Video Game / Evil Night
Boom, Headshot! Shooting zombies in skeleton outfits was never this fun!
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Evil Night (known as Hell Night in Japan) is a Light Gun arcade game released by Konami in 1998. It was the company's second horror-themed Rail Shooter since Crypt Killer in 1995, as well as the second to offer three-player cooperative action. The game draws numerous comparisons with The House of the Dead, which was released two years prior.

Mysterious energy has released The Undead, and three cops are in search of their kidnapped friend, Liv. Players must venture into a dilapidated mansion, battling zombies, ghosts, insects, and other small creatures to uncover clues behind the infestation and rescue Liv before it's too late.

The gameplay is largely identical to The House of the Dead; players move along a predetermined path, blasting enemies and destructible objects to avoid taking damage and collect health power-ups, respectively. This time, though, the weapons have some unique quirks; players 1 and 3 use handguns, which — when the muzzle is pointed up — can be charge to shoot damaging "Penetration Bullets", while player 2 has a shotgun which disperses powerful bullets throughout the screen and must be pumped to reload. There are also collectable keys and books, which open up alternate paths through the stages and alter the game's ending.

Notably, the game runs off the cancelled Panasonic M2 hardware, which is notorious for long loading times and a high failure rate — perhaps reasons why Evil Night disappeared from most arcades and has become extremely rare. Some of the game's last documented locations included one in Cebu City, Philippines (which has been removed since 2010); one in Dasmariñas, Philippines (decommissioned in 2013/2014); Bintaro Plaza's FunWorld, Indonesia (demcommissioned in 2013); and several Chicagoland arcades.

In June 2012, a long-awaited playthrough of the game was uploaded on YouTube, which, at the time, was the first and only one available online. The user responsible, "hotd34me", has since posted the game's soundtrack and is currently working on a second playthrough. More footage was also released by another Youtuber, "GleamzinGuy", who provided another playthrough showcasing the game's branching paths, the high score entry screen and the first video on YouTube posted of the good ending. An old playthrough of the Japanese version was also discovered in July 2017, featuring both the good and bad endings on separate videos (an account must be created to see them, however).

Evil Night provides the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Alicia Sevigny, the character of Player 2. She is armed with a shotgun.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: One with a giant eye on it appears in "Course A" of stage 1; the eye must be shot to prevent players from taking damage.
  • Anachronism Stew: As seen in "Course B" of stage 1, there are computers, fax machines, and printers in one of the rooms the player enters. Kinda strange, since the mansion resembles one of those centuries-old, creepy, haunted mansions in the United Kingdom (complete with cobblestone floors and walls, metal doors, trapdoors, and panic rooms covered by bookshelves).
    • It's implied that recent human activity has taken place at the mansion; a journal suggests that scientists or archeologists were hell-bent on discovering the meaning of the Runes. Another research lab of sorts can be found in the Underpass stage.
  • An Axe to Grind: In the fourth stage, zombies clad in lumberjack outfits are encountered. They attack on foot with their axes or can throw them at the players from a distance.
  • Ancient Tomb: Located underneath the mansion which resembles more of catacombs. Also doubles as an ancient ruins, complete with murals of witchcraft and the occult.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: The "bad" ending has Henry, Alicia, Joe, and Liv becoming zombies, courtesy of a Not Quite Dead final boss.
  • Animate Dead: The zombies here are created by some sort of supernatural force.
  • Apocalyptic Log: A journal found in "Course B" of stage 1 details a team of scientists or archaeologists who discovered the ancient ruins and are seeking its purpose. As they're never seen in person or heard from again, it's likely they're all dead, though the game never explains what happened to them.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In the "bad" ending, the final boss inexplicably returns after being defeated, transforming Liv and her friends into zombies.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The main characters of the game are two males and one female, named from Player 1 to Player 3 as Henry Jones, Alicia Sevigny and Joe Hamilton. Their objective is to rescue a girl named Liv (see Damsel in Distress and Save the Princess) from a haunted house.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: The female zombies in the first stage (when Course A or Course B is selected).
  • Body Horror: Of the many zombies encountered are mangled-up, limbless ones wrapped in a ball and chain. When you kill them, their bodies split in half. Complete with a lovely "ripping" sound effect.
  • Bookcase Passage: Not of the "spinning bookcase door" variety, but a Secret Underground Passage to the catacombs is found among bookcases in a library.
  • Bottomless Magazines: As with all light gun games.
  • Chainsaw Good: Chainsaw-wielding zombies are encountered in the first two stages. The butcher boss at the end of the first stage also attacks with one, once his life meter is almost completely empty.
  • Chekhov's Skill: In the end, Liv reads from the mystical book that puts all The Undead and evil ones to rest.
  • Creepy Cemetery: Seen in the intro and the last stage.
  • Creepy Painting: Several depicting Liv are encountered throughout the mansion. In the fourth stage, there's also a mural of Liv being portrayed as a goddess of sorts, reading from a spell book to resurrect the final boss.
  • Cult: One of the ancient variety resides beneath the mansion in an ancient rune. You battle what appear to be zombie cult worshipers in body paint. A mural also depicts Liv as a demigod and resurrecting the final boss, who in turn plans to use Liv as a Human Sacrifice to achieve immortality.
  • Curse: As part of the backstory, the game's flyer and the machine cabinet states that "mysterious energy has released the undead." One of the collectible items is a journal which suggests that scientists or archaeologists accidentally invoked the curse through their research of an ancient underground rune.
  • Damsel in Distress: Liv. See Save the Princess.
  • Dead Weight: Fat zombies in overalls wielding butcher knives are fought. Because of their size, they take way more bullets to put down as opposed to other zombies.
  • Dem Bones: A skeleton zombie (or at least what appears to be a zombie wearing some sort of skeleton costume) is one of the most common zombies encountered.
  • Destructible Projectiles: The hanging meats and thrown zombies during the butcher boss, bloody...balls thrown by blue, limbless zombies coming out of the water and floors in stages 3 and 4, the axes and knives thrown by lumberjack and cult worshiper zombies in stage 4, and the fireballs during the final boss's second form.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: During the runes stage, zombies and ghosts attack as you ride up an ancient elevator system.
  • Epic Flail: An interesting example. There's zombies that attack with a ball and chain...except that they're limbless. One fan theory is that the ball and chain is possessed by a spirit using the mutilated corpse as its host.
    • Played straight with the second level boss, who actually swings around his ball and chain to attack.
  • Expy: Henry and Joe appear to be closely based off of Thomas Rogan and G, the protagonists from The House of the Dead.
    • Liv also draws some comparisons with Sophie Richards, Rogan's girlfriend.
    • Some of the zombies fought in the game resemble horror movie antagonists Freddy Krueger and Leatherface.
  • Gardening-Variety Weapon: The weapons of some of the zombies invoke this. There's midget zombies that attack with hedge clippers, hooded zombies wielding scythes, and the normal chainsaw zombies, which occasionally appear with weedwhackers.
  • Go for the Eye: Taking "Course A" in the first stage includes a room with an eye on it, which proceeds to close in on the player. In order to escape and avoid damage, you must shoot the eye as fast as you can.
  • Golden Path: Among the three selectable paths in the first stage, "Course B" contains one of the two collectible books. Also, to get the third key, one must enter the third stage with at least the second key equipped and not shoot the locked gate. There is no alternative to this.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: All the collectable hidden items, which consist of 3 keys and 2 books. While not crucial to beat the game, if you want the "Good" ending you'll need to collect all of them.
  • Guns are Worthless: Averted. See below.
  • Immune to Bullets: Averted big time. Not only do bullets kill zombies, they kill ghosts too. Heck, bullets even harm the last boss despite its demonic appearance.
  • Haunted House: The big mansion the players enter.
  • Human Sacrifice: The final boss's method of gaining immortality through a captured Liv.
  • Light Gun Game: And one that supports up to three players, no less.
  • Locked Door: A few doors in question can only be unlocked by collecting hidden keys.
    • Funnily enough, two of the keys happen to be inside locked doors themselves, requiring the player to blast off the doorknobs to go inside.
  • Mono Chromatic Eyes: Some of the zombies encountered feature these.
  • Multiple Endings: Much like The House of the Dead series, your performance determines the ending of the game. Unlike its predecessor, though, Evil Night features hidden items (keys and books) which seem to alter the ending.
    • In the "Normal" ending, the main characters reunite with Liv and walk off. Liv looks over her shoulder as the cemetery gate closes; the camera cuts to the foot of the previously-defeated final boss stepping into the ground, implying that he's still alive.
    • The "Good" endingnote  has the main characters reunite with Liv as normal. Liv accidentally drops a spell book, setting the entire mansion on fire; the main characters walk off together. Before the credits roll, Liv narrates: "After that day, we never heard that voice again."
    • The "Bad" ending features a Not Quite Dead final boss transforming Liv and her friends into zombies.
    • The arcade cabinet mentions a fourth, "perfect" ending, though currently this yet to be seen or confirmed.
  • Our Ghosts are Different: Surprisingly, bullets affect ghosts in this game.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: It is heavily implied that the zombies here are created by some supernatural evil force or magic. They behave like the House of the Dead type of zombies.
  • Place of Power: The Mansion, Underpass, Catacombs, Ruins, and the Graveyard have some form of unknown connection to Liv and the Undead.
  • Raising the Steaks: Bats, large rats, spiders, and cockroaches attack the player.
  • Rail Shooter: Very similar to The House of the Dead, as established before.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: A large snake appears twice and serves as a miniboss. In the catacombs level, crocodile-like monsters appear, as well as a crocodile-lizard like miniboss.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Giant rats are encountered in the second and third stages.
  • Secret Underground Passage: One that leads to the catacombs/underpass appears at the end of stage 2.
    Henry: Look! There's an underground passage!
  • Save the Princess: The main characters are looking for a girl named Liv.
  • Shear Menace: Short, nimble zombies wielding hedge clippers are fought in the first and fourth stages.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Locked gates can be shot in the third stage and allow passage to alternate routes. Electing not to will take you on a different detour through the stage. There are two of them, and whichever one you encounter depends on how many or how little keys you've collected from the stage prior.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The second player is armed with a shotgun, which has a better effect in dispatching enemies.
  • Shout-Out: Several of them.
    • As stated above, some of the zombies resemble those from The House of the Dead, as they wield weapons such as axes, knives, claws, hatchets, scythes, chainsaws, and drills. Furthermore, the first form of the final boss resembles the Magician.
    • The protagonists also fall under this. Both Henry and Joe resemble Thomas Rogan and G from House of the Dead, respectively. Liv, the Damsel in Distress, also draws comparisons with Sophie Richards.
    • The Runes stage — complete with skeletal cult worshipers — is reminiscent of Crypt Killer, another three-player rail shooter by Konami and Evil Night's predecessor. Its Japanese title, Henry Explorers, is also referenced in that one of the three main characters is named Henry.
    • The zombies with burnt skin, bald heads and claws will look...familiar to horror movie fans. Egregiously enough, Japanese Evil Night cabinets depict this same zombie twirling a hat on the marquee.
    • The butcher boss and especially the normal chainsaw-wielding zombies also strike similarities with another horror franchise.
  • Sinister Scythe: The Grim Reaper-like zombies in the second stage attack with these, naturally.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: A giant snake is encountered twice.
  • Sound of No Damage: A "bullet ricochet" sound plays whenever you shoot a bullet and hit nothing (or the second level boss's ball and chain).
  • Stripped to the Bone: You can blast the arms of the lumberjack zombies down to bone. However, they'll still continue to hurl axes at you.
  • The Butcher: The first stage end boss, who attacks by pushing hanging meats, hurling zombies, and finally a chainsaw.
  • The Grim Reaper: Resemblance only. One zombie, probably a gardener, with a hood has a mask covering its face. Its main weapon is a scythe.
  • The Renfield: There are two types of zombie butlers encountered: One with a knife and one holding a lantern and a cleaver.
  • The Undead: Ghosts and zombies are mostly encountered.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Mystical books can be collectednote , which influence the storyline. Liv reads from one of them upon defeating the final boss, vanquishing him and putting The Undead to rest. Also, in the "Good" ending, a book Liv drops sets the entire mansion on fire.
  • Vader Breath: One can be heard in the music tracks to the underpass and graveyard.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do find out what happened to the scientists/archaeological team who discovered the runes and were trying to learn its purpose. Whether they all died or somehow managed to escape is never explained.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Giant rats serve as enemies in the second and third stages.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Upon defeat, the butcher boss taunts the characters they will never find Liv.

We made it to the last room! We've got to find out what this room is for. Can we control this enormous adverse tide of entropy?