Episode 1 Title screen
|Engine||F.A.S.T. Game System|
|Release date(s)||9 April 1993|
Monster Bash (called Graveyard during development) is a side-scrolling platform video game developed and published by Apogee Software on 9 April 1993 for MS-DOS PC. The game features 16-color EGA graphics and IMF AdLib compatible music. It was developed by Frank Maddin and Gerald Lindsly.
The game is divided in three episodes. The first episode of the game is available to download under a shareware license, but the two remaining parts of the game must be purchased. The registered game also removes advertisements and reminders of the benefits of purchasing the games from the first episode and enables cheat code functionality.
The original story can be accessed through the main menu of each episode. The player is informed as to the continuation of the story with dialogue and events that appear as scrollable messages on the screen.
The player controls Johnny Dash, whose pet dog Tex was just dognapped by the game's main villain, Count Chuck. During a fearsome storm a friendly monster under his bed tells Johnny that many other pets have been taken as well, and that Count Chuck took them to his Underworld to transform them all into evil monsters. The 'bed monster' empowers Johnny with a bottomless pocket of rocks with which to arm his slingshot. Through a secret temporary portal in his closet that operates as a passageway, Johnny enters the Underworld, in order to defeat the Count's army and save the pets.
Episode one begins in a graveyard setting but later levels include cavern and haunted house themes. The first episode introduces a number of monsters who reappear in the later episodes such as zombies. Episode two takes place in Count Chuck's underground lair and begins in the cooking pot where Johnny Dash was transported following his battle with a Cyclops. The majority of the levels are set in a hellish environment where monsters include demons and giant eyeballs and later in laboratories. Again there is continuity between the last level of this episode and the first of Episode Three, which appears to be set in a place that has been extensively ravaged under the influence of Count Chuck. The first few levels follow a Halloween theme, swamps and finally more caverns, where Count Chuck is found.The next to the last level in Episode Three is fought across a starry sky using a broomstick and completing that level in a flying fortress.
Johnny must work his way through several horror-themed levels armed with his slingshot. In each level, the player has to break the locks of the pets' cages in order to free them. The player cannot complete the level until all pets are freed. The game follows a typical platform game style, where the player must fight boss monsters at the end of each episode to be able to complete it and advance to the next one.
The first episode has 10 levels, and the other two have 9 levels each, for a total of 28 levels on all three episodes. This includes a single boss level in each episode and a Miniboss. When the player enters a new level, Johnny's health is replenished, and any powerups acquired in the previous level are removed. The player has 10 slots per episode to save games, and restoring a saved game returns the player to the beginning of the level.
During one level in the third episode Johnny gains the use of a captured broomstick. In the course of this level the player activates the broomstick to navigate the level, offering a more arcade-style of gameplay.
The player comes across various inanimate objects which they must interact with in order to complete the level. These include furniture that springs Johnny into the air, deployable ladders and flying broomsticks. One feature rarely found in games since is the ability to access hints (F10 key) from the game developers specific to the level that is being played. The hints are effective as a rudimentary walkthrough as well as a tutorial for players to whom the gameplay may be unfamiliar.
In the next to the last screen of the 1st episode (shareware vs.), Johnny has to jump from one light socket to the next to get to the exit door. Missing and having to do the whole sequence all over again gets tiresome. Apparently there were complaints, as the purchase version of episode 1 has eliminated the problem by providing 2 (two) adjacent light sockets, thus making it much easier for Johnny to finish the level. The dragon was moved in the first stone cave screen.
Fighting and health
Johnny has an unlimited supply of rocks, and he can fire his slingshot either forward or diagonally up. Rocks move in a realistic projectile-like pattern, and can bounce off walls and other objects. The player can collect powerups for the slingshot that allow Johnny to shoot a limited quantity of more powerful projectiles, including a bigger rock that splits into smaller ones on impact, a triple-rock, enemy-seeking rockets and a fireball.
Enemies are based on horror-monsters, and include disembodied crawling hands, flying witches, zombies, demons, walking skeletons and werewolves. While some enemies appear in several levels, others only appear in theme-related levels; for example, the rock men only appear in the cavern-themed levels, and the invisible men are only in the haunted house levels. Some enemies take more hits to die than others, and a couple are invincible.
There are also problems to solve -positioning boxes,to stand on to get to rooms otherwise inaccessible, or stone slabs to make fall in a set pattern,to get to rooms otherwise inaccessible. Since boxes can not be picked up if fallen, or moved at all if against another obstacle, you run the risk of making an irreversible mistake and being unable to finish that level.
There are also several boss enemies throughout the levels. There are a couple of "minor" bosses that appear in the earlier levels of each episode. One recurring enemy is Dash's 'nemesis': an evil clone of himself who he fights in each episode and finally destroys in the last. There are three "major" bosses who feature in the boss levels of each episode: Cyclops in the first episode, Igor in the second and Count Chuck in the final.
Johnny has a health bar consisting of several slots (9 in the easy mode, 6 in the medium mode and 3 in the hard mode). Each time he is hit by a monster or a hazard, he loses a slot; if he loses all of them, Johnny dies. Collecting a heart refills the player's health completely. Some hazards like swamps or monsters like dragons can kill Johnny instantly. Each time Johnny dies he goes back to the beginning of the level or starts at a pirate flag checkpoint that the player has passed. After dying, the state of the level is maintained, as are the powerups collected, and Johnny's health is replenished.
The player has a limited number of lives, and if he loses all of them the game is over. The player can collect Johnny-shaped, hanging voodoo dolls to get more lives, to a maximum of five. (In addition, every 20,000 points also generates an extra life.)
- Monster Bash Official page
- Monster Bash at MobyGames
- For technical information about the file formats used by the game, see Monster Bash at the Game Modding Wiki
- Interview with designer Frank Maddin