SNOW WHITE: HAPPILY EVER AFTER
You go nuts trying to find a game weird enough, obscure enough and relevant enough that it’s both interesting to talk about and ties in nicely to a recent movie release, and when something finally pops up you end up regretting ever opening that Pandora’s box.
Damn you Snow White & The Huntsman for making me hunt down the only Snow White retro game I could find: Snow White: Happily Ever After on the Super Nintendo.
The rare game is based not on the 1937 Disney classic but on the 1993 unofficial sequel by Filmation, whose theatrical release prior to that was BraveStarr: The Legend (lol). Filmation actually closed down a year later, the film being the equivalent of suicide for animation studios it seems. So how do you celebrate a movie that’s not very good?
With a not very good game tie-in of course!
But I’m being harsh. There are worse animated films out there, two Italian Titanic movies spring to mind, and indeed there are worse games. Happily Ever After is one of those titles which reminds you of twenty other games yet fails to really stand out as anything more than another kid-friendly side-scroller.
This is a weird one, though.
You have the choice of two characters: Snow White or “The Shadow Man”, a fancy name for what is essentially Prince Charming who was put under some spell for whatever reason and made to look like those Jawas out of Episode IV (or Orko from the He-Man cartoons). Except here you’re not prancing around the dunes of Tatooine but rather jumping the shit out of every animal that comes your way. You know, just like Snow White always does!
Never mind, it’s a sequel: anything goes.
The game sees you making your way through 8 busy levels all sporting the same types of grievances: worms, birds, bees, bats, tiny floating platforms… It’s all pretty much the same every time except the exits aren’t always that obvious to spot. Actually, sometimes you even make your way to the exit only to find out that you can’t actually go through it until the words “Find The Exit” have flashed on the screen. I’ve even found myself having to backtrack for ages then re-complete the level to be able to leave that god-forsaken place. I don’t know, there are so many things to pick up and cross it’s not really clear what you’re meant to prioritise. I guess hearts are all you really need to worry about since they extend your play but when the Evil Queen’s brother Lord Maliss, our villain this time, put that spell on the forest he sure left a lot of freakin’ fruit lying around, and Snow White is one hungry bitch.
I do like how ruthless she is in this game, throwing apples at worms, kicking bird asses…
(for more retro gaming animal cruelty, see Eric’s bitchin’ feature)
But after playing the game countless times, I HATE Snow White now. If she stands too close to the edge of a mushroom or whatever, she doesn’t work with it like Sonic, no: she drops. And when she drops, it’s on her butt and this is usually followed by annoying swarms of chirping stars quickly hovering above her head like it’s a Tom & Jerry cartoon.
I WISH I was watching Tom & Jerry…
Not only that but she hits her head on everything, breaks blocks with her FACE and her jumping sucks. The game is part Bugs Bunny’s Birthday Blowout, part McKids, part Sonic The Hedgehog, part Mickey Mania, part… 15 other games. You can choose to run through a level but once you reach “Cloud Land” (yes: CLOUD LAND) you’ll need to focus and pay attention: those clouds don’t f*** around.
The look of the game is ok, nothing special but at least colourful enough and detailed enough to feel 16 bit. I do feel bad killing those worms you know, they look so damn peaceful. The bees at least are assholes, f*** ‘em.
The music is pretty random but strangely awesome. It’s repetitive and relentless but it’s got that type of fast-paced rhythm and folk-style melody which almost makes you want to riverdance your way through the game. Where it all falls apart for me is in the gameplay. This isn’t a hard game: your life replenishes relatively quickly and you’ve got loads of it. Getting to that dumbass dragon in the end is not too much of a struggle. It’s just annoying after a while trying to concentrate on getting awkward jumps right when you’re not sure where you’re going, you’re being tricked into thinking you should race through when in fact you should be taking your time. It’s not consistent, it’s mindless, messy and… now that I think of it, a decent adaptation of the movie.
If you’re into collecting rare SNES titles then you could do a lot worse than this one but if it’s a good game you’re after, you might want to steer clear of fairy tales altogether. This needed to be a darker, moodier, less noisy and less stupid game altogether. As it stands it’s fine but you’ll get tired of it pretty quickly.
Luckily, there’s no Rock Of Ages game…
Good, it’s not retro :)