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
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.