Sweet Home (video game)
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Japanese Famicom box art. It features a reverse image of the poster for the film.
|Release date(s)||JP December 15, 1989
|Genre(s)||Psychological horror, Role-playing|
Sweet Home (Japanese: スウィートホーム Hepburn: Suīto Hōmu?) is a 1989 psychological horror role-playing video game for the Family Computer. It is based on the Japanese horror film of the same name, and was even supervised by the film's director, Kiyoshi Kurosawa. The game was developed and published by Capcom, and was released exclusively in Japan on December 15, 1989. The use of brutally horrific imagery prevented its global release. Sweet Home heavily inspired the Resident Evil series, and is considered a forerunner of the survival horror genre.
The game features randomly encountered battles which the controlled character or party of characters must fight or run away from. If a character dies in battle, he or she cannot be revived throughout the course of the game. The five characters have a specific skill that is necessary to complete the game, although items that serve the same purpose can be found if one of the characters dies. For example, should Akiko (the team's nurse) die, the team may find pill bottles which can be used to heal ailments. Depending on how many characters remain alive after the defeat of the final boss, there are a total of five different endings the player may receive.
Thirty years prior to the story, famous artist Ichirō Mamiya hid several precious frescos in his huge mansion before he mysteriously disappeared. In the present day, a team of five documentary filmers seek to recover the paintings from the abandoned, dilapidated mansion. Upon entering, they are trapped inside by the ghost of an unknown woman, who threatens to kill all trespassers. The team decides to split up and find a way out, but the mansion is both in danger of collapsing and is occupied by countless monsters.
The team discovers that the ghost is that of Lady Mamiya, Ichirō's wife. It is revealed that thirty years previously, Mamiya's two-year-old son had fallen in the house's incinerator and was burnt alive, and Mamiya attempted to provide playmates for her son by killing several other children. She committed suicide shortly after and her ghost, unable to forgive herself, became trapped in the mansion. The team arrives in the main chamber and confronts Mamiya in a final battle.
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Sweet Home was directed by Tokuro Fujiwara who was also the creator of Ghosts 'N Goblins. The game's creators added horror elements to the storyline itself, mainly told through diary entries left behind fifty years before the events of the game.
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In 2010, UGO included Sweet Home on the list of 11 best survival horror games. In a retrospective at Kotaku, Peter Tieryas wrote: "I am still in awe of the level design and the way the designers help you discover the story rather than to just be told it. The house is, in essence, one big, convoluted and surreal level, the perfect allegory for the tragedy that is Sweet Home." Allistair Pinsof of Destructoid wrote: "It's a nearly flawless game that isn't only one of the best JRPGs of all time, it's also the best game to ever be released on the Famicom/NES."
Though it is a role-playing video game, Sweet Home served as the main inspiration for the seminal survival horror game Resident Evil, which was originally intended to be a remake of Sweet Home. The first Resident Evil borrowed many elements from Sweet Home: the mansion setting; the puzzles; the item inventory management and limited inventory; the emphasis on survival; the "door" loading screen; the use of scattered notes as storytelling mechanics; multiple endings depending on how many characters survive; backtracking to previous locations in order to solve puzzles later on; the use of save rooms to store items when the player's inventory is full; the use of death animations; dual character paths; individual character items such as a lockpick or lighter; story told through frescos; and brutally horrific imagery.
- Yōkai Yashiki (1986)
- Sweet Home Release Information for NES, GameFAQs, archived from the original on 2013-05-27, retrieved 2014-06-07
- Time Machine: Sweet Home, Computer and Video Games
- Max Bert. "GOTW: Sweet Home". GameSpy. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- Jensen, K. Thor. "Survival Horror Video Games Top 11." UGO. February 20, 2010. Retrieved on July 5, 2011.
- Tieryas, Peter (February 23, 2015). "The NES Game That Inspired Resident Evil". Kotaku. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
- Pinsof, Allistair (October 13, 2011). "It Came from Japan! Sweet Home". Destructoid. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
- Jim Sterling (June 9, 2008). "Fear 101: A Beginner's Guide to Survival Horror". IGN. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
- "Top 11 Survival Horror Games: Sweet Home". UGO Networks. 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2009-04-17.