Head Games: Thrill Kill (unreleased)

A modern day Mortal Kombat that never was.

Second only to Splatterhouse in its gruesome gaming glory, Thrill Kill was a game developed by now-defunct game developer Paradox that has stuck with me moreso for the controversy it ignited rather than that gameplay value it offered. In fact I have yet to play a working copy of the game, though I have heard that copies do exist online that can be played on a modified PS2 system.

Compared to many of todays gore-laden games such as God of War (PS3) or Madworld (Wii), the concept of Thrill Kill is rather mundane. I mean, what's so wrong about throwing a bunch of depraved, murderous lunatics into Hell and having them battle it out for a chance at freedom? All of the typical taboo stereotypes were there: a deadly dominatrix, psychotic plastic surgeon, redneck cannibal, serial killers, circus freaks and even a demon from Hell. Apparently people before the new millenium just weren't ready for such unrepenting gaming entertainment and the unfinished Thrill Kill has languished in limbo for the past 12 years or so. Shame really.

The fact that the game was left unfinished has attributed to more than a few unfair reviews of the game's graphics, though those that know better will appreciate the horror-inspired nods to such genre classics as Hellraiser (the Tormentor character's finishing move is a direct reference to Pinhead's chains of agony) in addition to an overall sadistic sense of humor that would warm any gorehound's still beating heart(s) and a violence-inducing industrial soundtrack courtesy of Contagion.

It has, however, seemed to live on in other games both through its gaming engine (Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style) and its creative gameplay such as the "Thrill Kill" system (a possible inspiration behind the upcoming Splatterhouse's "Splatter Kill") that encourage players to power-up by essentially being more brutal to their opponents. Here's to you Thrill Kill: may the memories of your virtual villainy grow ever more malevolently magnificent.


  1. AllHallowSteve said...:

    So glad someone else remembers Thrill Kill!

    I remember reading about this in Electronic Gaming Monthly (or some other such mag) and getting really excited about the dark fighting game.

    Then I read it was cancelled (I think by Electronic Arts who made some statement like "it doesn't fit with our standards..." or some such nonsense) and was extremely disappointed.

    Years ago there were a few simple fan sites that had media up and one had a hi-rez version of the Thrill Kill devil's head logo which I nabbed and made a t-shirt out of which I wore proudly.

    You're right in saying that compared to the games of today, this really is tame.

    Nice post!

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    I definitely remember all of the hype surrounding this game, and I admit that I got caught up. To this day, the concept still remains pretty cool even if the graphics look childish comparatively.

    Its funny when you think about how high and mighty EA was back then when you look at some of the games they've made since then. Makes no sense.

    A Thrill Kill tshirt? Too awesome!!

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