Home Alone (video game)
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Packaging for the NES version.
|Developer(s)||Bethesda Softworks (NES)
Sega of America (GEN, SMS, GG)
Imagineering Inc. (GB, SNES)
Altron (PAL & Japanese versions of Nintendo-platforms)
Probe Entertainment (Master System version)
|Composer(s)||George Sanger, Cliff Falls (Genesis), George Sanger (NES), Mark Van Hecke (GB, SNES), Tom McMail (Amiga, DOS)|
Home Alone is the title of several tie-in video games based on the film of the same name. Versions were released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Super NES, Master System, Genesis, Game Gear, Amiga and MS-DOS platforms.
There are multiple versions of the game and each features a different style of gameplay, but all share the same plot and roughly the same objective: Kevin McCallister is left home alone when his family goes on vacation. He must prevent Harry and Marv, the "Wet Bandits", from burglarizing his home, using various household objects as traps and/or weapons. Each version of the game is an example of the trap-em-up genre, which also includes games like Heiankyo Alien, Space Panic, and Lode Runner.
In the Super NES version, the goal is to evade the Wet Bandits while bringing all the McCallister's fortunes from the house down to the safe room in the basement. Once all items have been sent down the chute to the basement, Kevin must make it past rats, bats, and ghosts he encounters in the basement, then fight a boss so he can make it to the safe room to lock away all of his family's riches.
In the Home Alone game for the PC, the player is given from 8:00 to 9:00 (approximately 5 minutes of real time) to set up traps in order to hurt the Wet Bandits once they arrive. No further setting of traps is possible after this period. Each trap can only be triggered once and they all inflict the same amount of damage.
Marv and Harry arrive separately at the two entrances to the house. If the player touches either of Bandits, he is caught and the game immediately ends in defeat. Hurting a Bandit ten times will permanently incapacitate him. The ultimate objective is to incapacitate both burglars.
The player can trigger his own traps, resulting in no harmful effects, but the trap will instantly disappear. If the player has too few remaining traps to sufficiently hurt each Bandit, the game will continue, but victory will be impossible. Following a game, the player may enter his name into a high score list. The player's position on the list is determined by whether the game was a win or a loss; by the time taken to defeat the Bandits; and by the total damage the player inflicted.
In the version for the NES, the player must avoid being caught by Harry and Marv for 20 minutes. During this time, Kevin can set various traps using items scattered around the house, each with a different corresponding strength and allowing the person tripping them to be knocked unconscious longer. Kevin can also hide behind certain parts of the house, but only for two consecutive turns; any other concurrent passings will result in a game over. Some copies of the NES version have two different "game over" screens; one having Kevin McCallister performing his trademark screaming face with a speech balloon on his left side that reads "Oh no!", the other one only having a large cloud with "Oh no!" in the middle of it.
The Genesis and Game Gear versions feature a slightly different plot. While the games still revolve around Kevin’s battle with the Wet Bandits, he instead must protect several houses in his neighborhood while waiting 20 minutes for the police to arrive (40 on higher difficulties). During the game, the Wet Bandits drive around the neighborhood in their nondescript van until they decide to enter one of the houses. Kevin can travel by sled (in top-down view) to the various houses and do battle with the Bandits as they proceed to rob whatever house they are in (in a 2D platformer/side-scroller format). When this happens, Kevin must fight them off with different weapons and guns in order to fill up an empty Pain Meter; when he does so, he will have saved that particular house and cause the Bandits to retreat. During this time, however, another meter will be filled as the Bandits proceed to rob the house, and if Kevin is unsuccessful in stopping them (thereby allowing meter to be filled), the house will become "flooded2 (Marv leaves the water in robbed houses running as a calling card) and he will be unable to reenter the house again. If all the houses end up flooded, the game is over.
Kevin starts with a simple BB gun, but he may also finds different items he can combine to make various makeshift weapons that have different effects depending on the ammunition (glue, snow, light bulbs, sound waves, coals, etc.) and gun type (rifle: flies the farthest and fastest; bazooka: flies slower and at a shorter distance; launcher: fires the weapon in a small, short arc; mortar: fires the weapon in a high, but short arc.) Each gun has a specific amount of ammunition, but collecting other ammo items after the completion of certain guns will refill the ammo supply. If he wishes, the player may disassemble any of Kevin's weapons (aside from the BB gun) into its component pieces, so that other ammunition types may be utilized. Should Kevin enter a house before the Bandits, he can lay down several traps throughout the house (keeping with the game’s movie tie-in theme) to help increase the Pain Meter and make protecting the house easier. If any of the Bandits end up capturing Kevin, he will be strung up on a wall while they continue robbing the house, but he can fidget and drop from the wall to continue defending the house.
The game starts with one difficulty level, but a harder one can be unlocked. In the hard difficulty, Kevin must wait for 40 minutes for the police to arrive and the bandits’ van will drive faster from house to house, but he will be able to create newer and more powerful guns to fight them off.
Amanda Dyson of Mega said the game was a wasted film license, and was a "grotesquely over-priced and pathetically under-developed mockery of a game". MegaTech said the game would only "appeal to junior players".
The Game Boy version of the game, similar to the SNES and NES versions, require for the player to evade confrontation with the Wet Bandits. Similar to the SNES version, the player has to gather up various items in the game and then dump them into a laundry chute to deposit them into a safe. Sometimes, the player might resort to using the items the bandits planned to steal against them by having them dropped on their heads, as well as instigate certain traps à la the movie (e.g. dropping a paint can on their heads). There are four levels in all, each taking place in a different area of the house, as well as each having a different item that the player must recover: The first level is stuff pertaining to jewelry/gold/silver items, the second level has toys, the third level has various Electronics, and the fourth level has various exotic pets that are both rare and expensive.
After collecting the minimum amount of items and dumping them into the chute, the player can access the basement, where he has to fight the level's boss before he can access the safe and lock them in: The first level being a giant spider, the second level a giant rat, the third level a giant ghost, and the fourth level is the battle against Marv and Harry (whose weaknesses are foreshadowed by their opening lines (a BB shot to the head, and the shovel murderer's snow shovel being used from the window, respectively). After securing the fourth safe, the player also has to eliminate the furnace (referring to a point in the movie where Kevin has to conquer his fear of the basement furnace). The game also alludes to there being more members to the Wet Bandits than just Marv and Harry.