Take on the Evil Dead
Everyone has to start somewhere. Some start with Twilight fanfic and changing up character names and occupations. Others begin with a “what if” between Sonic the Hedgehog and Thundercats. For me it was a fan game based off of my favorite horror series, The Evil Dead.
Back in the year 1998, at the ripe young age of 17, I decided that I really wanted to design games for a living instead of making films. In the past I’ve dabbled here and there with modding (mainly DoomEd) but this would be the first time to try and make a game. I knew at the time I wanted to make and rpg mixed with adventure game elements, and I had a passionate love of horror films as well. So I wanted to do something that combined all these elements together. The Evil Dead films were a huge inspiration for me so naturally my young mind went towards making and Evil Dead game fanfic.
I had no real programming knowledge at the time so I checked into various rpg engines. The one I eventually landed on was the simply named Official Hamster Republic Role Playing Game Creation Engine (OHRRPGCE for short). The engine at the time seemed pretty open for what I wanted to do. With it I got to learn the basics of game creation which ended up helping me a lot when I got down to actually coding when I started working on EG years later. It was fun taking the limitations of the engine at the time and trying to come up with little graphical and gameplay tricks that the engine wasn’t exactly designed for at the time.
The game has only been released in two forms: Evil Dead Weird (the first working prototype), and Evil Dead Timeline Take 2. Memory is a little fuzzy these days in regards to when I first started working on this. Hey it was more than half a lifetime ago! I can use the old man’s brain card here! At the time my sprite work was still a bit wonky. The while the tile sets and enemy design were wholly my own, I used reworked ripped graphics from Ghouls n’ Ghosts for the initial background images (later ones I did on my own), and the sprite of Ash himself was a reworked Strider sprite. Music in the game mostly came from midi versions from other games (mainly The 7th Guest) and films (like Exodus).
Like the movies the game itself was a weird mishmash of things. The films had a bit of a fast paced “one moment to the next” that I wanted to maintain in game form. The initial section was a bit more survival horror in that you needed to kill the enemies quickly before they finished you off (using a faster version of Final Fantasy’s Active Time Battle), and in several cases having to run away from large enemy groups all together. After the first area I started incorporating adventure game elements where the player collects items to be used in certain situations (like an axe to cut down bushes, and collecting a hammer, boards, and nails to make a makeshift bridge). The visual style of the game would change at times too switching from a top down perspective to a side scrolling one. Because of the small nature of the areas and the shortness of the game I wanted to balance that out with density of detail. Nearly every item, object, window, light bulb can be looked at and is commented on through Ash’s witty snark (well what was considered witty to my 17yo brain at the time).
The final version of the game that was released was Evil Dead Timeline Take 2 which itself was a demo for a larger game. The game went on to gain a bit of a cult following in the OHRRPGCE community and made a lot of 10 lists (even 1st place) at the time. Going back to it now is pretty rough. First the later versions of OHRRPGCE broke some aspects of the game. Mainly some of the graphical tricks I used lookfunky now and some of the music sounds off. The game was a lot harder than what I remember designing too. It’s still possible to finish the demo but it takes a bit of trial and error. Also the writing can be a bit rough. A lot of jokes I thought were cute at the time either cringe inducing or just poorly written.
I did attempt to finish the game but that eventually became what I called the “Evil Dead Take 3 Curse”. The final version of the game redid most of the graphics, game difficulty, writing, and area layouts. It also added new artwork, difficulty modes, enemies, attacks, puzzles, and more. The title of the game changed from Evil Dead Timeline to Tales of the Evil Dead. I really went out of my way to try and top myself with this on, and wanted it to be a gift to the OHRRPGCE community who have been very kind to my game over the years.
Then my computer crashed and I lost everything.
I thought I had backed up the game via email but alas it was not there. The only surviving remnants are the few fuzzy screen shots you see towards the end of this page and the file that is sitting on my dead hard drive which I wasn’t able to extract. I never went back to it and decided to move on. This was a huge learning lesson to back up my work on a regular basis. Maybe someday I’ll dig out that hard drive again and see if I can try to get on it and finally pull that file off. Maybe someday I’ll work on another RPG again using the ideas I had just without the Evil Dead name to tie it down.