Innsmouth no Yakata

released on Oct 13, 1995
by I'Max



Innsmouth no Yakata is an Action game, developed by Betop and published by I'Max, which was released in Japan in 1995. Loosely based on the H.P Lovecraft novel "The Shadow over Innsmouth". On the cover and in the manual, the name is incorrectly rendered as "Insmouse".

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Definitely the coolest Virtual Boy game, and maybe the only dual-digital first person shooter?

probably the best virtual boy game, not that that means anything but nice fun fact

(EDIT: I forgot Jack Bros exists, that one is amazing, so this is the 2nd best virtual boy game)

Survival Horror, as a genre, often feels hard to pin down due to its particular origins in adventure games. The prototype tends to be one of attrition and riddles, a game about navigating a maze of monsters while solving puzzles and unlocking doors. But what if you reduced that down, boiled it down like syrup into its absolute most basic form? I think different people will have different ideas of what that syrup would taste like. But it might taste something like Innsmouth no Yakata (Mansion of Innsmouth).

The game consists of running around corridors, searching for keys and map orbs, and shooting Lovecraftian beasties that get in your way. Your ammunition is limited, so you also scour for bullets, as well as health pick-ups. It's almost like a dungeon crawl. But here's the kicker: there's a time limit. A short one, too! You never get more than like, 3 minutes to complete a level. Unlike most Survival Horror, which are slow trudges through corridors of dread, playing through Innsmouth no Yakata is a frantic, desperate sprint through a haunted house.

In a way, Innsmouth no Yakata is almost a precursor to the cult classic Killer7, Grasshopper's own radical reinterpretation of Survival Horror. It's a unique experience, and I'm curious what it would feel like in the Virtual Boy headset.

Now, does all this singularity make Innsmouth no Yakata a good game? Not really. It's too barebones and too repetitive to be much more than an a diversion. And I bet there are other games that have figured this style out better. But it's an interesting piece within the lineage of Survival Horror, showcasing a unique take on just what this genre can be capable of doing, all while draped in that eerie VB red monochrome.