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randombullseye avatar 1:15 PM on 10.22.2009
Old School Games: Sweet Home



One thing I'm always reading in response to my articles is about Nostalgia. The idea that I only like these games because I played them twenty years ago. Wrong. Some of my readers seem to act like that too. I've a game I'm playing for the first time today that I've heard a little about, but put off until today. Sweet Home.



I love horror. I like Resident Evil. These are my types of things. So surpsingly, Resident Evil did not invent Video game horror. Yeah, I know. Before even Alone in the Dark there was a japanese nes (famicom) game called Sweet Home. From Capcom of all people. Yes, I know capcom isn't a person but it might as well be. What's really strange is how similar this is to Resident Evil. what's even more strange is that its actually creepy. And in 8-bit. All my research into this thing came up with bizzare results. The wikipedia page for example links to one of our very own community bloggers post. It's a really good post about how much Resident evil and Sweet Home share in common. Another site I found on RPG classics has a strange character biography in which he did an almost sprite comic interview style with them. I don't understand it either. It's like when strategy FAQs are made to be humorous. I can't not comment on that. Otherwise his site has plenty of information and helped me out, but the characters thing I don't understand at all.



I've heard about it years ago as "that one game that's like resident evil but never released here." While that is a little true, it's not quite that. Sweet Home is an RPG. And it has some elements of Survival Horror. You manage your items like in one anyway and solve puzzles much like in those. As far as combat however, its all RPG battles. Level ups, weapons, all that great stuff. I've found this game to be enjoyable.

Sound wise this is classic capcom. It's got a creepier mood to it. Not as upbeat creepy as Ducktales spooky levels, but close to it. I always asked for more RPGs from them and I have another one. Hooray! Breath of Fire's great, but I know they can do more. At least they should. And here they did twenty years ago.



One particular section just scared the crap out of me. You know everyone can die and stay dead. Having JUST figured out how to use items and being less than thirty minutes in, someone almost died. In an early section I have to use wood to make planks to cross gaps and on a trip back things broke! One person was falling. I didn't know what to do. I hit team and that worked, I tried talking first though. I was so afraid I would lose someone two minutes in. I'm seriously about five screens in too. What the heck!



In another battle I tried the call commnd. What this does is really cool. In any battle you can call your other team. I'm assuming you're actually calling out loud, since cell phones would have been a bit much. So here you are, yelling at the other characters. What happens? They instantly show up? No. That's wrong. You switch to them and are forced to march over where the others are. I'm assuming this can be used in more difficult battles to gang up on opponents, a tactic I will use.

The party system is so uniuqe. I've had swtichable characters before and squad based gameplay, but never as well presented as this. What it is, you have five characters. Each has a uniuqe item. A camera, a lighter, a key, a medical kit, and a vacuum. It makes sense to me. A vacuum for ghost battling makes perfect sense. If you've played Survival Horror games at all you know you have to burn things. One girl happens to have a key, I don't get that, maybe she's a master of unlocking. If I was translating, maybe I would have done that instead. The other two are real interesting. One is a nurse with a medical kit. It seems to heal everyones wounds, poisons and "frozen." The other has a camera. I will point out that Japanese people take a lot of pictures. It's something I've noticed in films and life, they seem to snap pictures like crazy. Now in some cultures, that's a way to capture someones soul. And have you ever heard of Fatal Frame? Your camera is the weapon. Now it all makes sense. And this is translated from japanese by some fans. I've had games that made this type of gameplay so excruciating to do. Project Eden on PS2 I'm looking at you. There was a Star Wars game that I had trouble managing too.

It's worked well for me thus far and I really, really enjoy this when it works. It makes you think about who to team with who. Where to go. How far apart to keep everyone, I'm keeping everyone baby steps apart, that's just me though. Everyone can die and stay dead. But in a strange twist, you can keep playing. You'll be missing out on their items and party member, but you can still finish the game. Otherwise you'll restart the whole thing all over. I hate doing that. So I'm keeping everyone within the same screen and fighting battles together.



What's really crazy about all this is that this is a movie game. Yes. It is licsened from a movie! I can't believe that. So I had to see the film. IMDB's forum had a post about it being on you tube, I go to you tube. And as I'm about to watch a VHS copy what do I notice on the sidebar? A girl getting a clit piercing. I know! What does that have to do with anything. Anyway the movie. I'm about to watch now.



One thing has really bothered me while playing. The translation has the word "MOVE" instead of pick up or something that would make sense. You hit that to pick up items. MOVE? Really? I would have accepted ITEM or USE, but MOVE? It took me a bit to figure out, but I think I've gotten the hang of it. That's one small gripe for a capcom horror RPG on the nintendo. Regular nintendo at that. I'm blown away by how this thing builds tension. You know you can die at any time, and you have to keep everyone together. But you need to explore so scooby doo rules are in effect. "Gee, it sure would be nice to split up. Okay I'll take Daphne, you, scooby and shaggy go to the attic!" Japanaese horror seems less about gore and jump scares and more about building a sense of dread. Foreboding even. Knowing that things aren't going to end well and that you're against stuff way out of your league. I mean for gods sake, one character has a vacuum. Sucking up ghosts doesn't seem to work here.

I strongly reccomend sweet home. It's a classic capcom nintendo game that everyone missed out on. I couldn't stick with the movie. The copy I found is a VHS one and there was no way I could stick with it for very long. Some other time I'll try and watch it. But the game? As soon as I have a weekend free I'll be playing through Sweet Home.

What a crazy cover:



OLD SCHOOL COMMENTARY:
I love you guys. Sorry I'm not around or posting as much or posting jokey things. I'll be posting more series old school games like the Goemon or Shin Megami ones. I can't post as much because I don't have the time. Two nights off a week usually means those are my sleeping nights. I'll try to hang out with everyone online more often. Especially a certain Shinigami.

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