And when I say "that time of year," I'm talking about the time of year when I spend way too much time searching for games that will put me in a Halloween mood.
Speaking of which, here are four "spooktacular" games--two of which I've played before and two of which I haven't--that I'm hoping will scratch that itch in the lead up to this year's All Hallows' Eve:
Cotton 100% (Super Famicom)--This Super Famicom-based shmup, developed by Datam Polystar and published by Success (or is it the other way around?) in 1994, stars a broom-riding witch who is obsessed with candy and who has to fly through all sorts of dark and dreary environs in order to collect a bunch of missing gems. Could there be a more perfect game to play during this spooky-and-sweet season?
Jigoku Meguri (PC Engine)--The point of this pixelated platformer, developed and published by the folks at Taito in 1990: To help a portly monk complete a perilous trek through hell. It all sounds suitably horrific, I know, but in reality said trek is more cuddly than creepy. Still, the game is more than spooky enough to earn a spot on this list.
Splatterhouse Part 3 (Mega Drive)--Originally, I planned to include Namcot's Spatterhouse 2 in this spine-chilling playathon. After reading some negative reviews of that title, though, I decided to include the series' third installment, released in 1993, instead--mainly due to the fact that "Part 3" is less linear than its predecessors and, as such, allows the game's Jason Voorhees-like protagonist to explore each stage.
Sweet Home (Famicom)--I played through a bit of this survival-horror RPG, released by Capcom in 1989, last Halloween, but regrettably put it away after the holiday vanished into the ether like a vampire at sunrise. I say "regrettably" because Sweet Home is one of the most terrifically tense Famicom titles I've ever played. Anyway, hopefully this year I'll stick with it long enough to see an ending screen.
See also: 'Halloween-ish HuCards (and CDs)'