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Carnevil arcade flyer.jpg
North American arcade flyer
Developer(s)Midway Games
Atari Games
Publisher(s)Midway Games
Producer(s)Neil Nicastro, Kenneth J. Fedesna
Programmer(s)Samuel Christian Zehr, Jason Blochowiak
Artist(s)Scott Pikulski, Samuel Lewis Crider, Martin Murphy, Rowan Atalla, Martin Martinez, Jack E. Haeger
Composer(s)Kevin Quinn, Jason Blochowiak
  • NA: October 31, 1998
Genre(s)Light gun rail shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, Multiplayer
Arcade systemMidway Seattle hardware
CPUMain CPU: R5000 @ 150 MHz
SoundSound CPU: ADSP2115 @ 16 MHz
Sound Chips: (2x) DMA-driven @ 16 MHz
640 x 480 resolution
57 Hz refresh rate
65536 palette colors

CarnEvil is a rail shooter arcade game using a light gun. It was released by Midway Games, and developed by Atari Games on October 31, 1998. CarnEvil is noted for its graphic content and strong lifelike violence, peppered with heavy amounts of black humor. CarnEvil is a portmanteau of "The Carnival of Evil" and was inspired by the 1962 movie Carnival of Souls. It is the most successful light gun style game produced by Midway Games, although to date it has never received a home-console release or re-release.


The game is set in the fictional town of Greely Valley, Iowa. An urban legend claims that if a golden token is inserted into the jester's mouth on top of the tombstone of Ludwig von Tökkentäkker, a ringmaster buried in the cemetery, a haunted amusement park will rise from the earth.

The game begins with a group of kids taking a hayride tour through the Greely Valley cemetery, courtesy of the local "ghost expert" Spooky Sam. The unnamed protagonist leaves the tour and approaches Tökkentäkker's tombstone to find a golden coin sitting in its slot. The protagonist inserts the coin into the jester's mouth, resulting in the legendary undead carnival rising from the ground. Trapped inside, he takes a rifle from the shooting gallery and uses it to fight off hordes of undead monsters and other creatures in order to escape. After fighting through the Haunted House, Rickety Town, and the Freak Show, he enters the Big Top and fights his way in order to face Tökkentäkker directly aboard his airship.

Soon after killing Tökkentäkker, the protagonist falls from the airship as it explodes. In the morning, he and the only other survivor, Betty, wake up in front of the tombstone, where the token falls back into its slot. The protagonist re-inserts it into the mouth of the jester, causing it to laugh wickedly as Betty screams in horror.


CarnEvil consists of four levels, each ending with a boss fight. The first three levels (Haunted House, Rickety Town, Freak Show) can be played in any order, but the fourth (Big Top) cannot be accessed until all three are cleared. The players shoot enemies on the screen while progressing through amusement-park-themed horror environments. The gameplay is considerably violent and features bloody scenes throughout. The controller is a pump-action shotgun attached to the cabinet by a cable; to reload, players must either pump the fore-end or fire off-screen.

Occasionally, a girl named Betty will appear as an innocent civilian. Shooting her earns a life penalty, but does not garner any long-term consequences or changes to the game.

Health and weapon power-ups can be found throughout the game. Weapon power-ups available include a machine gun, shotgun, flamethrower, acid bath gun, and an increase in the standard gun's magazine capacity. They can be obtained by shooting floating icons, such as a shotgun shell or a barrel of acid; the weapons cannot be reloaded, but the magazine increase remains in effect until the player's life meter is empty. Grabbing these power-ups also provides bonus points to the player.

Software settings allow operators to control the amount of blood and gore generated when enemies are killed, and to replace Junior, a giant deformed zombie baby, with a demonic teddy bear named Deaddy as the boss of the Freak Show level.

See also[edit]

  • Blood, known for its dark carnival themed level.
  • Illbleed, which has a similar premise.

External links[edit]