RELEASED: June 1989
AVAILABLE ON: NES
Monster Party for the Nintendo Entertainment System - sounds like the perfect game for a Monster Mash. What we have here is an obscure title from the late 80's, which was originally planned as a really gory and dark game, and as a test subject to the laws of video game censorship upheld at the time. The game was released in 1989 as a totally different interpretation of the original draft - a bizarre horror parody, that is still considered a cult game due to its consciously ridiculous presentation and prototype images of the original version, that emerged years after the game's release. I've got more requests for this game than I used to have for The Legend of Zelda (honestly!), so I think the time is ripe to attend the Monster Party.
One fucked up game
I was fully aware of the game's reputation in the big book of video game camp humour, but I was not prepared to be speechless. Did they really try to sell this game as anything more or less than a parody, I wonder? After all, the box art doesn't exactly scream out "satire". The moment you slap the game in, you'll know what it's gonna be all about. You can try to take it seriously, you can try not to find hidden meanings to the dialogue and imagery, you can try not to laugh at the completely non-sensical quotes... but there's no way you can survive this LSD-induced round trip without smiling just a little. That's good, ain't it? Seeing what random hilarity lies around the next corner is what makes Monster Party somewhat addictive, even all the while the generic and dull gameplay is slowly driving you insane. It's no Earthworm Jim and it's not nearly as straight-up surreal, but Monster Party does have its moments.
|Easier than Bob the Killer Goldfish in |
Monster Party is a platformer with simple level design - and when I say simple, I mean level design that a fourth-grader can do given the tools of the most simple level editor. That simple. Your goal is to advance through eight levels, and beat one to three bosses per each, some of them in really awkward, random ways, but most of them in generic "who gets there first" bash 'em fashion. The walks between the boss rooms are filled with enemies you may want to kill to gain some power-ups to get the early upper hand in each boss fight. As a unique feature Sofel later upgraded with their surprisingly good Dragon Fighter, by collecting these capsules (that look like painkillers) you can transform into your butt buddy Bert, who can not only fly across stages, he can also use his flying ability as well as his projectiles to make a much more formidable stand against bosses than Mark, who's equipped with a pathetic baseball bat with an equally pathetic range. What's great about the baseball bat, though, is that Mark can use it to reflect enemy projectiles. You need both characters to beat the game... and much more than that, though. Patience above all.
|Welcome to demonic airlines, where everything's |
|Aaaaargh! A smiling sea monster with a single |
tooth, swimming on one straight track! Aaaargh!
Monster Party would've taken a greater deal of work than Bandai was willing to sacrifice for it to pass with flying colours as a game, but seriously, it's not that bad. It's simple semi-fun with, and I quote, "outlandish" lines that are retro legend. It's also one of the chosen few Japanese 8-bit games most devoid of bad grammar, so the jokes hit home as ridiculous themselves, and not because of ridiculous developmental errors. It's definitely an interesting item for the most devoted retro gamer to get familiar with.
+ The story is so whacked I can't help but like it in a campy sense
+ Switching between two characters via power-ups is basically a good idea, and somewhat innovative, considering the game was made in '89
+ Some very good music and visual ideas
+ Some simply hilarious bosses, like the "Punk Rocker", the "Deceased Crab" and the "Dancing Dead"
- Dull gameplay and level design
- No checkpoints within levels
- You can get stuck without Bert
- Severe glitches that have the potential of ruining the game
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