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Video Game / Evil Night

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Evil Night (also known as Hell Night in Japan) is a Light Gun arcade game released by Konami in 1998. The successor to Crypt Killer from 1995, the game concerns three cops battling legions of The Undead in an old, decrepit mansion in search of their missing friend.

While reminiscent of The House of the Dead, Evil Night uniquely offers three-player cooperative action: players 1 and 3 wield handguns that can charge powerful "Penetrating Bullets", while player 2 uses a pump-action shotgun. Consisting of five stages, the game's branching paths and Multiple Endings are determined by collectible items.

Thanks to its unreliable Panasonic M2 hardware and being outclassed by the House of the Dead franchise, Evil Night faded into obscurity and is extremely rare to find in arcades (much less working properly). Despite this, it has garnered a cult following, especially for its hokey voice acting.


Three full single-player walkthroughs of the game are available on YouTube, along with a third older playthrough on the Japanese version. Other videos of the game's different endings have also surfaced.

Evil Night provides the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Player 2 is Alicia Sevigny, who's armed with a shotgun.
  • Adjustable Censorship: Operators can change the enemy blood to red, blue, streaks of lightning (the default), or dark blue. There is no setting to censor wounded or dismembered enemies.
  • 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: In "Course B" of stage 1, there's computers, fax machines, and printers in one room. This is strange, considering that the mansion resembles one of those creepy, age-old, haunted mansions in the United Kingdom (complete with cobblestone floors and walls, metal doors, trapdoors, and panic rooms covered by bookshelves).
    • Justified with the implication that recent human activity has taken place at the mansion; in this same room, a journal hints that scientists or archeologists were researching the underground ancient ruines on the premises. This also explains the hidden research lab in the underpass level.
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  • An Axe to Grind: The zombies with lumberjack shirts in the fourth stage attack with axes—either on foot, or by throwing them at a distance.
  • Ancient Tomb: The underpass or catacombs located beneath the mansion. Also doubles as an ancient ruin, complete with murals of witchcraft and the occult.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: The "bad" ending has a Not Quite Dead final boss transforming Liv and her friends into zombies.
  • 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 beneath the mansion. We never find out 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, there is also a few weed wacker-wielding zombies. 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.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Sometimes, the screen will produce lots of enemies that are impossible to dispatch on time. Makes worse for fighting bosses whose weak-spots are not even pointed out, forcing the player to continously shoot them in the hopes of depleting the life bar. See also Guide Dang It!.
  • 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.
  • David vs. Goliath: The protagonists battle a giant, towering snake on two occasions.
  • 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, the entrails 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.
  • Guide Dang It!: It is very easy to miss the hidden keys or books if one plays this game for the first time.
    • The weak point of bosses are not elaborated so players are force to unload lead on them until the boss is defeated.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The first boss is a Giant Hulking Zombie which throws smaller zombies at you.
  • 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.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be:
  • HauntedCastle/ HauntedHouse: 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 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?

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