My recent Saturn binge has been interrupted by one inescapable fact: a lot of old games just weren’t that good.
Take Pandemonium, for example. Password save? Check. Limited lives with a long distance between checkpoints? Sure. 2.5D camera that screws you up every chance it gets? You can bet on it. I’m surprised someone could consider this a cult classic. Even worse, I remember enjoying the demo for this game. The only obvious explanation is that the demo level was the only good one. Either that or kids will just gobble up whatever.
Mansion of Hidden Souls (no, it’s not the same game) manages to be a lot worse than its Mega CD counterpart. Not that the original was a bastion of ingenuity, but it was at least an enjoyable short ride. This Saturn version is a horrible short ride.
I still don’t know why it was billed as a horror game. Perhaps the original had a few creepy parts, but really only a few. Well, this sequel doesn’t have anything of the sort. The ending is more ridiculous than creepy, even if you are spending most of the time saying “what the hell am I watching?”. It’s that bad.
Instead, you can find horror where you wouldn’t expect it. Remember the good old Swagman?
I swear. The cover and intro sure don’t look like a game for kiddies, especially the Swagman’s ugly mug. Then you start playing and suddenly everything is bright and colorful and like a cartoon. Hey, maybe kids can play this after all!
But then you play more, and notice there’s something really wrong with this game: death comes swift and relentless, sometimes in the most unfriendly ways (an enemy turns you to stone and then shutters you to pieces!), some elements are pretty morbid (descending into crypts to kill zombies?), and the difficulty is sure to make everyone but the most hardened player throw the controller out of the window. Unless you are using an emulator with save states. Otherwise, enjoy those restore points that take you a long way back (and force you to watch several loading screens again).
Now there’s something I would like to see remastered. The game could have been good, instead it ends up being pretty frustrating due to the many questionable design choices.
That ending tho. Yeah. If they won’t remaster the game, they could make a horror movie out of it, and it would be actually scary.