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SummaryGhosts, Ghouls...and a turd throwing Goblin!?
The GoodThe first time I laid eyes on this game at a Wal-Mart back in the day, I was instantly hooked without even thinking. The idea of being a malevolent ghost, terrorizing a family with all sorts of ghoulish manners instantly read in my mind...BINGO! I had been waiting for a game like this for ages and was jumping for joy to try this.
The first thing that struck me with this game was its surprising gore and blood factor, true nothing compared to today's standards, but back then this actually had a good bit. Everything from a piece of meatloaf turning into a screaming head with blooding flying everywhere to a shower shooting out a load of blood to even a turd throwing goblin....yes a turd throwing goblin, its in one of the later houses and even to this day, I crack up every time I see it.
There are tons of ways to scare off the family and even though there are some scares where you have no control whatsoever, just getting in and setting off the trap so to speak, there are some where you can control a chainsaw flying through the air or a stack of dishes being flung like frisbee's, its all fun.
The BadSadly, for everything fun about a game, there is inevitably something messed up, in this case some of the gameplay elements, the sound and most importantly the control.
First the sound is just a little off, the screams are a little distorted, nothing too bad, but you can tell the limitations the Genesis was straining under back in the days. The music isn't too bad, a little annoying at times, but you can get so focused at times you can easily forget it.
There are a few things that bothered me about some the main elements of the game, one is the ecto bar. There is no true health bar in this game, only the ecto bar, refilling of course when you scare off the family, failing to do so will result in a trip to the underworld dungeons to collect more ecto to return. The dungeons aren't that bad once you get used to them, it's just the idea of going to them a lot in the later levels as the difficulty increases.
The damn dog in the game can be a problem, not only can he calm the family down, he can drain ecto as well, you can distract him using the dog away spell, but you can't really get rid of him. Plus those damn flying heads are extremely annoying, constantly swarming you and attacking and no many times you get rid of them, more keep coming and getting rid of them is a pain, but I'll get to that soon.
The one other gameplay element that bothers me is the one and only boss of the game at the end of the fourth house, it gets very annoying, the only true time, besides the dungeons, where you can die in the game, so to speak. It takes a while to kill this thing off and it can wear on your nerves, so patience is a virtue, but if you're not much of a patient person, this will really annoy you.
The final thing and most important is the control. It was very ahead of its time, there is really no walking, just floating, but using the d-pad is awkward, it would really help with an analog, but that wouldn't come along for a while. It wouldn't be so bad, but the only thing that you have to defend yourself against those floating heads is either fireballs, which really isn't used that much until the final boss battle or kicking them and that is really annoying. You can just use the d-pad to aim and press the button to kick, you press the action button to start spinning then again to shoot forward, so basically it comes down to praying that you press the button fast enough to aim it at the ghoul, if it hadn't moved yet. A very annoying problem.