The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Version 2 (Wizard Video)
Since I talked about it so much in the previous review it seems only fair that I review The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Version 2. This version of the game was never released even though it seems Wizard Video already had packaging planned and produced before scrapping the game to release the one programmed by Ed Salvo. The guy who programmed this version, Robert H O’Neil, was also responsible for Polaris from Tigervision and the unreleased Flesh Gordon that Wizard games was going to try and shoehorn out as the first ‘Adult’/pornographic game on the system. In my opinion Version 2 is the superior game let me tell you why, starting with the graphics of course.
I’ll admit that the graphics in V2 are not as good as V1’s. The playfield is made up of rainbow squares with a rainbow border, as this is a prototype I don’t know if these were intended to be the final graphics but what we currently have really doesn’t instill much confidence. The sprites used for Leatherface and the Man with the Gun are small and rather cute, they remind me of the bear sprite in I Want My Mommy. Actually the premise of this game is quite interchangeable due to how vague the sprites are, you could in fact be a school teacher chasing a naughty student with a ruler, or a medieval knight chasing an archer through a forest, the game could have been anything. Due to the graphics being so lackluster I’m not looking forward to the sounds, since bad graphics almost always lead to subpar sounds.
Much of the game is played in silence; you’ll only start to hear sounds as you close in on the victim much like in V1. Unlike in V1 you won’t be hearing an extremely high pitched beep whenever you get near the victim, instead you hear the chainsaw start up, and you’ll only hear the victim scream after you catch them. Speaking of the scream, in V2 it doesn’t hurt my ears, due to it being played fairly infrequently and since the sounds used are far better I’d say that this is a pretty good sound effect. The only other sounds you’ll hear are the sounds of the timer running out, which is fairly startling, and the sound made when you press the action button, but I’ll get to that in the gameplay section.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre V2 is a cat and mouse type game where player one as Leatherface must catch player two who is the Man with the Gun as seen on the box art for both versions of the game. The playfield is set up is a grid pattern but the rows are staggered so there are few horizontal straightaways but plenty of vertical ones. This is definitely a game of strategy as you must lure the second player into traps that you’ve laid, by pressing the action button you can drop rainbow squares that will block the path. Leatherface can move through these blocks but player two cannot. Player two isn’t completely helpless though since he has a gun and can shoot Leatherface. This leads to an interesting strategic conflict as player two must remain in the straightaways but player one can block those off and force them into the grid where the gun cannot be used as effectively, it’s actually a very good idea for a game. The game even has AI for player two so all the Lonely Larry’s out there can play the game without a second person, the AI isn’t smart but it will exploit your weaknesses very well so you’ll have to plan very far ahead to trap and kill him.
This game needs very little improvement, perhaps a larger or more complex playfield a different color palette and different character sprites. The core gameplay and sounds need little to no improvement and work quite well, perhaps even better than the version that got released. Since this is a prototype game it was never released but you can play it if you have an UNO or Harmony Cart, I’ll provide a LINK to Atarimania so you can download the game for yourself if you want to play it. It really is a pity that this game never got released.