Classic horror

Forbidden Forest

Released in 1983

Created by Paul Norman/Cosmi Corp for Atari and Commodore 64

Size: 512Kb

Genre: Action


Greetings, my fellow video game masochists! The time has come to review a very important game to me. Important and dear to my heart. Indeed, Forbidden Forest was the first game I ever played that scared the HOLY CRAPFART out of me as a young boy.

Forbidden Forest was released in the pre-Nintendo era. And this was during that amazing unregulated era of gaming where these games neglected to give but one fuck. The graphics are very blocky, the gameplay was difficult, but it possessed one of the richest, creepiest atmospheres in the early gaming era. The music in the game is still mind blowing to this day. Upon loading the game, this incredibly daunting and powerful theme plays over the brief opening credits, which naturally left the hairs on the back of blonde bowl cut stand on end.

This needs a metal cover.

The gameplay was very simple. You play as a nameless, faceless, silent protagonist that is tasked with enduring five levels of spookiness in a forest, wielding only a bow and arrow (complete with epic early 80s “pew pew!” 8-bit sound effects for each arrow, uh…pew’d)

The enemies thrown at you include huge spiders, killer bees, skeletons, snakes, and these terrifying huge frogs (whatever, it was SCARY ok??)

Pew pew, motherfucker!

Pew pew, motherfucker!

Simple design? Absolutely. But this game was so incredibly CHARMING that despite my pre-pubescent fear of this game (and I was scared of everything), I simply couldn’t stop playing this.

Also, this was one of the first games to ever show animated blood! We take that for granted these days, but back then blood was never shown. Then Paul Norman comes around and says “hey guys, let’s show things GETTING REKT” and thus set the stage for violence in gaming that we still see to this day. Your character would strafe around the bottom of the screen as things would pop out at you nonstop, pew pewing wound ensue, blood would splatter, the 80s were good…




This game also had day/night cycles, which was absolutely unheard of before 1983, and the changes from day to night made this game truly horrifying. After all the enemies were killed in the level, the boss would appear. However the most hilarious aspect of this game happened after defeating bosses. What is now iconically called “The Victory Dance”, your player would just burst into dance each time you you killed a boss. Behold the smooth moves from the 80s:

The final boss of this game was the intimidating Demogorgon. It was actually somewhat of a long boss fight as he would only be visible when lightning struck, which basically just made him fucking annoying.

I see you, SON

I see you, SON

And of course, managing to hit him was next to impossible, but once you did….you were rewarded with another Victory Dance! Game over! You win!  And what did we learn from this forest?  I dunno. VICTORY DANCE.

Was Forbidden Forest simple? Yes. Was it fun as all hell? YES. While there were two sequels (Beyond The Forbidden Forest and Forbidden Forest 3: The Adventure Continues…both CRAP), I would really love to see this game get a modern update. While it clearly wasn’t “open world”, there was no set level design. You were just wandering around a forest. This would translate so well into an open world modern era game.

+ Fun but challenging gameplay
+ Incredibly atmospheric
+ Outstanding music and sound
+ Truly scary
+ Great potential for a modern sequel
– Steep learning curve

And there it is, fellow masochists! One of the iconic horror games from the early 80s era. I urge you to check it out and download it, it is a fun little forgotten gem – and the impact that it had is still being seen today.

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