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Video Game / Haunted Museum

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Haunted Museum (Panic Museum in America) is a Light Gun Game developed by Gamewax and released by Taito in 2009.

Agents Chris Wild and Akira Nakata have come to investigate mysterious disappearances in a local museum. But once they get inside they find that a supernatural force has a hold over the building, bringing the exhibits to life that are not shy about attacking them. If that wasn't enough, the exhibits have worlds of their own that transport the two into different settings no matter how implausible (such as space or underwater). With each world conquered, an orb falls into place on a monument in the lobby of the building. So the agents head out to find out who or what is exactly affecting the museum.

A sequel to the game followed called Haunted Museum II (aka Shh...! Welcome to Frightfearland for the American market), also released by Taito in 2010. This time moving the setting to a supposedly abandoned amusement park where the agents are called to after 100 people go missing. Once more a sinister force has taken control of the park sending out monster clowns and bringing the attractions to life to attack them. As with the museum, with each section of the park beaten, a trinket appears on the clock in the middle of the park. Each must be collected before the final boss reveals him/itself.


Both games allow you to choose any stage that can be done in any order with mini-games in between levels. The second games adds hostages to the mix (annoyingly) which must be saved and of course have Hostage Spirit Link invoked. There are also different endings depending on how well you do in the final battle.

The first game has the following tropes:

  • Alien Invasion: The final boss of the game are aliens and their mothership. You have to shoot the core down within thirty seconds. Succeed and the aliens get arrested. Fail and the agents get abducted.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: The exhibits that attack the agents.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Includes a gigantic jack-in-the-box robot made up of children's toys, an attack Sphinx tank on rails.
  • Bee Afraid: Killer bees appear at the end of the Library stage. The boss is a gigantic Queen Bee.
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  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Every exhibit the agents go into will always come to life and attack them.
  • Genre Shift: Changes when the agents are transported to the separate worlds. It's rather jarring to be fighting in the museum then suddenly shooting down ships in space, flying through the city shooting down tanks or be underwater fighting aggressive wildlife.
  • Golden Snitch: Getting the good ending all depends on whether you can shoot down the alien spaceship's core within a very limited time.
  • Haunted House: The whole museum is pretty much one.
  • Here We Go Again!: In the good ending, after solving the mystery of the museum. Akira asks what the next assignment is. Cue a dragon flying over the city.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: If you don't shoot the core of the alien spaceship down in time. It abducts the agents and they're added to the list of missing people.
  • Living Toys: One level in particular is full of these.
  • Minecart Madness: The end of the Ancient Civilization level in the first game.
  • Mishmash Museum:
    • It's apparently a history museum, and fittingly contains exhibits on ancient civilizations, medieval weaponry, aeronautics and modern warfare, and toys... as well as a library and a marine biology wing.
    • More generally, the individual wings aren't organized in any meaningful way, leading to what is apparently an exhibit on space combat in the warfare wing, haniwa statues and totem poles in a room that's otherwise entirely Egyptian, and so on.
  • Playing Card Motifs: The card soldiers in the library.
  • Shoot the Bullet: It's best to shoot any projectiles headed your way. The ones closest to you will turn red to show imminent threats.
  • Spooky Silent Library: The Grand Library.
  • Under the Sea: Happens to the players during the boss fight for the Aquatic Lifeforms exhibit.
  • Zerg Rush: This game is very fast paced and more often then not you'll have enemies rushing straight at you. The final boss of the first game requires you to ignore the hordes of aliens damaging you as you try to shoot down the core.

Haunted Museum II has the following tropes:

  • Animate Inanimate Object: Somewhat, usually when the agents go into attractions like the haunted house or a playland.
  • A Wizard Did It: The newspaper in the good endings casually reports that the Big Bad was a sorcerer. Chris cares less about that and more about the fact that he was the owner. Given the dragon in the previous game, wizards may very well be a regular thing in this setting.
  • Circus of Fear: One level has you fighting your way through a big top.
  • Dem Bones: The boss of the haunted house stage is a gigantic skeleton.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: As with the first game, you'll find out that everywhere you turn, there's someone who'll try and stop you.
  • Haunted House: One of the stages ironically does have one as an attraction.
  • Hostage Spirit Link: Implemented this time since the game is tallying how many survivors you can save.
  • Golden Snitch: Getting the good endings hinges on whether you can catch the falling ringmaster.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: After defeating the Big Bad, the last sequence requires you to Save the Villain. Fail and it turns out he was faking his distress, allowing him to get the drop on the agents and force them to do his bidding.
  • Light Gun Game: This is of the mounted gun variety in the American release whereas the first and the Japanese release of the second was more traditional.
  • Mad Bomber: Frequently the enemies chuck dynamite sticks at you.
  • Minecart Madness: Roller Coaster, in this case, which makes up a boss level.
  • Monster Clown: The main mooks. Even the ringmaster is one!
  • Playing with Fire: Firefighter clowns that carry deadly flamethrowers.
  • Repulsive Ringmaster: The Big Bad combines this with Monster Clown.
  • Shoot the Bullet: It's best to shoot any projectiles headed your way. The ones closest to you will turn red to show imminent threats.
  • Shout-Out: One of the bosses is a giant statue of Gulliver, in reference to a real-life defunct amusement park, Gulliver's Kingdom.
  • Spiders Are Scary: In the second games, one type of enemy is a spider with a clown head.
  • Sniping Mission: A few mini-games involve this with you having to hit a clown next to a hostage.
  • Spiritual Successor: Can be considered a much Lighter and Softer one to CarnEvil.
  • Truth in Television: Most of the setting is based on a real life abandoned theme park Gulliver's Kingdom once located in Japan at the foot of Mt. Fuji. The game even has you battle a giant Gulliver attraction as a bit of a tribute.
  • Wire Dilemma: One of the mini-games in the Big Top level requires you to defuse a bomb to save some hostages.
  • Zerg Rush: Not as bad as the first game though it has a few areas where you can get swamped.


Video Example(s):


Haunted Museum [Egypt Level]

Haunted Museum (aka Panic Museum in Japan): Two agents look into missing persons cases at an shut down museum. No sooner then they step inside, they get locked inside and find that the exhibits have come to life to attack them. Luckily, being agents, they're armed and begin their investigation and fight against the supernatural force that plagues the building.

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