You play as a kid scouring each stage for innocents while collecting items and blasting wandering monsters. The characters are a bit larger this time, allowing for more detail. There are some semi-scary creatures like long-armed ghouls and half-body apparitions. Then you have random, goofy adversaries like giant snails, cherub-devils, and possessed automobiles.
The tone of the game is different. It's less classic Universal horror films and more Ghostbusters. Office areas come to life with possessed copy machines and books flying off the shelves. Stage themes include a bustling city, medieval times, pirates, and a haunted hotel. The stage designs are awful. Maze-like and repetitive, you always have to take the most round-about path to travel a short distance. And with so many locked doors, you'll need to collect keys like candy on Halloween.
You move slowly and tend to get caught up on every edge in sight. Even after you drink a potion and become a grim reaper you'll struggle to navigate doorways. This is one of those games where you find yourself pushing the directional pad harder, as though that will help. The new jump and slide moves work well, but who designed this new button layout? I have to press the select button to use an item?
Your default crossbow weapon sucks because you can only fire one shot at a time. The homing plasma gun would be great if it weren't so weak. The laser gun is decent, but is basically just comparable to the water gun in the first game. It takes forever to kill anything, and when you finally do it immediately respawns!
The radar display has been replaced with unsightly "help!" and "I'm here!" bubbles that float around the screen. Upon completing a stage you have to hunt the exit down which can be a hassle. Even the music is forgettable. Disappointing and occasionally off-putting, Ghoul Patrol is one sequel we can live without. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.
The players have reflections and the arena looks so razor sharp you can make out the fans' facial expressions. But as my friend Brent lamented "the players look terrific... until they start moving." The animation is erratic and I can't recall ever seeing so much graphic break-up in a 16-bit title. The puck is hard to follow as it blinks from one spot to the next. Once the oversized players crowd up you'll have no idea what the [expletive] is going on. On a positive note the audio is crystal clear and you can actually understand the voices. I love the sound of the puck clanking off the "pipe" (which happens all the time by the way).
It's hard to score in this game! The action zooms in close during the one-on-one fights, which are a little more sophisticated than other versions. There are two types of punches but the uppercut never seems to land. This version does have a coop mode which I don't recall seeing in the others. If I could take the best parts of all three games we might have something. As it is, Hit the Ice fans really can't win. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
You can only carry six in your backpack, so you'll periodically want to empty it into chutes that deposit the items in the basement. A handy count-down at the top of the screen keeps you posted on the number of items remaining. After collecting enough you trek down to the basement to face a push-over boss. Unlike the NES edition of Home Alone, the crooks are slow so most of the time you can just hop over them. Defeating crooks is done by luring them into traps (tacks and bowling balls) that are in plain view.
Exploring the house is fun as you scale shelves and jump on beds. Each room has a theme and the attention to detail (wallpaper, pictures, etc) is commendable. The cut-scenes incorporate digitized stills from the movie. The controls are crisp, but I really wish they had assigned "jump" to the lower button as most games do. It's easy to get confused. The audio effects are pretty sensational! Digitized sounds are sprinkled throughout and Christmas music gives the game a very festive atmosphere. Much like the movie, Home Alone for the SNES is a light-hearted romp that will bring out the kid in you. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Kevin uses toy guys to subdue enemies, and can also elude them with a nifty knee slide. There are plenty of people to avoid including the concierge, maids, and a woman with an umbrella who looks really creepy (She's a witch! Burn her!). Then the game goes off the deep end by incorporating nonsensical hazards like hopping suitcases and runaway vacuum cleaners.
Home Alone 2 suffers from gameplay mediocrity and "what do I do now" syndrome. The collision detection is fishy, and sometimes you'll walk into a room and be grabbed before you can even react. In the hotel stage, you're forced to run to the end of dead-end hallways for no particular reason. And why in the heck is it necessary to hit the elevator button five times? The weapons are easy to come by, but you quickly run out of ammo. Home Alone 2 successfully recreates the look of the film, but frustrating design flaws spoil the fun. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Hook's production values are beyond reproach. Its bright graphics are bursting with color, and the detail in the scenery is amazing. As Peter leaps into the air his sleeves actually flutter in the wind. The outstanding visuals are paired with a rollicking musical score that really whets your appetite for adventure. My enthusiasm was dampened however when I realized how frustrating and unforgiving Hook is to play.
The controls are responsive enough, but you move slowly, so although the stages are modest in size, traversing them is time-consuming. Worse yet, losing a life forces you to restart the stage all the way from the beginning, and you'll be losing your share of lives thanks to the unavoidable projectiles that appear without warning as you navigate tight spaces. Also annoying is how you can "overlap" an enemy - an unfortunate predicament that usually spells instant death.
In some sections of the game you'll execute a jump that appears perfectly safe, only to watch Peter plummet to his death. Hook offers unlimited continues, and I think I went through about half of them trying to review this [expletive] game. The lack of a password feature was the final straw. I really wanted to like Hook, but a strong presentation amounts to very little without solid gameplay to back it up. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
Appearing in your path are random objects in the shape of chicklets, meatballs, and dancing acorns. You can fire rapidly at them but have to mash the button. Ugh! An auto-fire option would have gone a long way here. A second button lets you slow down but I never saw the need for it.
The stages are pretty gaudy as you travel over a flashy circuit board or through a fiery furnace, and the idea of being on a "track" doesn't really add much. Actually you can veer off the track, although your ship will incur damage. Certain adversaries launch big, slow cotton balls your way, but since they are headed directly at you, you just need to move laterally to avoid them.
Periodically you'll face a static "boss", one of which resembles the right half of an SNES controller. Another resembles that slinky dragon from Space Harrier (Turbografx-16, 1989), repeatedly approaching and turning tail. The difference is, Space Harrier is a game you actually want to play more than once. Defeating bosses is easy (but time-consuming) if you continously fire while moving the directional pad in a circular motion.
I can't imagine these 3D effects impressing anybody even back in 1991. Constantly moving the directional pad in circles became tiresome and eventually painful! At some point you acquire a new ship with a "charge" weapon but it can't save this turkey. HyperZone is mind-numbing. Let me put it this way: when you finally see "game over", you'll be glad. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Console Classix, Moby Games, Games Database, YouTube