RELEASED: August 1995
AVAILABLE ON: GEN, SNES
DEVELOPER(S): Realtime Associates
PUBLISHER(S): Viacom New Media
AAAHH!!! Real Monsters was a Nickelodeon cartoon that ran for three years, between the fourth quarters of 1994 and 1997. Two identical video games based on the successful cartoon were made in 1995 for the dominant 16-bit consoles of the era, by Realtime Associates, who were somewhat "specialized" in licensed games based on American cartoons, including one game in the video game series spun off Nickelodeon's greatest 90's success, The Ren & Stimpy Show. That game was just as unmemorable as the rest of Ren & Stimpy's run in the video game scene, and all that AAAHH!!! Real Monsters has on its side is a bewildering name to stand out from any database.
AAAHH!!! Real headache
Headmaster Gromble sends Ickis, Oblina and Krumm out on a field trip as their Monster Midterm Exam, the final test standing between the trio and graduation from monster school.
To this day, I've never been a Nickelodeon buff. I don't get Ren & Stimpy, SpongeBob SquarePants even less, and back when a very small minority in my school was watching Rugrats, I was watching Beavis & Butt-head. I don't think AAAHH!!! Real Monsters ever even ran in this part of the woods, and even if it did, I didn't notice, probably wouldn't even have cared. The game, I've known by name for ages. Like I said, it stands out from every database with that opening exclamation. Up 'til a few years ago, I didn't know what it was about. It was obviously not a scary game or anything like that, but I had no idea it was actually based on an American cartoon. I did a lot of research on the subject before playing the game - after all, I don't want to play a licensed game if I have no idea what it should look, sound or feel like. I watched a couple of episodes from the opening season, and the show already repeated itself in the latter episode, so I figured I knew enough. So, I played the game, and came to the conclusion that it's a faithful adaptation of the cartoon: it looks the same, it sounds the same, and it feels the same. In this case, at least feeling the same is not a good thing - as I said, the show repeated itself. So does the game - and it repeats a lot of other games besides itself, too. Good ones, but not well.
|This level design makes me wanna Hulk it up!|
By far the most interesting comparison I made is that to the cult classic Lost Vikings. Whenever one says Lost Vikings, you immediately think of clever puzzles that need multiple characters with special abilities to solve. Well, this game has no real puzzles, which is not what the manual says. You switch between three characters all the time, but rather to make simple progress - for example, you can't reach certain ledges off-ground without Oblina's high jump. Ickis can jump the same horizontally, while I have no idea what's the point of having the heavy and stiff Krumm in the group. Each member of the group has a special trio ability, which is damn hard to perform. It's done by "simply" pressing the X button, but whether it connects or not is completely random. Well, Oblina's trio ability is the only one that has some real use, anyway, and none of them are related to attacking, but it's still frustrating to hear an error cue in the stead of connection when you know you're in the exact right spot.
The main method of offense for all three characters is throwing trash around. If you run out of trash to throw, you'll still be swinging practically infinite fishbones at enemies - which are of the exact same strength and range as any other pieces of trash, so I don't get the point of collecting trash! Each character has a unique scare (grrrgh, Beetlejuice) which can be used by collecting monster manuals hidden around levels, to effectively scare off every enemy on screen or do heavy damage on bosses. That's... actually pretty cool. But, the worst part is coming up.
|Evil high school geek 1/1000.|
The show apparently still has fans, and from the info I've collected, it seems that the whole thing is up for its final DVD release, but the game's been all but forgotten. I don't wonder why, at least not anymore. It's probably almost fun if you're a fan of the show, but as a complete stranger to what's so great about these "Real Monsters", I find "almost" exaggeration.
+ Good graphics and decent music, the animation's faithful to the cartoon and the voice samples are of surprisingly high quality
+ The scare feature worked in this one
- Personally, I do not feel any slight attraction to the license
- The boring levels continue 'til infinity
- Good, borrowed ideas with no purpose
- General controls are not all that bad, but certain functions such as the trio moves respond poorly
- Everything besides actual progress, like collecting power-ups, is completely pointless
< 5.5 >