Hey y’all! Guess what?
It’s Halloween! (in like a week)
Let’s explore the darkest, scariest, most disturbing recesses of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, shall we?
Gee! A haunted house! Let’s go in!
Yes, that’s a ghost up there but fear not: it’s Casper! The friendly ghost!
More like Casper The Crappy Game!!!
Ok, I’d heard there was a good Casper game out there based on the 1995 movie (maybe from one of the freaky cool dudes over at the Podcastle, I’m not sure) so I instantly jumped to the SNES Casper game because it was the only one I could think of and the SNES is usually a reliable console.
After about 6 seconds of playing it, though, I’m pretty sure the “good” Casper game was meant to be that Sega Saturn one…
Well, might as well review the darn thing I guess.
Right, what can I say about Casper on the SNES? Basically the game sees you playing as the titular bald, big-eyed ghost, you’re constantly followed by whoever Christina Ricci was meant to be in the movie, “Kat” or whatever her name was, and your job is to go around the house keeping her safe until you’ve explored every single inch of the darn thing.
Is it as grueling as it sounds? Most definitely.
I mean, I have nothing against haunted house games. That Ghostbusters game on the Sega Genesis is always fun, the Castlevania series are technically haunted house games (kind of) and they’re good. It’s just that when they’re bad, they’re REALLY bad. I’m looking at you, SNES Casper!
Part of the problem with this game is apparent right from the beginning: Kat.
You know what I like about side-scrollers? Going around shooting weird-looking things. As long as the game has decent playability and it looks ok, if that’s all it’s about, I’m happy. What I DON’T like is babysitting some useless liability throughout an entire game! Wouldn’t it have made more sense to let you play as Kat from the get-go then have the occasional level as Casper himself? Or just play as Casper the entire game? Or what about giving you a choice every time? Bill Pullman’s character was active enough in the movie, why not have him be a usable character? Even those annoying evil ghosts!
To cut a long rant short: You and Kat go from room to room, Casper gets to turn into various ridiculous things and fight off other ridiculous things. You keep going, fighting Casper’s uncles once in a while, until your eyeballs fall out and your body physically rejects the game like it’s repelling out-of-date milk. And that’s it.
Don’t believe me?
Here we go…
These guys are so creepy. It’s crazy: Kat looks like she’s straight out of The Exorcist, I keep expecting her head to spin around at any moment, and Casper looks like E.T.’s ghost!
Happy Halloween! (again, next week)
Right, what CAN Casper turn into exactly?
Just about anything, it seems. As long as it’s very, very dumb. Above, he’s some kind of net which you use to catch various enemies including…
…the most destructive villains in the entire game…
…Casper’s eternal foes…
Yes. You’ve guessed it.
I don’t understand why books can hurt ghosts but they do. They hurt like hell! Here’s what I REALLY fail to grasp, though:
The movie had villains! The ghost uncles, Eric Idle, that blonde baddie with the awesome voice, isn’t that enough? Who is haunting this house besides the ghosts we know? Why would you haunt a ghost, anyway?
Whatever, I have a headache. And I haven’t even shown you what else Casper can turn into!
Throughout the game, Kat is so intensely stupid that if you leave her to her own devices she’ll just walk right into gaping holes in the ground and fall through mindlessly. Luckily you can turn into a pillow and cushion her fall so you just have to go down to the next floor and wait for her inevitable tumble.
You can also turn into a flyswatter and kill…
Not to mention turn into a balloon and carry Kat around:
Because it’s not like she can jump or participate in any way.
(she totally can)
It’s just like the movie! Her whole function as a character is wearing dresses and defecating in doorways:
No? Ok, that’s just in the game then.
I do like some aspects of the game, though. Like, for example, just how random it gets sometimes. I swear, occasionally it turns into Evil Dead 2 and you’re just meant to accept being vomited on by moose heads…
*saws game cartridge in half with his chainsaw hand*
Like, look at this screenshot:
Sorry Kat, but if that was happening in my house I wouldn’t waste time walking around, I’d probably get my ghost pal to turn into a balloon and fly me out through the friggin’ window! Or, if he can’t leave the house due to some bizarre Beetlejuice-type afterlife rule, at least get him to throw a bunch of mattresses down and let me jump out! Jeesh…
Otherwise, most of the game is spent battling the same three ghosts: Fatso (you’ll get sick of him very, very quickly), Stinky and Stretch. And believe it or not the only thing the game translated perfectly from the movie is how annoying this Ghostly Trio is. They never stop showing up and when they do it’s the same old schtick. How many times can a game force me to turn into a perfume bottle and spray some ugly-ass ghost in the face? Seriously!
Turns out: Loads.
But weird crap aside, Casper is really not a good game.
For one thing it’s super boring, every room looks basically the same and involves you doing basically the same exact things. Also, I have to say that the graphics are impressively uninspired and for a SNES game it looks frankly awful. Play Super Mario World then try Casper.
Yeah. Big visual drop-off, huh?
Do I even need to mention the controls? Sluggish at best is how I would summarize them. Going through those rooms becomes a depressing experience and you just want it to be over as soon as possible. Remember the Die Hard Trilogy on the PS1 and the Saturn? That involved going up like 20 floors and killing hundreds of people one by one, and you know what? That was tons of fun! This… is not.
Overall, I’d say Casper on the SNES is definitely one to avoid. There are better Casper games around so I’d suggest trying others out, I’m sure they’re all better than this lazy effort. This doesn’t even feel like a proper game, it feels like a bunch of mediocre mini-games which repeat over and over for hours.
Besides, I never fully trust games that waste space on the screen by keeping their title there the entire time. Like we’re idiots or somethin’.
Yes, thank you. I realize I’m playing Casper.
I know because I’m feeling sad inside.
Hm, it’s the end of the review. I should bow out on an image so bland and unpleasant that you’ll never even think of playing Casper ever again…
How about a screenshot of the game’s final level?
What? I think the game’s decision to end up covered in blood, ghost vomit and feces is an appropriate one!
It’s basically spot-on.
Well done, game: WELL. DONE.