Home Alone for the SNES
Home Alone was a great movie, but for some reason someone somewhere thought it would also make a great video game. We video game fans are always wary of games licensed from feature films, and Home Alone isn’t going to help change anyone’s mind on that. Many years ago I acquired a copy of this game for the Game Boy and wasn’t fond of it by any means. Usually any video game that has been ported to the Game Boy is much better on a home console, right? The answer is no, with a but. They are essentially identical, with the understanding of obvious hardware limitations, but for some reason the Super Nintendo version of this game makes me want to continue playing and do a little better each time.
The game varies slightly from the movie as this time Harry and Marv have brought additional burglars, who look more like mobsters, into the McCallister’s home. Kevin must run around collecting a certain number of items from around the house, ranging from valuable jewelry and bags of money to robot toys and RC cars, and drop them down the laundry chute into the basement. Sometimes these items are hidden from plain view and Kevin must uncover them, which really just means the item jumps out from where it was hidden and lands on the floor. If any of the intruders in Kevin’s house see the item on the floor there is a chance they will grab it and run off before Kevin can collect it himself. Once Kevin touches an item it will be automatically put in his collecting bag, which only holds so many items before needing to be unloaded down the laundry chute.
Once the required amount of items are safe and sound in the basement, you know after they were carelessly tossed down a laundry chute two floors, a key will appear outside of the basement door allowing Kevin to enter the most frustrating level in the game. The first basement level is frustrating because you must navigate the basement, which seems larger than the hallways of the actually house above, and avoid being hit by bats and rats. In the second basement level you need to avoid spiders, or perhaps more accurate tarantulas, and finish up with a giant tarantula boss at the end. If, and I do mean if, you manage to make it past all the creatures in the basement you will see the pile of items in front of a comically oversized vault. Perhaps if these items were so valuable they should have already been inside the basement vault, but what do I know?
To help Kevin defeat the burglars, for a short period of time, he can be armed with a water pistol, a slingshot, baseball and the famous BB rifle. There are also booby traps to unleash upon the burglars, as well as toys and thumbtacks strewn about the floor in the hallways. None of these weapons are really anything substantial as it only stuns the burglars for a short period of time and watching Marv shoot off screen after stepping on thumbtacks only lasts until you walk away and back to that section of the hall, where he will magically reappear. It should also be noted that Kevin will have the water pistol in the basement stage, but I can’t get it to work at all, meaning it seems weapons do not work on the basement stages.
Now let’s talk about health. Kevin is given a total of three hits before losing a life, of which he also has three. When you lose a life the image of Kevin using aftershave, that famous movie scene, appears and a very good quality clip of his famous scream plays. To counterbalance this Kevin can collect hidden slices of cheese pizza from around the house. Once he has collected eight slices of his beloved cheese pizza he will earn an extra life. Kevin can also find cookies to replenish one hit and aftershave to give him temporary invulnerability.
I honestly tried to give this game a fair shake on the Game Boy and I simply couldn’t, but for some reason playing the SNES version feels different. The game felt more like a collectathon and made me want to keep trying to get everything down the laundry chute. Once you know exactly where everything is located it’s very easy to navigate and get to the basement, but that’s where the real frustration starts. It can be done, but more often than not I’ll end up with Kevin screaming at me as I lose life after life. Is this game fun? Not really, but there is just a weird addiction to collect the items and try to do better each time. From what I’ve played each level seems to just be a slightly more difficult version of the first, with the exception of the basement levels. So far I’ve only managed to get to the second basement level, maybe after this post is put up I will have progressed further in the game. Maybe.