(DOS/Commodore CDTV, Delta 4 Interactive, 1993)
That should run a chill down the spine of any gamer in their mid-thirties.
The dawn of CD based gaming was instantly seen as a way to supplement real video footage in place of doing any actual work designing graphics, characters, backgrounds and such. The early 90's was drowned in such entertainment (questionable word choice) on fledging new CD consoles such as the 3DO, CDi and Sega Mega-Cd.
All terrible machines. Fact.
|£15 for the lot, You pay me.|
I remember reading short, forgotten reviews about an interactive movie that appeared around this time on the PC and the first ever CD based console, the Commodore Amiga CD-TV
|Ever used one of these? Liar.|
A scary pair of eyes stare out from behind the game's title logo, sinister stuff indeed.
|You know it's a real game because it's ADULT|
Fast forward twenty years later and, whilst browsing a site for DOS abandonware, my eyes set upon a title, a title that literally unlocks a memory long since buried under stacks of old gaming magazines and episodes of Knightmare in my brain.
Psycho Killer is here..
and I can finally play it..
and Fuck Me is it rubbish.
|If this picture excites you, you're gonna LOVE Psycho Killer|
Also, on the PC release, all the colour has been compressed out, giving everything a fugly, one tone palette.
The narrative is as simple as this: Three people, A geeky protagonist, the anorak-sporting PSYCHO KILLER and some girl as a damsel in distress, chase each other around a muddy field in an area we Brits refer to as "The Home Counties" that is to say, very sparse farmland moors, completely lacking in life, animals and interest.
Gameplay consists of moving through a series of locations/photographs, choosing whether to go one way or the other. Every so often, our completely unbelievable Psycho Killer will attack, and you have to click on something on the screen to avoid death, such as his weapon or his bored looking oik face.
|"Eat my Reeboks, Freak-Face": ACTUAL DIALOGUE|
Occasionally, the killer speaks, and he hilariously sounds just like a walkman when the batteries are running out.
There is little to no direction given to the player as he stumbles through endless sequences of tree photography, or even a heads up on what to do when danger strikes. Thus, much death will occur as the player fails to realise when they were supposed to perform an action, or that those four grainy pixels in a murky photograph were actually an essential item that needed collecting.
|Psycho Killer presents its myriad of gameplay options|
And that was that.
I'd completed the game. Less than forty five minutes after booting it.
On release, Psycho Killer cost around £30. I had finished it in a little over a half-hour, like you would a browser game on a rainy afternoon. This is hilarious today, when people now constantly bitch because some Blockbuster Xbox game was "only" 15 hours long.
Admittedly, I have been a bit mean to Psycho Killer, because at the end of the day, it was just a low budget production, and it at least deserves praise for having the inspiration to quickly latch on to the just-birthed Interactive Fiction market. A market that is still going today in its own form, with games such as Hotel Dusk and Virtue's Last Reward.
So I'm not bashing the game's developers for their work, though they should have known better than to cast some guy who looks like the school playground weed dealer as their machete wielding homicidal lunatic.
|Seconds later, he fell into the river and drowned... OR DID HE? (yes, he did)|
It's probably the worst Interactive Movie ev....
(From the internets: The game in its entirety, including Tutorial and death scenes)