Developed by Exidy and released for the Arcade in 1986, Chiller was banned outright in the United Kingdom for being gratuitously violent with no redeeming features and only received a limited release in the United States because, according to writer Steven L. Kent “nobody would buy the damn thing.”
Utilising an optical light-gun mounted onto the arcade cabinet, similar to Exidy’s previous light-gun shooter Crossbow (1983), the player takes on the role of an unseen ‘monster killer’ who must kill anything and everything in an attempt to get the high score and progress through each stage.
But let’s be honest, the majority of the enemies in this arcade game are not monsters… At least not in the first stage: The Torture Chamber.
Throughout Chiller the player must maim, mutilate and murder each victim/monster in a variety of different ways. Your ‘enemies’ are incapable of fighting back so the real challenge lies in how quickly the player can cause each victim to die. There is also a time limit on each stage so the player must be innovative and experiment by using the light-gun to activate various torture mechanisms. For example in the first stage shooting the guillotine causes the blade to drop resulting in decapitation.
There are four stages in Chiller: The Torture Chamber, The Rack Room, The Hallway and finally The Graveyard. Before each stage a screen is displayed with clues that will help the player achieve the highest score and unlock a bonus level upon completion of that specific stage. Once all four stages are complete the player is simply returned to the start of the first stage and the cycle begins again.
Explicit, sadistic and incredibly violent Chiller stands out from other controversial video games due to the excessive mean-spirited gore and nudity contained within. Whilst I must admit that I enjoyed playing Chiller I can’t honestly recommend the game to anyone other than as a curiosity for fans of the splatter sub-genre of horror cinema.
Chiller (1986) for the Arcade was reviewed by Ken Wynne.
Developed by Exidy / Released by Exidy / 1 or 2 Players (Alternating) / Optical Light-Gun Mounted Arcade Cabinet (Upright) / Exidy 440
“Now playing on the coin-op amusement video screen!”