Chiller (NES) Playthrough – NintendoComplete

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A playthrough of American Game Cartridge’s unlicensed 1990 horror-themed light gun game for the NES, Chiller.

For being an unlicensed title, Chiller is a surprisingly reasonable conversion from the arcade game. It looks nowhere near as good as the 1986 Exidy arcade game (maybe a good thing, depending on how realistic you want the … imagery), but the game play is pretty similar. Beside the censorship in this port (there are no longer any people that are completely naked, the people are now undead “monsters”), the stages are all fairly accurate depictions of the original game.

Like most light-gun shooters, the primary goal in Chiller is to hit a high score. There is a secondary objective in place, though. If you find each of the talismans in all four stages (which are easy to find since each shot will reveal where all of the available targets are), you can play a bonus round that features a bunch of spooky stuff to shoot at in front of a shadowy haunted mansion background.

It was apparently banned (at least, the arcade version) in many countries for the imagery and the tasks at hand, but the NES version, in its low-resolution, low-color glory, doesn’t horrify as much as it amuses. That’s not to say that some of it isn’t a bit disturbing, though – I mean, the man’s head in the vice? Ugh.

The music is pretty monotonous, but I have to say that I’m a huge fan of the heavily distorted screaming samples.

This would be entirely disturbing if it were photorealistic… .a PSN remake, mayhaps? But as it is, Chiller is pretty entertaining for the short time that it lasts. The same four stages cycle repeatedly, but as the monster count increases with each round, you’ll soon find yourself looking at the game over screen.

It’s quite fun, especially as a novelty to pull out around Halloween, but it won’t keep your attention for longer than ten minutes or so. Still, if you want something that boldly differentiates itself from the other NES Zapper games, this will probably fit the bill quite nicely.

I know I’m glad to still have my pristine, complete copy sitting on the shelf.

And a completely random but sort-of neat bit of trivia for anyone that cares – the company that released this in the US, AGCI, was actually an offshoot of ShareData. Yes, the same ShareData responsible for all of those late 80s DOS game show games. Around 1990 IJE decided that, rather than licensing the games to ShareData for publication, they could make more profit by self-publishing the games. Thus, GameTek was born. So, if you ever want to impress someone with how you can connect Chiller to Wheel of Fortune, there’s your 7 Degrees of Kevin Bacon link. It’s not particularly important, but it’s pretty interesting nonetheless.
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No cheats were used during the recording of this video.

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17 comments

  1. evilspin 3 July, 2020 at 16:51 Reply

    Hmmm this was more progressive and depicted gore more than Mortal Kombat 1 and Nintendo let this fly by. This is even creepier

  2. apcsox 3 July, 2020 at 16:51 Reply

    My mom worked at a video rental store and always ended up getting games for cheap when they were no longer new. This was one of the random ones I had on the NES back in the day. Found it at Funspot in Laconia NH right by the front door, excitedly played it. First thing my girlfriend (10 years younger than me, born during the N64 era) says to me is “what the fuck is this game? This is fucked up!” 😂😂😂

  3. mr mrmr 3 July, 2020 at 16:51 Reply

    I remember seeing an advertisement for this game in the back of old Game Pro magazines for the NES, and I always wanted to know what the game was. The advertisement made it seem like the game was banned. Thanks for the upload.

  4. Gabriella Torres 3 July, 2020 at 16:51 Reply

    This game was so weird that it wouldn't even work on my old NES deck for some reason! Good thing it was just a rental.lol

  5. johneygd 3 July, 2020 at 16:51 Reply

    Despites this version is meager compared to the arcade version, it really pushes the nes hardware to it’s limit.
    What’s unique about this (optional) lightgun game is that there’re over 13 targets onscreen whereas other lightgun games only has atleast 3 targets on screen wich you had to shoot.

  6. Super Nintendo Chalmers 3 July, 2020 at 16:51 Reply

    I hope you know how much I appreciate your spooky themed games this month.
    Chiller rules, they had a machine in the bowling alley I went to as a little kid

  7. NintendoComplete 3 July, 2020 at 16:51 Reply

    It's quite tame compared to the arcade version, but Chiller is still pretty "progressive" as far as stuff goes on the NES. It's also fun despite its brevity and simplicity. If you want something fun to try on Halloween, this is quite a cool retro oddity.

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