Ain’t no party like a Monster Party ’cause a Monster Party don’t stop
Today, I’m going to start out with a disclaimer; I’m not even sure how to begin this review. I usually like to think of something clever or informative, but this game is so bizarre that it really doesn’t need anyone to speak on is behalf. Let’s just get into this, shall we?
Monster Party’s story is short, but rather odd. A young boy, Mark, is walking down the street when a monster approaches him. He introduces himself to Mark as Bury the Gargoyle. Apparently Burt’s world is under attack, and he sees Mark as the ideal savior. Without even giving himself a few seconds to think it over, Mark eagerly agrees. Burt whisks him off, and the adventure begins!
First, let me start off with the mechanics. Wackiness aside, how does it play? Well, honestly, it’s not too bad. Monster Party is a rather straightforward side-scrolling 2D platformer with a basic formula. The player controls Mark through each level, jumping across platforms, navigating mazes, and killing monsters with his trusty baseball bat. Mark has a health bar, and a set number of lives. Too much damage and Mark is dead. Too many deaths leads to a Game Over. Mark can also collect and eat pills (I’m not joking) to temporarily transform into Burt. Burt is stronger, can fly, and shoots projectiles. Why Burt wanted Mark to help him in the first place is beyond me.
Now, let’s get to what really makes the game interesting; the bosses. Each level has three bosses that Mark must defeat. They bosses can be accessed through their respective doors, and can be fought in any order the player wishes but all three must be defeated in order to progress (with the exception of one particular level with a programming error) to the next level. Once the bosses are defeated, Mark gains a key which unlocks the door at the end of the level. While this mechanic is unique within itself, it is the bosses themselves that are the main draw. Each boss is, for the most part, a unique monster and hails from American and Japanese culture, but many are just nonsensical and range from creepy to humorous. Sure, you expected a Giant Spider, the Dragon, and a Zombie, but how about the Punk Rocker? Or maybe the Giant Fried Shrimp? Yeah, they get weird. What’s more, is the fact that each boss has a unique pre-fight quote (with one boss apologizing for the fact that he is dead and immediately surrendering).
Monster Party isn’t the most groundbreaking game, but it’s certainly worth a look. If you’re ever looking for a decent platformer to play and want something a little zany, try Monster Party. I don’t think that you will regret it.
Original Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Released: June 1989 (North America)