Game: "Daze Before Christmas"
System: Sega Genesis
Published by: Other
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Review: Christmas isn’t really a time for video games. Well, I shouldn’t say that: it’s a time for games, just not games about Christmas. Halloween is about the only holiday that really lends itself to gaming, and that’s only because it can be lumped in with survival horror games, and just about anything with a monster in it. Halloween is all about scariness, and it works. What about Christmas, huh? There aren’t all that many games about good will towards men, unless you count Katamari Damacy, and that’s really more about recycling than anything else.
One of the few games that is indisputably Christmas-y is the aptly-named Daze Before Christmas. The story goes like this: Santa wrecked his sleigh and gave himself a concussion. Now, you must guide the concussed Santa around the workshop, working through the pain and disorientation while preparing to deliver toys to the children of the world.
Okay, really, the story is that some snide a-hole called the “awful louse” has teamed up with an evil snowman and a timekeeper (i.e., a clock) to mess with Santa by scaring off his elves, stealing his “plans”, and scattering his presents all over the North Pole. You, as Santa, must get everything back, punish the offenders, and deliver material rewards to all the children of the world who’ve earned them through good behavior.
That Santa can hurl bolts of pure energy to blast his foes into the next world should come as no surprise. You may, however, be shocked to learn that Santa has a dark side. A “fiend from within”, as the game describes, that can only be brought out with the help of a magic potion. That potion: coffee. One sip, and Santa will transform into a devilish version of himself known as the Anti-Claus. With a name like that, you would think he’d be all about giving presents to bad children, and coal to the obedient ones. Instead, Anti-Claus foregoes presents entirely, opting instead to be invulnerable and smite enemies with his swinging sack... of toys.
As important as it is to the story, the real point of gathering presents in each level is to have something to use during the minigame stages. In each of the four stages, you’ll pilot Santa’s sleigh over a different part of the world, dropping presents into the smoking chimneys below while avoiding airborne obstacles like birds and hot air balloons. A successful drop causes the smoke to stop, so I have to assume each present is large enough to smother the flames, or else Santa is delivering boxes of halon to the children of the world. Whatever the case, these stages mix things up enough that the gameplay doesn’t become too stale.
The whole thing is fun, if not surreal. The only downside is that the game is pretty easy, even on harder difficulty settings. You have plenty of health to begin with, and avoiding damage isn’t that difficult, especially given that you can turn into an ostensibly evil and invincible version of yourself for up to thirty seconds at a time.
The only other downside is that the game was only released in Australia, which means you’ll most likely be playing it on an emulator, if at all. Still, it’s worth checking out however you do it. The animations in the game are fantastic, and it’s a fun game despite the negligible difficulty.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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