Hellraiser (Color Dreams)
Not to be confused with Hellraiser (Konami).
Nintendo Entertainment System
|Planned Release Date|| 1990
Hellraiser is a cancelled NES game based on the 1987 horror film of the same name. Dan Lawton, one of the founders of Color Dreams, had seen the film and liked it, and decided to make a video game adaptation, paying around $35,000 to $50,000 obtaining the rights to do so. The game was developed using an improved version of the Wolfenstein 3D engine. Lawton realized the NES could not handle this technology, so he hired engineer Ron Risley to make a new type of cartridge.
This cartridge, known as the "Super Cartridge", contained a Z80 processor, programmable array logic chips, and an additional four megabytes of RAM. It was also capable of intercepting the NES processor's ROM and RAM accesses to manipulate video in real time, as well as allowing pixel-by-pixel manipulation of the screen, sprite manipulation, and supported panning and zooming in on hardware such as fully animated backgrounds. This meant that the game could switch colors in between scans of the TV in real time, creating the effect of more colors than there really were. While the cartridge itself worked fine, the palette switching effect did not work as intended, as it did not switch between colors fast enough to mask the flickering effect.
Another method of creating the game was an add-on device (sold separately) that would be plugged into the expansion port located on the bottom of the NES. The combined cost of the add-on device and the Hellraiser cart would have been more than the Super Cartridge itself.
The high cost of manufacturing each Super Cartridge (each cartridge cost around $50-60) would have likely casued the game to cost well over $100. Games based on horror movies also tended to sell poorly, as most parents would deem them inappropriate for children. This, combined with most retailers refusing to sell unlicensed games, would have likely driven Color Dreams out of business.
Gameplay focused around a character trapped in the Lemarchand's puzzle box from the film. The player could find ways to manipulate the outside of the puzzle box and solve it to escape. The Cenobites would interfere in the player's plans to escape. Changing the configuration of the cube on the outside would have affected level layout on the inside. Once the puzzle was solved, the player and demons would be free, and it was up to the player to solve the puzzle in reverse to defeat the escaped demons.
Sega Genesis and Atari Lynx versions were also planned at one point, but not much is known about them.
- Cenobite. Retrieved March 20, 2016.