By Dennis "CallMeBackdraft" Aspers on November 18, 2016
Well... I really have to get something off my chest; the work we do here at the Big Red Timemachine HQ is great and I am happy I forced my way into its work force. However, this being said, it is really hard to get some real work done when there is someone with the ego that is expanding faster than the universe we live in and a temper that is more explosive than the frickin' big bang was! It is especially frustrating when that same person is watching your every move... and I mean that literally, For instance, last night I was working on my future travel plans on which I wanted to take you guys, when I had to turn around in my chair to get to my filing cabinet. Within flipping seconds mister Sadhonker came barging through my door (destroying it on the process) with a very large and very sharp machete.... demanding me to tell him why I just did that.
Now, I am aware that we didn't get off to the smoothest of starts. I mean, with me causing us to get lost in time and all. But instead of him being happy with me, keeping him alive during our Jurassic adventure, he is just adamant about exerting his masculinity. And now that I have outsmarted him by showing him that shotguns are not safe to use anymore, he seems to have come up with with a more sabotage-safe solution to threatening me. However, today my plan of keeping me safe can finally come to fruition! But before that, I am firstly going to take you guys on another trip. This time, we are setting off to 1991, in search of a game based on a very popular movie. The name of the game is Home Alone and the reason for going back to it is that, lately, I really feel a lot like its protagonist, Kevin McCallister, who also has to outsmart people who have it out for him.
For those of you unaware of the plot of Home Alone, I have one small question: Where have you been every Christmas since 1990?! Oh well, nevermind. Just to get you up to speed, here's a quick recap. In the movie Kevin was left home alone by his family when they went on their Christmas Holiday. During this time two thieves, Harry and Marv, try to gain entry to his home and do what thieves usually do best: steal expensive stuff. So now it is up to Kevin to prevent them from doing just that! And, oh yes, I guess his parents never explained him how the phone works and how to call 911 because, instead of getting the police to help him, he goes around the house grabbing toys, appliances and various other trinkets he is going to use to set up traps.
A year later, back in 1991, a game was made in the movies likeness, or should I say games ? The reason I am asking this, is because of the fact that there were 3 developers working on a Home Alone game for multiple platforms, and while they all had the same basic plan, the resulting games were different in most ways. The developers were the following:
Bethesda Softworks worked on the NES version of the game while Sega of America created the Genesis, Master system and Game gear counterparts. Apart from these two developers, Imagineering inc brought us the SNES and Gameboy versions and, last but certainly not least, Acclaim brought their version of the game to PC.
While the plot between the games basically stayed the same (Harry and Marv trying to stop a kid from killing them and Kevin trying to stop them from burglarizing his home), the way these games presented it however was massively different. The differences were mostly there because of the limitations the various systems had, but seeing as how they were all marketed under the same name I am quite sure there were some disappointed expressions on the faces of kids back in the day if their parents bought a version of the game which didn't work on their system or which was massively different than the one their friends were playing.
The Gameboy and SNES versions of the game were a lot alike, in both of them you had to try to keep out of the bandits hands, while gathering items the burglars wanted to steal and throw them down the laundry chute, under which the family apparently had stored their safe. Oh well, I guess the McCallisters must have really liked their laundry! During all of this, you can set up traps to try and slow down the two idiots who are rather easily outsmarted by a kid... After you have dropped as much as possible items down the chute you get to go to the basement where you have to get past a boss battle which changes from level to level and consist of Kevin battling either a bat, rat, spider or ghost. The NES version is mostly the same as the Gameboy version, only the boss battles are withheld.
In the versions of the game that were developed by SEGA for their systems, Kevin must actually protect the entire neighborhood for 20 minutes (40 on higher difficulty level). After this time the police will arrive and apprehend the rather incompetent burglars. I guess back in the day, 20 to 40 minute response times where acceptable for the cops in town. When traversing the neighborhood, Kevin uses a sled and the game is in a top down view. However, every time you follow the bandits into a house, the view changes into a 2d sidescrolling position. When a house has been entered, Kevin is tasked with filling up a pain meter by applying said pain on the burglars by means of various weapons like BB guns and such. After the pain meter has been filled up, the thieves will leave and the house has been saved. In the meanwhile however, there is another meter showing just how much of the house has been burglarized. If that meter fills up the house becomes flooded as Marv leaves the water running. After a house has been flooded it cannot be entered again and the Kevin will fail in his task when all houses have been flooded.
Lastly, the PC version of the game gives the player from 8:00 to 9:00 am ( about 5 minutes real time ) to gather and set traps in order to try and stop the bandits from stealing all of the McCalister's stuff. After this time the Harry and Marv will arrive, both from different entrances of Kevin's home. These entrances are randomized every time, making the game fun to play again. After the burglars have arrived, no further traps can be set and every trap can only be activated once, both by Kevin himself and the uninvited guests alike. Activating the traps yourself doesn't hurt you; it just destroys the trap. The goal is to try and hurt each of the thieves 10 times, after which they become incapacitated and you will eventually win the game. If Kevin is unable to set enough traps or the player destroys too many himself the game will continue. Winning, however, is no longer possible and you will eventually get caught by Harry or Marv. Getting caught will lead to a "game over” and you will have to try again.
Phew, that was one hell of a trip. Man I'm absolutely knackered! I do sincerely hope you still enjoy these blasts to the past though. I really need some shut eye but, for now, there is no rest for the wicked! I still need to make sure the "grand master" of this place needs to know he cannot just keep messing with me or killing me and then changing his mind and travelling back to stop himself from doing so... I mean, come on; that shit hurts! Because, even though the killing keeps getting prevented up till now, it still takes a mental toll on a human being. Now for my master plan! Time to get this hose and other trinkets and make sure that the idiot savant sees me hauling them around the office. I am pretty sure he will soon find out that I took away his precious He-Man figurine right from under the noses of those "secretively" place security camera's. How he can think those things stay a secret when they start flashing a bright red light whenever they are recording, is somewhat of a mystery to me... anyways.
Aha, he spotted me... Hey dude! Are you talking to me? Are you sure you don't mean her? I surely thought you were talking to her, seeing as you have hired her clearly for her looks and stuff. Alright, alright; I will come right up. What?! You ask what I am doing with this hose, time diluters, nuclear power plant and Play-Doh ? Well, let's just say I am testing a theory... alright? Take care! Bye, bye now!!
Hahahahaha, I knew that would work! I really wish you guys could've seen his face! He was besides himself trying to figure out the connection between the items I was lugging around and I am quite sure that especially the Play-Doh blew his mind. What on earth would I need Play-Doh for? Oh, I love when a plan comes together. Now, I only need for him to get back and get in my face again. Then he will find out what he had coming for the longest time now. When he tries and threaten me again, his he-man figurine of past, present and future will not be safe!
For now, I will bid all of you lovely people a fond farewell and hope to see you all next time, when we will set off again for another grand journey towards the days of old.
Bethesda Softworks / Sega / Imagineering Inc. / Acclaim