Every Evil Dead Video Game: 1984 – 2022
Every Evil Dead video game from 1984 – 2022 is an exciting part of the rich, terrifying, and hilarious Evil Dead canon.
I’m going to give you a basic rundown of all the Evil Dead video games to date, in chronological order, with an emphasis on the story.
The Evil Dead Video Game Story
The Evil Dead (Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness) is a trilogy of cult classic horror/comedy movies by director Sam Raimi. One UNIQUE fact about the franchise is that the same story keeps getting repeated in different, but similar, ways.
Take Evil Dead 2 as a perfect example of this. At first glance, it is almost exactly the same as the first Evil Dead!
As the story goes, Ash and friends head to a cabin in the woods, where everyone turns into deadites. Ash has to kill all of them, and director Sam Raimi captures all the glorious 1980s blood and gore with creative, visceral, low budget camera angles.
Up to this point, the two films are exactly the same.
Yet, for all their similarities, the way the story of Evil Dead 2 turns out is actually quite different than the original.
For one thing, in Evil Dead 2, Ash himself becomes possessed. Not to mention the fact that he cuts his own hand off to avoid getting infected, and then proceeds to have a crazy fight with said appendage.
And the biggest difference? Well that has simply got to be the fact that Evil Dead 2 is where the franchise graduates from straight horror to horror/comedy.
The Evil Dead video game series is exactly the same: every Evil Dead video game title tells the same story in a slightly different way.
In some cases, like A Fistful of Broomstick and Hail to the King , the game serves as a sequel of sorts.
But even then, the basic premise is exactly the same as the original Evil Dead movie: some idiot decides to read the necronomicon, evil is unleashed, and it is up to Ash to save the day, the girl, and the world.
1. The Evil Dead (Commodore 64,1984)
Ah, the original Evil Dead video game. 1984 is where it all began.
In this relic of a game, you have to slam windows to keep the monsters out of the house. It’s inspired by the climax of the original Evil Dead film, where Ash is always shooting through the window at the evil baddies and smashing the butt of his rifle against their fingers when they try to get inside the door.
It’s one of the most exciting parts of the movie, so it makes sense that that’s the part they chose.
So anyway, the first thing you’ll probably notice when you start up the Evil Dead video game is that these graphics haven’t exactly aged well. In fact, they’ve aged so poorly that it’s kind of hard to tell what’s what. In the photo (above), the reddish area on the right is the inside of Ash’s Tennessee cabin, while the blueish area on the left is the front porch.
See that white thing on the left? That’s the swing on the porch — the haunted one.
Yeah, that swing. Wow, 1984 graphics. lol
In fact, the graphics in this first Evil Dead video game are so poor that the developers decided they needed to explain what everything is supposed to be, like a 5-year-old explaining that this bit of scribble is mommy, and that bit of scribble is her house.
When you start up the game, there’s an introduction where Ash gives the back story. With phrases like “in case you haven’t yet realized, you’re looking at me from above” and “here in the main room,” the developers clearly understood the limitations of 1984 video game graphics.
I copied the spelling and punctuation exactly, despite the cute errors:
Welcome to the tragic tale of the Evil Dead. Let me start at the beginning……My name is Ashly. In case you haven’t yet realized you’re looking at me from above. I’m standing here in a shack which is buried deep in the heart of the Tennessee woodlands. Out front there’s a porch with a rusty swing. Here in the main room I’ve lit a fire in the fireplace. It’s been years since anyone lived here so there’s no furniture except a couple of old beds. So why am I here? Well it all started off as a simple vacation, away from it all in the woodlands…The Evil Dead Video Game Intro
Evil Dead: Gameplay
As Ash, you need to keep closing the windows as the Evil Dead try to open them and scurry in. If they can manage to get past your defenses, they’ll try to possess Cheryl, Linda, Scott, and Shelly, who will turn into these disgusting green creatures.
There are lots of weapons for you to use, but when you use one to kill one of the Evil Dead, their limbs come off and keep attacking you, like in Evil Dead 2.
And you know what’s craziest about that? Evil Dead 2 came out in 1987, three years after this first Evil Dead video game.
For a detailed review about why The Evil Dead on Commodore 64 has a terrible design, you can check this article out on Orgamesmic, a video game/comic book/nerdery site run by one of the contributors to this site.
For The Evil Dead video games on Playstation, PS2, Xbox, mobile, PC, ps4, etc., simply scroll on, amigo.
Evil Dead Video Game Free Download
You can download the first Evil Dead video game for free. 1984’s The Evil Dead is freeware, and you can download it on C64.com.
Here’s some quick gameplay if you like:
2. Evil Dead: Hail to the King (Playstation, Dreamcast; 2000)
Am I insane? I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m crazy, simply because I’ve heard the voices and battled the godless things in the woods. But I must be crazy to believe.
It all started with that damn book — the Necronomicon Ex Mortis — roughly translated, “The Book of the Dead.”Ash’s narrative introduction to Evil Dead: Hail to the King
This game actually takes place after the events of Army of Darkness, so it counts as a sequel.
According to the story, Ash tries to go back to his old life, working at S-Mart, but his memories of everything he has been through keep haunting him. So, to help him face his demons, his coworker Jenny takes him back to the old cabin.
But of course, Ash’s possessed hand is waiting for them there. It pushes play on Professor Knowby’s old cassette, and all hell breaks loose.
And of course, the Evil Dead have captured Jenny, and it’s up to Ash to save her.
As you can see from the video below, Evil Dead: Hail to the King is a relic of its time. It has all the staples of those late 90s/early 2000s PS1 console graphics: the static rooms with fixed perspectives, the shaky, wobbly protagonist, and the cutscenes with “3-d” that totally blew our minds back in the day.
If that sounds crazy to you, then just remember, all we had before this was 16-bit Super Nintendo graphics:
How Bad was the Second Evil Dead Video Game?
If you want to play Resident Evil in an Evil Dead skin, this is the game for you.
While there are similarities, the Evil Dead tends to favor the action side of things to Resident Evil’s puzzles. Anyway, when you get down to it, Evil Dead: Hail to the King was far from the best game in the franchise’s long history. There are much better Evil Dead games out there, and we’ll get to them just below.
But first, check out this funny TV ad they ran to promote Hail to the King (starring Bruce Campbell):
3. The Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick (2003)
The next Evil Dead video game is called “The Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick.” Released for the Playstation 2 in 2003, the title of this hack and slash video game comes from this famous scene in Army of Darkness:
Like the first two games, “A Fistful of Boomstick” starts with Ash narrating the backstory.
So you’re probably asking yourself how a handsome devil like me ended up in a place like this with you, right? Alright, I’ll tell you the whole story, but I’ll warn you, it ain’t pretty.Ash, A Fistful of Broomstick
You’ve got to appreciate how, even though all three are completely different from each other, there’s continuity between the Evil Dead games. Having Ash narrate an introduction is a nice touch.
Hail to the king, baby.
Soon we see Ash sitting in a bar and watching a TV show called “Mysteries of the Occult,” where a professor has released a modern translation of the Book of the Dead.
The show may be called “Mysteries of the Occult,” but the hostess’ top doesn’t leave much to the imagination.
Boobies aside, this opening cut scene was a lot of fun to watch. Evil Dead’s trademark campiness is everywhere, including the good professor’s monocle.
Unfortunately, though, the “Mysteries of the Occult” show is not all bowties and miniskirts. Those two lunatics plan to play Professor Knowby’s original audio recording live, on television!
Will they ever learn?
Too bad for Ash’s bartender. Unfortunately, that tattooed man serving Ash his tequila turns into a Deadite, and so Ash has no choice but to shoot him down with the double barrel shotgun that he, of course, has with him.
Make mine a double.Ash, to the bartender-turned-deadite
Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick is more palatable to modern players because it’s a simple hack and slack game with decent enough graphics. What’s more, you can see some early influences for the TV show, Ash VS the Evil Dead.
4. Evil Dead: Regeneration (PS2, Xbox; 2005)
As you start up Evil Dead: Regeneration, you may wonder, “All three Evil Dead games so far have gone right off into narration. Will Bruce Campbell do it again?”
If that’s what you were thinking, then let me show you the opening scene:
At first, it’s just what you would expect. Ash gets you up to speed about Evil Dead 1 and 2, about the cabin and his severed, demonic hand. You even play through a little bit of deadite killing inside the cabin, just to learn the controls and stuff — I guess it is more exciting to play through the refresher instead of just watching it — but then, something unexpected takes place.
We find out that nobody believes him.
Ash is locked up in Sunny Meadows mental institution.
Ash is in Sunny Meadows, because he is going through an appeal process, because he is in trouble for murdering his four friends back in the cabin. What a twist!
Meanwhile, his doctor is in the basement of the asylum, busy resurrecting the Book of the Dead. He’s got some kind of weird mechanical printer, and guys hanging from the ceiling from meat hooks. I think he might be farming them for their blood, to rewrite the book with.
And by the way, these voice actors get a zealous 10/10. That is, if you’re grading them based on campiness. The doctor’s voice is a cross between Nazi scientist, Looney Toons, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
4.5. Evil Dead Mobile Games
There are two mobile titles in the Evil Dead video game franchise that I don’t think are worth totally counting as actual games. Nevertheless, the title of this article is Every Evil Dead Video Game 1984 – 2022, so I guess I should at least mention them.
Evil Dead: Army of Darkness Defense Video Game (Mobile, 2011)
Again, this is the same kind of situation. Here we have a vanilla defense game in an Army of Darkness skin. If you like defense games, that’s great. But if you don’t, Evil Dead: Army of Darkness doesn’t have much else to offer.
One interesting point was that Ash AGAIN narrates the introduction, even to this stupid game:
Evil Dead: Endless Nightmare Video Game (Mobile, 2016)
In 2016, Evil Dead: Endless Nightmare came out for mobile. It’s a first-person Endless Runner. I don’t consider it part of the normal canon because it’s based on the 2013 remake.
What’s more, it’s simplistic to the point of being dumb. Evil Dead: Endless Nightmare just kind of strikes me as the kind of mindless mobile game that is best played while pooping, or waiting on line at the DMV. I could take it or leave it.
Here’s some gameplay so you can see for yourself:
5. Evil Dead: The Game (PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, 2022)
The 2022 Evil Dead video game looks amazing. There are tons of playable characters from throughout the Evil Dead series, including the entire original cast of the first Evil Dead movie!
But you don’t need to play as any of them — they also let you play as the Kandarian demon!
Or, if you’re not into the whole ‘save the world’ thing, we have another option: you can play as the vile Kandarian demon itself! But who would want to do that? You’d be a dick.
With the power of possession in your arsenal, you’ll scare those goody-two-shoes to death.
Literally, you can do that.
If you’re a dick.Bruce Campbell, Trailer for Evil Dead: The Game
Being single or multiplayer, the PvP implications for a horror game like this are beyond the scope of any Evil Dead game that has come before.
Evil Dead: The Game is a thoroughly modern horror gaming experience.