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A horror-themed light gun game from Midway Games, CarnEvil is about... well, an evil carnival, set in the fictional town of Greely Valley, Iowa. The game starts off with a hayride/ghost tour making its way through a cemetery at night. One of the patrons hops off the ride and locates the grave of Professor Ludwig Von Tökkentäkker, which seems normal enough... save for the evil-looking jester statue on it and a token sticking out of a slot on the tombstone. Curious, he takes the token and puts it in the jester's mouth, where it promptly comes alive and nearly chomps his hand off. Next thing he knows, a carnival indeed comes out of the ground and traps him and presumably his tour inside of it with all manner of nasty and bizarre monsters. Luckily, he stumbles across the shooting gallery, which has real shotguns; he grabs one, and with his helpless friend Betty tagging along, prepares to blast his way out...or die trying.Released on Halloween 1998, CarnEvil is considered one of Midway's best arcade games note though still unreleased on a home console, giving House of the Dead some competition (both games came out the same year). But what people remember the most about the game is its rather surreal and dark humor, as well as its highly disturbing premise. Definitely not one for the kiddies.
Red Blood: Prevents you from dismembering enemies, consequently censoring Tökkentäkker's death as well.
Green Blood: Turns blood green, but it also censors Evil Marie's death (she starts to fall, then it cuts to the results).
None: Turns blood into smoke, also removes the flamethrower and acid bath weapons.
Two unrelated options allow you to replace Junior with Deaddy (a giant teddy bear) and/or prevent the Food Court enemies from making vulgargestures.
Airborne Mook: The bats in the Haunted House, the buzzing bees in Rickety Town, the human-headed flies in the Freak Show, and the Spanish-speaking imps in the Big Top level.
Amusement Park of Doom: Natch. The roller coaster is unfinished, so the player bails out before the car plummets over the edge and jumps onto the Ferris wheel. One of the seats of the tilt-a-whirl flies off the platform, and the player crashes through the wall surrounding the bumper car track.
Damsel in Distress: Betty, who you have to avoid shooting. Most of the time, the monsters are chasing her, and a few scenes suggest they caught her for the moment (showing her in a cage or in stocks), and a few bizarre scenes show her in the next car on the same carnival ride you're on, barely scared at all.
Day Old Legend: Played with. The players have been drawn to the grave by an old legend about an evil carnival, and Tökkentäkker's grave is dated 1898. Yet a lot of it seems to have been based on very modern carnivals, including things like a tilt-a-whirl, a Food Court, and a bumper car attraction that's designed as a nostalgic throwback to The Fifties.
Deadly Doctor: The crazed surgeons who appear in the center ring. They carry large saws and hypodermic needles.
Dem Bones: Skeletons appear, of course. The ones working in the Rickety Town food court even bleed.
Evil Hand: One hallway in the Haunted House has dangerous hands that come out of holes in the walls to swipe at the players when they pass through.
Excuse Plot: Well, a teenager is curious about this old story so he goes to the cemetery - dragging his girlfriend along - and then conjures this place up because he's curious. That's the whole excuse for him to beat the hell out of zombies. (In fact, bringing his girlfriend is just an excuse for her to appear from time to time for something to avoid hitting.)
And then he later finds the jester head again and starts the whole thing over.
Exposition Fairy: Umlaut at the start of every stage, giving the player a cute little poem about what they're in for. He's also the second-to-last boss.
Fake Difficulty: On occasion, enemies can hurt you even if they aren't onscreen, making it look like you're taking damage from nowhere.
Pixel Hunt: When you encounter a swarm of bats in the Haunted House stage, only one will actually attack you, but figuring out which one is nearly impossible. The same applies to Junior/Deaddy's barf attack.
Gatling Good: Machine guns are one of the weapon pick-ups in the game, and are found throughout all stages of the game.
Genre Blind or In Harm's Way: The player character is one of these two, though it's hard to tell which. He hops on evil flaming rollercoasters and barges through the zombie-invested Haunted House, climbs into the human cannonball cannon of his own free will and grabs the trapeze, and even after he wins he summons the CarnEvil again almost immediately.
Jump Scare: Pretty omnipresent, albeit this sort of thing is to be expected in a rail shooter.
Kill 'em All: The ending where you and Betty wake up in front of the tomb seems to imply that only the two of you survived while the rest of the tour group died.
Killer Rabbit: One of the oddities in the "Museum of the Slightly Curious" is a "Mechanical Killer Rabbit", with the internal mechanisms showing and holding a blood-stained dagger. But don't worry, it doesn't attack you.
Killer Teddy Bear: Deaddy, a giant teddy bear that can be substituted for Junior as the Freak Show boss.
Large Ham: Umlaut...isn't a fan of subtlety. Neither is Tökkentäkker.
Level Select: At the Shooting Gallery, the player is give a choice of three demented levels: the Haunted House, Rickety Town, and the Freak Show. The player can face these stages in any order they wish, but they must defeat all three in order to get to Tökkentäkker's Big Top.
Museum of the Strange and Unusual: The "Museum of the Slightly Curious", a small alcove full of oddities. Some of these include a "Thing in a Bottle", a mummy sarcophagus, an Ancient Mystery Skull of Time, and even the World's Biggest Shoe.
Say My Name: All of the bosses, except Hambone and Junior, are announced to the player. Of these, Krampus, Eyeclops and Evil Marie introduce themselves when they appear, Tökkentäkker appears on a giant video screen when you reach the center ring of the Big Top, and Umlaut gets called out to the fight (Tökkentäkker: "Umlaut! Get him!")
Shoot the Bullet: A lot of enemies throw projectiles at you, especially in the Rickety Town stage when you enter the Food Court. You can use your own weapon to deflect them.
Too Dumb to Live: The protagonist (assuming he isn't just In Harm's Way) who not only decides to tempt fate by bringing the carnival up in the first place, but decide to do it again after he makes it out.
Betty, for running around in your crossfire while not even trying to help you fight the monsters. Even worse, she sometimes gets very close to a Power-Up that you only have a few seconds to aim for. That said, even she knows the protagonist is the bigger idiot for putting them through that mess, and has the common sense to try to tell them NOT to do itAGAIN.
There are some scenes that suggest she's trying to help. For example, there's a torture chamber in the Freak Show where she slams the door of an iron maiden, trapping a zombie inside. Unfortunately, that only means she's really in your way when you try to shoot at three other zombies.
Torture Cellar: The Chamber of Horrors, a rather disturbing part of the Freak Show level. Beneath the chamber is a macabre assembly line of sorts, and guess what's being made there? Nums for the final boss!
Vomit Indiscretion Shot: During the battle with Junior (or Deaddy), the players enter the giant doll house to take cover. Only the boss rips the roof off and proceeds to puke all over the players. Make sure to shoot the last drop of vomit, or Junior's last meal is on you.