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Carnevil arcade flyer.jpg
North American arcade flyer
Developer(s) Midway 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
Platform(s) Arcade
Release date(s)
  • NA October 31, 1998
Genre(s) Light gun rail shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer
Arcade system Midway Seattle hardware
CPU Main CPU: R5000 @ 150 MHz
Sound Sound CPU: ADSP2115 @ 16 MHz
Sound Chips: (2x) DMA-driven @ 16 MHz
Display Horizontal
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 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 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 shotgun 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 to face Tökkentäkker directly aboard his airship.

Soon after killing Tökkentäkker, his airship is destroyed and the protagonist falls from it. He then wakes up in front of the tombstone, where the coin falls back into its slot. The protagonist then takes the token and inserts it again into the mouth of the jester, as the series of events is concluded.


CarnEvil consists of four levels, each ending with a boss fight. The first three levels can be played in any order, but the fourth 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.

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.

A software setting allows operators to replace Junior, a giant deformed baby, with a demonic teddy bear named Deaddy as the boss of the Freak Show level.


In Corresponding order:

  • Haunted House – a Victorian-style mansion with a graveyard, posing as a dark ride, filled with zombies, ghosts, spiders, bats, and other Halloween favorites. The wagon goes along a track leading through the mansion floors and knocks the players into an open grave.
  • Freak Show – a boardwalk-style exhibition of the bizarre and astounding featuring a host of deformed opponents. A dungeon and torture chamber, as well as a macabre assembly line of sorts, make this stage particularly disturbing.
  • Ludwig von Tökkentäkker's Big Top – a massive circus tent swarming with clowns, mimes, and circus animals. Ascending the big top allows you to reach Ludwig von Tökkentäkker's zeppelin where the final battle takes place.


The Good[edit]

  • The Protagonist(s) – Went on Spooky Sam's Ghost Tour after being told about the old legend of Greely Valley. After the carnival emerges from the ground, he/they must fight his/their way out or die trying.

Contrary to popular belief, the protagonist's name(s) are never mentioned throughout the game, nor in the manual. The reason given was because Midway wanted the protagonist's identity('s) to be that of the players playing the game.

  • Betty – A teenage girl who was on Spooky Sam's Ghost Tour as well. When CarnEvil is summoned from the cemetery, she indistinctly appears out of nowhere during the game and always shouts "Help me!". She follows the player(s) in each level and usually winds up being attacked (or even killed) by the enemies. Accidentally shooting her results in damage to the player's life points, but does not subject miscellaneous punishment.

Haunted House Enemies[edit]

  • Rotten Robbie (Robbie the Zombie) – zombies that have overrun the Haunted House. They can bite, scratch, kick, or throw objects, including but not limited to knives and body parts.
  • Gools and Rayths – evil spirits who haunt the halls of the mansion. These vile entities are known to appear almost anywhere throughout the level and vanish when blasted.
  • Arachne – giant spiders who stalk the dark corridors of the Haunted House and make shrieking noises when killed.
  • Legs – smaller spiders who dwell in the basement of the Haunted House.
  • Batty – large bats who like to take a bite out of visitors. Be careful of them, as they can fly very fast and can overwhelm visitors because they are always in groups.
  • Grabby – dangerous arms that pop out of the walls in the Haunted House. They only wish to claw at anyone foolish enough to enter the hallways.
  • Hambone – Jason Voorhees-inspired maniac and sub-boss in the Haunted House stage. Hambone first appears at the mansion entrance to try and stop the player(s). He wears a hockey mask and bib overalls while sporting a Gatling Gun arm. After being defeated once, he later returns (as Hambone: The Revenge) and sports a Grenade Launcher arm. The mask can be shot off.
  • Evil Marie – parody of Marie Antoinette and boss of the Haunted House stage. Evil Marie emerges from her graveyard mausoleum. She appears as a ghoulish lady with vampire fangs in a small white and pink dress and powdered wig. She sports an axe and comically oversized breasts. She loses clothing as she takes damage until ending in a corset and stockings before being impaled on a gravestone.

Rickety Town Enemies[edit]

  • Tinsels – Twisted elves in Rickety Town that attack by throwing presents and stabbing with sharpened candy canes. They resemble the Green Goblin.
  • Carnie the Dinosaur– The mascot of Rickety Town, a sort of evil, demented version of Barney the dinosaur but blue-green in color. They are seen on the "Dino-Rama" flat ride with the whirling dinosaur eggs.
  • Buzzy – Small insects grown fat on expired carnival food. They have razor sharp fangs.
  • Smilin' Bob (Mr. Smiley) – An overly cheerful gas station attendant whose grin never wavers even after half of his head is blown away; attacks by swinging a wrench, a gas can or by punching. He primarily appears in the Bumper Car Garage area of the stage.
  • Skeleteens – Teenage skeletal employees of the food court. They move and attack quickly, throwing food and jumping over the counter to rush up for close-quarters fighting.
  • Krampus the Anti-Claus – Monstrous Santa Claus with reindeer antlers, talons, and ice skates. Krampus comes from behind a giant Christmas tree when it turns around to reveal the other side. He glides around the skating rink and attacks by slashing with his talons, swinging his bag, and throwing hot coals. This scary Santa is the only boss character in Rickety Town. Named for Krampus, the demonic counterpart to Santa Claus in some myths, who punishes naughty children at Christmas.

Freak Show Enemies[edit]

  • Flem the Fly – A fly with a human head. He enjoys buzzing around the Fly Trap.
  • Maggot Mike – human-headed maggots who love to give visitors "kisses".
  • FlapJack, the Amazing Flip-Flop Man – the upper bodies of two acrobat twins sewn together at the waist. They attack the player(s) with spiked clubs. When you shoot one half of the body, the opposite half will giggle.
  • Nik-Nak the Spider Monkey – deadly "spider monkeys" created by cross-breeding those two creatures; very fast and agile. They are fought within a giant cage.
  • Tort and Rodz – grotesque mutilated inmates of the Chamber of Horrors. They are so tortured that a few shots will make the body drop fast to the ground.
  • Eyeclops – Cockney speaking sub-boss of the Freak Show. You must defeat him before entering the Chamber of Horrors. Eyeclops appears as a two-headed ogre knight donning light armor, a sword, and a shield. He sports one eye on each head, three on his chest, and several others on his arms and legs. These are obviously his main weak point. Use the rapid-fire tactic to take out every eye on his body so that he falls quickly.
  • Junior – gigantic infant sewn together from parts unknown and brought to life by lightning like Frankenstein and the boss of the Freak Show level. He is fought inside a gigantic playpen where he attempts to crush the player(s). He uses a vomiting attack which is nearly impossible to avoid. Ultimately, he is forced back into his crib where he is electrocuted and decomposed. Arcade workers also have the option to replace Junior with Deaddy, a gigantic teddy bear who uses the same fighting tactics.

Big Top Enemies[edit]

  • Muertito – small devil-like bat headed creatures who speak Spanish. They are usually seen in flight or launched out of a cannon.
  • Smeek – small clowns who wield knives or fling bowling pins and wear new red, white and blue attire. Despite their small size, they have very deep voices.
  • Marcello – French mimes who seem to get in the way performing.
  • Mister Ozob – large clowns who make strange squeaking noises when hit. They attack the player(s) with giant mallets or brass knuckles. Mister Ozob's original name was "Boffo". This can be seen on the banner in the introduction cutscene, and on a poster in the Big Top.
  • Broodles – undead poodles in clown attire. They resemble Cujo and perform amazing feats!
  • Dr. Klot – a crazed clown surgeon who likes to "clown around" with his patients.
  • Skeleton crew – numerous skeletons who appear during the final battle with Tökkentäkker. They are the Professor's crew members and will prevent the player(s) from reaching their master.
  • Umlaut – he first appears as a petrified jester's skull on Tökkentäkker's grave. When the Player(s) feed him the gold token, he comes to life, starts floating around and summons CarnEvil. When the player(s) selects a level, Umlaut appears to give a rhyming description of what's in store and taunts the player(s) at the end of each rhyme. Umlaut returns as an opponent during the final battle in Tökkentäkker's Big Top. He attacks by biting the player(s). The player(s) must defeat him before facing Tökkentäkker. He is voiced by Frank Welker.
  • Professor Ludwig von Tökkentäkker – the ringmaster of CarnEvil, all of its horrors, main antagonist and final boss. Appearing as an eccentric gentleman speaking in a German accent, clad in a brilliantly colored ringmaster's costume with five bell-shaped coat buttons and wearing the token that was inserted into the gravestone as an eye patch, he commands from his zeppelin over CarnEvil, staffed by a skeleton crew. He sports a Blunderbuss as well as a vanishing act, leading the player(s) on a chase throughout his ship. He also sets a fireworks display after being shot overboard and sliced into pieces through the ship's propellers.

Voice Cast[edit]

CarnEvil Original Soundtrack[edit]

List of tracks in order. Original Score Composed by Kevin Quinn.

1. CarnEvil Introduction – 1:38

2. CarnEvil Superbeast – 0:30

3. Select Your Doom – 1:03

4. Christmas Wonderland – 1:06

5. Big Bunyan Ride! – 1:22

6. The Garage (Bumper Cars) – 1:30

7. Krampus – 1:31

8. Haunted House – 1:07

9. Freak Show – 0:52

10. Breakfast Bowl (Chamber of Horrors) – 1:25

11. Junior – 1:24

12. Ludwig von Tökkentäkker's Big Top – 1:04

13. The Final Ring – 1:04

14. The Baron's Airship – 1:17

15. Credits – 2:35

See also[edit]

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

External links[edit]