Monster Bash (DOS)

Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
User Score
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39520)
Written on  :  Dec 28, 2003
Platform  :  DOS

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28 levels of monster-bashin' action

The Good

Monster Bash was published by Apogee and came out at the time when their other games were released, such as Alien Carnage, Bio Menace, Duke Nukem II, and Major Stryker. You play Johnny Dash who, on a sleepless night, wonders what happened to his pet dog Tex since he went missing for two days. Johnny is pulled under his own bed where a mysterious figure appears out of the blue and tells him that he did not run away, but was in fact kidnapped by someone called Count Chuck. Chuck's henchmen is sent into the underworld to steal a few animals, mainly dogs and cats, and bring them to him so that Chuck can transform them into monsters. By doing this, Chuck will eventually train them to do his bidding. Fortunately, Johnny is given a slingshot that will never run out as long as it remains in his pocket at all times, and this will help deal with the henchmen. And so, Johnny's rescue mission begins.

The game is split into three parts, and is labeled "Part 1", "Part 2", and "Part 3". I honestly don't know why Apogee decided not to give the three parts episode titles; they must have run out of ideas at the time. I have several ideas for the title. For instance, since Part 1 centers around graveyards, this part could be titled something like "The Graveyard Shift", Part 2 could be "Roast Johnny", while Part 3 being "Chuck's last gasp". If Apogee had released a VGA version of Monster Bash, then they would have gave episode titles to the parts. Actually, Monster Bash VGA was one of their projects which got canceled probably because the original game received poor sales. Part 1 consists of ten levels, and the remaining parts have nine levels each. In all of them, there are three bosses, including the one-eyed cyclops; Igor, Count Chuck's assistant; and Chuck himself.

So in order to pass each level, Johnny must rescue all the pets in the level while fighting off a whole range of monsters like severed hands, zombies, bouncing eyeballs, pumpkin men, were-wolves, tiger planes, and witches, to name just a few. Once you've rescued all the pets that you could find, a dialog box appears telling you that you are free to leave the level. You are able to free them by shooting the padlock of the white cages in which they are housed in. At this point, you may be wondering "How do I know that I really rescued all the pets so I'll be free to leave the level?" Simple. You see, you can access a nifty dialog box which displays a compass telling you where the nearest pet is. (If you decide to access the dialog box when you've rescued all the pets, the compass doesn't appear.) The dialog box will also display the number of Johnnies you have, as well as the score, the number of pets you've yet to save, the elapsed time, and the par time. You must remember that pets aren't always near the surface and may be on platforms located somewhere in the sky, and you must get to these platforms either by jumping onto other platforms, or getting someone to take you there, be it stone monsters, green feet, or even boots.

If Johnny is hit by any of these monsters, his health meter will flash white quickly and drop down a number of units, depending on the difficulty setting you have the game on. And when the health meter hasn't got any health units left, Johnny bounces off the screen, you lose a life, and have to play through the level again, unless you pass a flagpole that will raise a flag that has the "Skulls & Crossbones" symbol on it. The only ways in which you can find an extra life is to seek a "rotating Johnny" hanging by a string, or access the secret cheat that will not only give you one, but five extra lives. Rather than just having a slingshot to fight off the zombies, Johnny can collect power-ups, allowing his slingshot to be upgraded into a three-shot, fireball, rocks, or rocket. Every weapon has its advantages. The three-shot, for instance, has the ability to go in all directions that Johnny is facing. The rocket, on the other hand, homes in on monsters approaching from behind you, as well as in front of you. It's a shame that these weapons have a limited number of shots. Monsters are not the only things that you have to kill. You can always hit "Skull Watchers", skulls that just sit there and do nothing but flash their red eyes at you. Not only does killing all the Skull Watchers in the level results in a 50,000 point bonus, but also collecting all the loot, which can often be found by breaking into treasure chests.

All the levels are decent, with hints about them in every level. You can access the hints by pressing the F10 key. There are some difficult levels thrown into the game, but not that many. Each part has a level where Count Chuck keeps coming back to haunt Johnny by introducing his evil clone, who will stop at nothing to kill him. In my opinion, the second last level of Part 3 is excellent. This is where you get to fly around on a broom, rescuing pets that are far up into the sky, while killing off witches and tiger planes. Still speaking of levels, a statistics screen appears that tells you the percentage of loot you have collected, how long you have taken to complete the level, and par time. You'll also receive the bonus points that you have discovered in the level, and the splatter bonus. If your time is less than the par time, then you'll also receive a bonus. Monster Bash supports either the Adlib or Sound Blaster. If you have a SB, then you're in for a treat. Similar to Duke Nukem II, this game features digitized sound effects, so you can hear what lighting really sounds like, as well as the screams of monsters when they die. Furthermore, you also get to hear Johnny say "Cool!", "Awesome!", and "Excellent", whenever he manages to get a power-up, heart, or extra life.

The Bad

There is a good introduction to the game, and can be found in every part. It shows Johnny using his slingshot against a zombie. The intro doesn't show the full story, as I expected. For this, you have to choose "Story" from the main menu.

The Bottom Line

An excellent game from Apogee. Shame that Monster Bash VGA was canceled. ****½