Credit: Murder House on Steam, store.steampowered.com/app/1064460/Murder_House/.
By Iman Ahsan
Puppet Combo, the creator of Babysitter’s Bloodbath and The Nun’s Massacre, presents you with Murder House, another classic 80s slasher that has you gripped by fear and sitting on the edge of your seat.
Murder House is a survival horror game where the player must solve puzzles and look for hidden objects while avoiding a psychotic killer. The game starts off with a brief (yet terrifying) prologue where the player controls a young boy who gets locked in a mall and must try to find an exit while unknowingly being watched from afar by a mysterious presence.
Following the prologue, the player now plays as Emma, an intern working with the local news crew, who breaks into the abandoned house of an executed serial killer in order to film a haunting documentary about the horrific crimes committed here. However, things quickly go downhill when the crew finds themselves trapped at the house. Has the killer, Anthony Smith, “The Easter Ripper,” rose from the grave, or has he been here this whole time?
Unlike Puppet Combo’s previous games, Murder House has a lot of character. It features voice acting, which helps give more personality and depth to each character, making them distinctive and animated. In addition, the inner monologue of Emma adds a lot to her disposition, which establishes a connection between her and the player and allows them to become emotionally invested in her. The game also has a tranquil, atmospheric soundtrack that is enough to let one’s guards down for a brief moment. However, don’t get too relaxed with the soundtrack because it will quickly shift to a more disturbing tone that almost sounds like distorted screaming as the game progresses.
The game keeps the scares to a limit; they aren’t overused, and they occur when appropriate. You’re not constantly being chased around by the deranged seven-foot purple bunny killer, which gives you time to thoroughly search the house for items and learn more about the gruesome, unspoken horrors that took place in this cursed house. Another plus is the game isn’t dragged out. You’re constantly progressing, and there may be a few spots where you feel lost, but you’ll never be completely stuck in the same spot. Eventually, you’ll be able to figure it out and overcome it. Not once did the game ever feel like a drag, but do be warned that you’ll be constantly moving back and forth throughout the house due to the numerous tasks you’re faced with just to obtain certain items.
Murder House successfully captures the terrifying element of being stalked by an unknown presence. The PS1 graphics and unsettling ambiance amplifies the horror of this game, establishing an uncanny atmosphere that makes one feel relieved the minute they look away from their screen.
If you’re a fan of 80s slashers and can handle the excessive gore and scarring animations, then Murder House is for you.