Game: "Home Alone"
System: Sega Genesis
Published by: Sega
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Review: When you make a game based off a movie, you’re going to run into trouble. Right off the bat, you’ve got to deal with the stigma of movie tie-in games sucking so, so hard. Then, you have to actually want to make an entertaining game. This is where most developers fail. They want to make the most banal, uninspired crap they can so they can push the title out the door and make something new. That’s why I was surprised that I actually enjoyed Home Alone.
Just like the movie, the goal of the game is to prevent the Wet Bandits from robbing the neighborhood using improvised traps. The traps in the game aren’t quite as sadistic as the ones in the film, but rest assured, the theme of sadism is alive and well in this game.
You start outside on your sled, which you use to travel from house to house. You have a few traps in your possession, but you’ll need to find more traps and other materials by going into the various houses in the neighborhood. At the same time, however, you’ll need to be on the lookout for the actual bandits themselves as they randomly select a house to rob. You can set traps if you arrive at the house before them, but if you don’t, you’ll have to go straight to the meat and potatoes of the game: improvised firearms.
You’ll occasionally find things like grease and blowtorches to trip up the bandits, but the majority of the game is spent fighting them directly with guns you build out of household items like blow-dryers and paperclips. Each gun is made up of three parts: a platform, an operator, and ammo. The last two usually go together, but the platform decides what kind of weapon it’ll be (the crossbow is used to make rifles, the ice cream scoop makes “launchers”, etc). The types of ammunition run the gamut from hot coals to super balls, the latter temporarily encasing the bandit in a giant rubber ball, rather than simply hitting them with a tiny rubber ball.
There are five houses in the neighborhood, each with a different theme attached to it (old, colonial, mansion, country, and ultra modern). The layout of each house is fairly similar, with each having two or three floors with safes full of “loot” for the bandits to steal spread throughout. However, some of the houses contain unique hazards, such as the weak floors in the old house, and the security robot in the ultra modern house.
The downside of all this is that there are five houses, period. There’s not randomization of the floor plans, no varied zoning for the houses to create different neighborhoods, just the one static layout for the entire game. The only random factor is the kinds of items you’ll find inside each house. Each game consists of you fending off the bandits for exactly twenty minutes until the cops arrive. Once you’ve done that, the game is over, and the credits roll.
Even so, the game is surprisingly entertaining. There’s a certain fun franticness about dividing your time between fighting off the crooks and gathering up supplies so you can MacGyver up some more weapons. I just wish they had mixed things up a little more, if not by making entirely new neighborhoods, then at least changing the existing neighborhood each time so that each game would be different. In any case, in terms of quality, it still beat the average for movie tie-in games.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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