Game: "Daze Before Christmas"
System: Sega Genesis
Genre: Action
Published by: Other

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 12/9/2009

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.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Last of the Time Lords
Dec 9th, 2009, 11:05 AM
Australia?! I knew a kid who had this one! Where the hell did he get it? Did I unknowingly live next to a family of game bootleggers?

Crap, now I can't stop imagining my old neighbors as sneaky mafia type criminals wearing dark shades and hanging around at the docks to pick up unlawful shipments of Cool Spot.
the axe and the smasher
Dec 9th, 2009, 01:26 PM
It's a shame that didn't come out here, Sunsoft made some pretty fun games.
Dec 9th, 2009, 03:44 PM
For Anti-Claus I can only understand one thing:

Fat, godammned bastard who steals presents from all the kids' houses (non-Grinch related) and leaves them the corpses he carries in his huge bodybag instead.
Is a thin donkey
Dec 10th, 2009, 07:11 PM
The Australian gaming press weren't as kind as you about this game, Dr. Boogie.

One magazine said it was, and I quote, "Way too cutesy to be taken seriously, with a completion time measured in minutes. This game could be a challenge for anyone who has yet to attend school."
Pickled Patriarch
Dec 10th, 2009, 08:39 PM
"You, as Santa, must get everything back, punish the offenders"

Dec 11th, 2009, 03:04 AM
Poor Aussies.
Dec 12th, 2009, 05:51 PM
I've got this on my psp, it does have nice visuals, but I haven't played much.
Forum Virgin
Dec 14th, 2009, 03:53 PM
If they really want a decent game about christmas to review, they should do james pond 2 for the genesis. I still play it every once in a while on my psp genesis emulator.
Funky Dynamite
Dec 14th, 2009, 06:25 PM
Forum Virgin
Dec 14th, 2009, 09:45 PM
Man, looking at that Anti-Claus picture I figured "for sure this must be a resprite-ed version of a Japanese game, like Decap Attack or Yo, Noid!, that originally starred a Tanooki." You know, the racoon thing Mario can turn into in Mario 3, oh, and it has a nutsack the size of mainland China that it uses to smack people? It's actually been done in games before, and look where that sack Anti-Claus is carrying in that screenshot is positioned and tell me I'm wrong (except, you know, for the fact that I am).