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Chiller is an Exidy light gun arcade game released in 1986. An unlicensed port was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990 by American Game Cartridges, with the option of using either the standard controller or the NES Zapper.
Some consider Chiller to be the most gratuitously violent video game released to that point—it is the only game to have been permanently banned in the UK. The gameplay includes shooting (among other targets) the appendages of living people who are bound and chained in a dungeon setting. The graphics depict flesh being ripped off in chunks.
A player's goal is to shoot everything that there is on the screen, both animated characters (ghosts, zombies, humans) and inanimate elements of the background. There are four unique screens detailing various horror scenarios and settings, a torture chamber, a rack room, a hallway, and a cemetery. For each screen, shooting all available targets gives the player a bonus shooting round. The game features a Ghost counter on-screen scoring system named the "Ectoplasmic Tabulator". It has very similar gameplay to "Crossbow" and other related Exidy 440 board system games.
Artwork was drawn using 4-position joysticks.
Chiller's name was a not-so-veiled reference to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video which was very popular at the time the game was made. The MSX version featured a music theme inspired by Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music track.
Arcade and NES game differences
- The NES version has a storyline, telling us what the arcade and this version was all about. "Back in the middle ages a castle on the outskirts of town has been invaded by an evil force which is causing the dead to come back to life! You need to stop this force before it can create a large army and take over the town. ...Each level also has 8 talismans hidden in it; you need to find and destroy these to stop the monsters from appearing."
- The horrific head seen in "Hallway" chasing a woman merely travels across the room in the NES version, with the Arcade's horrific head appearing from the end of the Hallway, coming quite close to the screen, then moving to the side, chasing the woman. This may have been because of the NES' lack of scaling features.
- There is an on-screen scoring system that was originally called the "Ectoplasmic Tabulator" but due to screen resolution limitations was changed to "Monster Meter (TM)".
- The "items" used to play the bonus shooting stage in the arcade version are referred to as "Talismans"
- The levels are played in reverse to the arcade game:
- Torture Chamber - 1
- Rack Room - 2
- Hallway - 3
- Graveyard - 4
- Torture Chamber - 4
- Rack Room - 3
- Hallway - 2
- Graveyard - 1
These events were removed or changed from the NES version.
- The nudity in Graveyard
- Shooting off the flesh of the people of the Rack Room level.
- The monk pushing a cart full of body parts was changed to a nun pushing a baby carriage for the NES. Disturbingly, the nun can still be shot.
- A large amount of the body parts on the floor of Torture Chamber were removed.
- The zombie hand that pulls a head out of a grave and throws it into an open grave can be shot multiple times, and will always count on the Monster Meter.
- There is no indication of the location of certain items on the NES version of "Hallway". Where there is moss around these areas in the Arcade version, there is a normal floor pattern over these areas with no difference from the rest of the floor.