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Haunting – Starring Polterguy

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Released: 1993

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Developer: Electronic Arts

Submitted by: Ryan McNeilly

Electronic Arts can be accused of many things, but they were quite original once upon a time. “Haunting” was one of their most original concepts to be released on the Mega Drive.

The story is, to say the least, depressing. Vito Sardini owns a skateboarding company but his goods are not up to scratch, they are cheaply made. One day, a young boy buys a poorly crafted skateboard from Vito and unfortunately dies when the board breaks.

Seeking revenge, you come back to the land of the living as Polterguy! A spooky ghost who wants nothing more than to get revenge on Vito and the rest of the Sardini family for your untimely death! How are you going to do this? By scaring the crap out of them!

Throughout the entire game, you will never interact with the Sardinis (your a ghost!). Instead, you will be possessing items around their house such as the sofa or the microwave. Sounds ridiculous right?

The gameplay is based around you rigging items around the house and scaring each family member one by one until they can’t take it no more and must leave the house. For example, if Vito Sardini is in the garage, you can possess the lawnmower, turning it into a creepy monster. This will bring Vito’s fright level up. Once you have scared him enough, he will run out the house. Items which can be possessed will be lit up with a little blue light. There are some objects which you can further interact with and even control (such as the direction of the flying knives in the kitchen drawer). There are many objects to interact with and that’s what makes “Haunting” very fun to play the first time around.

You will find great enjoyment in watching all these creepy animations play out and the game becomes more of an observer’s sport. It’s a nice, original concept.

You have an ectoplasm bar which you must keep filled. Unfortunately, it will always deplete as you scare family members. Once depleted, you will go to the underground land of the dead where you will need to collect ectoplasm and reach the exit to return back to the Sardini household. Once you have scared all the members out of the house, you will move onto their next house.

Due to the camera angle of the game (isometric), Polterguy’s controls are a little awkward but nothing major that will ruin the game. If there is any kind of gripe with “Haunting”, it’s the fact that there is very little replay value. Once you have seen all the animations used for the scares, there isn’t really anything else to do. The game focuses on giving the player thrills with the quirky and fun scares, but that’s really as deep as the game gets.

A great idea which was original and fresh for it’s time and unfortunately never to really be seen again. If nothing, “Haunting” shows that Electronic Arts were very capable of new and original ideas (instead of sequels and sport sims).