Oct 7 2011
Halloween Game Feature Wk1: Sweet Home (Famicom)
Hey everyone, Leathco here!

This is my inaugural posting to the Retro Gaming Roundup blog, and I wanna start out with a bang! Fortunately, its also October, which means I can talk about some of my favorite horror games. Some of the games I'll be talking about I played as a child, while others are what I call "New Retro Classics", which is a retro title that I never experienced as a child but learned to love in my adult years. This blog posting will focus on the latter.

In 1987, RPGs like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest were taking Japan by storm. The games were so popular that Enix, makers of the Draon Quest series, was asked not to release the games during a weekday due to the fear that the release would cause workers and school children to call in sick to skip their responsibilities to play the game. Many of these games were ported over to the United States, and gamers like myself were enthralled by the large worlds to explore. Unfortunately, many titles didn't make the journey overseas, including what may very well be the scariest game the 8-Bit Famicom had to offer, Sweet Home.

Sweet Home is best described as a Role-Playing Survival Horror game. It is based on the Japanese film of the same name. In the game, you control two parties totalling 5 controllable characters attempting to escape a mansion. Each character has a special skill, such as a vacuum cleaner to clean glass from the floor. Unlike conventional RPGs, there are no items to bring a player back to life (although there are Hit Point restoring items). Once a characters Hit Points reach zero, they are dead. Forever. No Phoenix Downs to bring them back. This changes gameplay considerably compared to other RPG series. There are also five different endings to the game, depending on who is still alive at the end.

The game isn't all grinding to make your characters overly strong either, as in many other RPGs. Actually this is impossible because there are a limited number of healing items in the game. It also plays like a puzzle game. There are Frescoes (paintings) throughout the mansion that you can take a picture of to give you clues in the game. Although sometimes the Frescoe can be dirty and you have to use a Broom to clean it. But remember what I said about there being 2 parties totalling 5 people? If the person with the broom isn't in your party, than the other party will have to go to where the other Frescoe is in order to clean it, so the paths your parties choose are very important to how you play the game.

It's all surprisingly deep for a Famicom game, and there aren't many horror themed games out there from this era, so its almost a breath of fresh air to play a retro RPG fighting Zombies, Ghosts, possessed dolls, and whatnot. And while this is a Famicom release, its been translated for English speakers to be able to play! Of course you can always take the ROM download route, but you can also check out TimeWalkGames.com and order a Reproduction cart complete with Box, Manual, and Map if you want to play it on original hardware. Its definately worth the time to look up if you are a fan of RPGs on the NES.


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