This is the first and potentially not the last post where I talk about five games that I’ve played for the new Halloween- themed volume. What is October to you? To me, October is the month where I hide inside my room during the cold weather and shove all the poached pears in the world inside my abyssal mouth. Spook times!!!
Basketball Nightmare [Sega Master System]
The only enjoyable thing in this game to me were the animated cutscenes that play during the slam dunks. Indeed, they are pretty rough and stiff, but I find them charming nevertheless. The overall gameplay feels like a watered- down “Tecmo NBA Basketball [NES]”, where you can also stand in front of your active opponent, which stops them right in their tracks, either until they realize half a minute later that the ball can be passed down or you steal it from them. There is quite the weird RNG when it comes to successful shots, regardless of their range! I liked the variety of the monster teams that you get to play against in the story mode. However, playing and beating each of them ends up being quite the boring task and I have no idea how I did it on my first try! Wait, I do! I kept blocking their active players!
Drac’s Night Out [NES]
You are Drac and you have to go out on a date with this one girl each day, for five times in a row! Every round, you have to exit your home first and then find the house where the girl lives. Exiting your home is pretty challenging, given that it gets invaded by villagers constantly. Lucky you though, you can activate traps or call for the help of various monsters. If a villager is hurt, you can consume them for blood [HP] and you transform once you’ve accumulate enough of them. Once you transform, you turn into a bat, which lets you go through a part of the level fairly quickly, ignoring all danger and whatnot. There is also a fall damage and shoes that you can collect which grant you speed and the ability to jump over wide gaps, villagers, traps and something that I didn’t knew until I finished the game was that you can jump on villagers to stun them! The house is divided by five sections and for each round, you have to exit through the door on the lowest floor, on the same section you woke up. On each new round, Drac wakes up at a different location on the highest floor. During your descend, you are free to go to other sections, which is also a key element at certain times. As the rounds go by, some traps and monsters can harm you as well and the villagers speed and invasion pace increases by a bit. Here’s few hints from me:
/ You can jump over rolling rocks and wheels if you are close enough to them and time your jump well./ [Without shoes!]
/Careful when you transition to the first section of the house on round two, as it is possible to get stuck quite early, but I guess you can [EAT] your way out of it. [?]/
/At the start of round three, to avoid fall damage when you transition to section four, you can start your jump from section three./
/The light switch needed to remove the darkness in round four is located two floors below you, on the left. It’s quite safe and easy to access, but it took ME a while to find it! At the start, I went as far as to play half of the section in complete darkness…/
/Grinding villagers for transformation can save you lots of time, mainly doing annoying transitioning from one section of the house to another and dealing with hordes of pesky villagers. There is also a switch towards the end of round five which you can access easily as a bat, rather than trying to go for the shoes and learn the platforming momentum, which will cost you a few falls./
The second part of the game takes a different turn from the early platforming and puts you into a top- down perspective. As Drac, now you have to locate the house of the girl, which of course is done by asking/ consuming people for directions and items. The early rounds are quite generous as they provide you with a map and the bridges in town are still intact. Later rounds, the game make you find a map from a merchant and the bridges are removed. How important those factors are depends entirely on the girl’s location, which is always randomly generated. You know, given that she is the only lady in town that can afford to dress in plain, semi- dark blue [?], it’s obvious that she comes from a rich family that probably owns half the town. There is also now the classic mob with pitchforks and torches, which are sadly, an instant GAME OVER for Drac if they come into contact with him. While I do think that the time limit within’ the game and Drac’s HP meter are quite generous, getting stuck on a path between two mob groups is probably one of the worst feelings in the video game universe, especially on later rounds, ESPECIALLY if you are going for a no- death run… Here’s be hints from me:
/As houses have both front and back exits, the same applies to entrances! I know, it’s amazing! Few people would be willing to enter through a door they can’t see though…/
/Need to cross the river but bridges are out? Trapdoors inside some houses can lead you across. You just need to find the correct houses!/
/Mob groups are the worst thing in the universe, but they can’t harm you during your transformation. [In this part, Drac transforms into a dog/ or wolf???] Pick up some shoes to boost your speed up even further during your transformation and you’ll be flying through half the town in now time! [Not really, but still, the feeling is pretty great!]
Scooby-Doo: Curse of Anubis – Pyramid of Doom!
I was never all that big of a fan on the whole Scooby- Doo series. I remember watching a few episodes, back in the days, simply because there wasn’t anything else, more interesting, running at the time. So do I remember. At that time, the kids in my school would go crazy over the series for some reason, making conversations and topics about it for the whole day. When I was asked about my opinion, I would state that I have no interest in things that are not/related to] video games and at the time, our country wasn’t big on importing any Scooby-Doo games whatsoever. [?]
“Scooby-Doo: Curse of Anubis – Pyramid of Doom!” is a flash game that I picked randomly a few days ago. It features and isometric view and pushing block elements, along with a limit regarding how many steps you can make. The goal is to reach the exit door in each room. Blocks serve as a mere obstacles and are not required for a specific arrangement. The ten levels that I played felt pretty decent. Maybe there could have been more, with additional gimmicks? It took me two tries to complete the game with what I assume is the highest possible score?
The thing about the game is that you have limit on your steps, not an actual time limit. Thus, you can take your time to plan your path ahead quite well. The whole isometric perspective might add a bit of a weird feeling to it, but it’s nothing too complicated really.
Scooby-Doo Mystery [Sega Genesis]
Scooby-Doo as an adventure game was a fairly satisfying experience. One can argue as to how it can’t match other titles in the genre of the time in terms of visuals and ESPECIALLY sound, but as a whole, I personally had no problems with any of those. The game features two chapters which are pretty short, but there is enough puzzle- solving and exploring to satisfy even the veterans of the High Mountain Adventure Game Club Dragon Breath VII. Some items are quite well hidden, so I suggest looking carefully and interacting with things in many ways as possible. There are no dead ends or bullshit- logic at hand, which is nice. Not always, but as a whole, quite nice. If you are in the mood for some casual and comfy adventure game, featuring the two blockheads from the Scooby-Doo series, you are in for quite the ride!
I like how the game gives you indirect hints/ direction through Scooby, who follows you around everywhere. You even get to interact with him at a certain, single, one point! It’s a nice little touch, but I liked it quite a lot.
Sweet Home [NES]
This is a survival- horror, top- down perspective game that I’ve put on a hold even since I learned about it around 2009. I saw it first on some forums, then I briefly saw some LPs, it was suggested to me by friends and foes, by my own self and eventually, there it is! 2017, Halloween blast baby, “Sweet Home”… IS REALLY SWEET! Man, I really do regret not playing it sooner…
In the game, you take control of five people, who get locked inside an old mansion – house- building, which turns out to be haunted. Finding an exit and learning more about the ghost who locked you up are your main priorities, as well as trying to keep as many members of your party alive as possible. You can control each person separately or you can put them into groups of up to three people. Each character has their own special thing, like one can open locked doors with a key, other can cure ill- stats, burn ropes and so on. If someone dies, you lose on their special item, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll get stuck! There are additional items that can replicate the effect of the special item that the death member possessed. There is a maid in the game and I really liked that, since you don’t see those often in games like this, especially with the power to ACTUALLY clean garbage and open new paths! Honestly, the whole cast of the game is pretty awesome, despite how simple and generic they might seem at first sight.
Each character has a limited inventory space, so a few reasons to keep as many people alive as possible are to keep items organized and to avoid needless backtracking. There are quite a lot of items within, the game – Some are needed to open new paths, other are needed for solving a certain puzzle. There is also an item which restores HP and WEAPONS! That’s right! Apart from just going around the house, collecting items and solving stuff, you also get to FIGHT! Randomly generated encounters put the lovely cast of “Sweet Home” against some pretty neat foes! Not so neat in terms of names, but visually, every enemy in “Sweet Home” I found to be pretty cool. Spooky cool!
You get experience from fighting enemies, which makes your characters stronger, up to a maximum level of 20. The battles are easier when done in a big group of three and with acquiring better weapons. While you don’t need to level up every character in the game, you do need at least three or two of them to be tough enough to face further encounters and the boss of the game. Having all your characters leveled up and well equipped lets you move them more freely, potentially dealing with encounters easily and using them from whatever part of the game you might need them. I think that Emi and Akiko are pretty important during the whole course, as locked doors and ill- stats are the things most presented within’ the game. Thus, having them leveled up and geared well is a good strategy for a successful run.
Leveling up comes naturally and no actual grinding is needed as you progress. I like how rewarding leveling up and obtaining good weapons is, to the point where it makes your group virtually untouchable by attacks from normal encounters. The logic behind the puzzles is pretty solid and easy to follow. There are two VERY WELL hidden items, which I didn’t managed to find until after I finished the game. Honestly though, they are not all that great, not game- breaking at all! More like optional, depending on how much free inventory space you can afford, really.
Playing this game, I could see how it managed to inspire various series and titles that came years after it. “Sweet Home” was like a grand feast, but I’m full. Full, full! Not just nap time- full. Damn! What a good game!