode, which allows one player to control the victim while the other controls Leatherface.  This small feature enormously increases the playability of the game, and actually keeps it interesting.  Another interesting feature of the two-player mode is that the players actually switch characters from time to time; this keeps one player from too badly overpowering the other.

While this version is an interesting departure from the released game, it seems too bland for a horror game.  The released version had more blood, more action, and less strategy involved (all things horror buffs were looking for).  It's a shame that this version never saw the light of day, as the graphics could have easily have been reworked into something a bit more innocuous and released to a wider audience.  This prototype was originally found by Paul Nurminen in a LA thrift store, and sold on E-bay to an unknown bidder.  The current owner of this prototype is unknown, and it has unfortunately never been dumped.  Let's hope the owner turns up eventually, or this surely one of a kind prototype may be lost forever.


Wow!  The colors!


Maybe it was a good idea they dumped this version afterall...



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