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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Atari 2600) artwork

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Atari 2600) review

"The review you are about to see is an account of the tragedy inflicted by the developer Wizard Games. It is all the more tragic that they were very young. But, had they lived very, very long lives, they could not have expected nor would they have wished to release as much of the crappy and lame as they were to release that day. For them an idyllic console game became a nightmare.
The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre."

No, your eyes don’t deceive you – someone really had the balls to go and make a video game out of the infamous Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That knowledge alone probably isn’t going shock someone familiar with the 2600’s proud tradition of dick-munching alligators and ornery cowboy rapists, but in a bit of a switch you actually portray a famished Leatherface as he chases down helpless girls and then butchers them for dinner.

While playing the role of a frenzied cannibal might have had slightly more impact if he wasn’t a bright blue blob sporting a misshapen gourd in place of a head and a water faucet protruding from his chest, in all honesty it doesn’t make much of a difference. The most offensive thing about this game isn’t the ghastly premise; it’s the mind-numbingly awful gameplay. With your puttering chainsaw burning gas the entire time, an average playthrough consists mostly of blundering into the wheelchairs and thorny bushes that fill up the screen and stop you dead in your tracks until you waste more fuel to escape them.

When you do catch up with one of your innocent dinner guests, easily differentiated from the not-so-innocent bushes in that they magically teleport behind you while a phone rings, you casually rend them into hamburger, run around some more, and eventually run out of fuel. Then your would-be victim kicks you in the butt. Since you’re constantly losing fuel and yet have to score a ton of kills in order to get a refill, this is pretty much guaranteed to occur in less than five minutes.

So while it certainly pushes the envelope in terms of content even by today’s standards, this massacre of good taste quickly runs out of gas both metaphorically and quite literally. Wizard’s stab at Halloween is actually surprisingly decent, but this one’s so bad it could probably give even that evil-smelling General Custer nightmares.

Rating: 1/10

sho's avatar
Staff review by Sho (July 30, 2006)

Sho enjoys classic video games, black comedy, and poking people until they explode -- figuratively or otherwise. He also writes a bit.

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