It's Friday, so it's time for Friday Flash. And it's not just any Friday: it's the Friday before Halloween!
That's right, this Tuesday is the one day a year we set aside to be scared. Okay, not really, but that's supposed to be the idea somehow. Last night out before All Saint's Day or some such. The point is, there might be a scary game or two in this week's installment. That's all I'm saying.
Every Friday I provide you with three (or more) games to play in your web browser, so long as your browser supports the Adobe Flash Player. I test each game on Mac and Windows, and try to let you know if there is sound or music involved, in case you are trying to play quietly.
De-Animator is based (loosely) on "stories by H.P. Lovecraft," but in the end it comes down to shooting zombies. It always comes down to shooting zombies, doesn't it?
The backgrounds are randomly generated and brilliantly designed, and the action is simple: shoot the zombies. But you're shooting with a revolver at first, so be sure you time your shots somewhat carefully and remember to reload by clicking again. Allow time for reloading, too. A couple of hints: your shots are more effective when you manage to shoot the zombies as they rise from the grave. Also, head shots are a good place to start, though headless zombies require a torso shot. And starting on level two or three, you begin to find shotgun shells everywhere. That's handy, because a shotgun shell is worth a couple revolver rounds; use the shift key to switch between weapons. And be careful, because that takes time, too!
There is sound — it starts once you click PLAY from the menu — but the game really, really needs it. It's atmospheric, so if you can play with it on, do so. Be warned that playing this game really late at night can creep you out. Once you get past about 100 zombies killed, you find yourself really involved in the game, and the closer they get to the part where they dismember you, the easier it is to forget you're sitting comfortably at home.
The fine folks at Dig Your Own Grave Productions have created a masterpiece with Stickman Madness. The graphics are deceptively simple, but make no mistake — this is not a thrown-together game. The choice of stickmen is stylistic, and leaves plenty of room for blood and gore.
It's a shooter, so your job is to shoot all the bad guys. You can identify them because they're the ones pointing guns at you. So hurry. And of course, don't forget to reload! Use the spacebar for that in this game. As you manage to clear an area, the game will automatically move and pivot you so you can face a new collection of bad guys, and be careful! You don't want to find your own dead body hanging in a meat locker somewhere.
The sound starts as the game loads, with a heartbeat. It continues throughout the animated intro and the game itself. I found it helpful to right-click and change the quality setting from High to Medium on my 2002 iMac to accelerate things.
It's getting a little intense in here, so let's chill out with something a little lighter: Whack-A-Ghoul. It's from Ben & Jerry's — the ice cream company — so you know it's not too bloody. It's also really, really hard, because those ghouls pop up (mole-style) out of their graves way too quickly to actually follow.
If your experience is anything like mine, you'll hit 16 out of 99 ghouls, and the game will mock you at the end. Then again, if you spend less time reading the clever tombstone epitaphs and more time trying to whack the ghouls, perhaps you'll do better than I did. They don't pop up when you wait for them, by the way, but they definitely pop up as soon as you move away!
There is sound once the game starts.
And that's the Halloween edition of Friday Flash. Tune in next week when we'll take a trip around the globe!