Sweet Home, Retro Review Of The Game For Survival Horror

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Nintendo’s NES was born a horror of survival. Developed by Capcom, this horror RPG laid the foundation for Resident Evil and others of the genre.

With the updated version of Resident Evil 3 around the corner and a demo now available on consoles and computers, we wanted to go on our own DeLorean and travel to 1989. Our destination is Japan, possibly Akihabara, the electronic city, to browse the shops in search of Sweet Home, a video game horrors for the 8-bit desktop. Nintendo.

even though the famous DMC-12 It is a two seater vehicle, we left the passenger seat clear to join us to discover the evil seed that ended as inspiration Shinji Mikami for the Resident Evil brand. We return, again, to visit a … abandoned mansion?

8 bit horror

In 1989 Capcom designed a non-convention horror video game for the Famicom console – NES in Europe – that would give it inspiration not only for the later design of Resident Evil, but for the other video game companies that have joined horror software. At that time, however, the times were different and the video game, Sweet Home, was only published in Japan. And therefore, with texts in Japanese only.

Over time, many of those who dared to translate the script used in the video game into a comprehensible language, and there is a reason for everything; Sweet Home is a small gem that, like wine, improves over time. There are many reasons for it but in this text we are going to summarize what he did differently on other titles issued for that small Nintendo machine.

Sweet home

We’re talking about 1989 and back then Alone in the dark, another of the precursors of the “horror of survival” genre, which did not yet exist. This is why Sweet Home is considered to be the first horror video game created for an entertainment system. All the fraudsters have acquired over time is due to a game system different from what was remembered at that time, to surprise events, its location, the plot and even the audiovisual.

The story tells us how a group of five documentary filmmakers enter Mamiya Ichirou’s abandoned mansion in search of an important canvas but, in the case of their futures, checks nothing more to enter the residence nor alone, they say by themselves, are they not. This plot is the same as the movie Sweet Home, also of Japanese origin, with which it shares plot and characters. Capcom launched the movie set to Tokuro Fujiwara take notes on it and bring the story to your video game. Fujiwara, however, noticed certain elements of the plot that were not well represented in the film and tried to improve all of this in the video game. The film was distributed in Japan in 1989 and the video game was released in December of the same year. As a curiosity, the producer of the video game is the famous director Juzo Itami who participated in the film at the same time.

Sweet home

Despite being the inspiration for games like Resident Evil, Alone in the Dark or Silent Hill, the truth is that its gameplay is very different from Sweet Home, unlike the games mentioned, RPG is a genre. It has a zenith camera for reconnaissance mode and a first-person camera for random turn-based combat, similar to yesterday’s role-playing games. However, this is the first innovation, the group can be split into two by our emphasis on promoting the adventure.

Sweet home

Each character has a non-transferable item that allows him to perform unique abilities. Lighter, vacuum cleaner, skeleton key, camera, or survival kit. That said, you can imagine that if a room needs light or an object burns, Kazuo – the leader of the group and the lightest – is the only person who can break through in this situation. Another reason why it is advisable to play with two groups is to exploit their strengths and weaknesses as there is a permanent death and also the loss of one of the special abilities. But don’t worry, there are things all over the mansion that make up these shortcomings, though everything is obviously more complicated. This innovative mechanic brought the video game with final five different ones displayed based on the heroes left at their end.

So far we have seen Sweet Home be an RPG with random battles in turn – with a system of levels and statistics – and the exclusive abilities of each character, so that another of the title’s characteristics becomes apparent; the puzzles. During the adventure we will see not only these puzzles that are solved not only with the help of unique abilities, but also other objects scattered throughout the mapping. From making small bridges with wooden boards to removing dirt with the help of vacuum cleaner Asuka, one of the game’s main characters. There are lots of puzzles and we can find hints of some in the various charts or notes we see during the adventure. Do you know that sound?

Sweet home

In addition to all this there is also small QTE scenes where speed is paramount, events that require help from the rest of the group and the odd surprise we keep in our pockets. Come on, the game has plenty of variety and innovation, especially for times gone by and the machine on which it was passed.

Sweet Home was quite long and, despite having a storage slot, it could take us many hours to overcome, especially given the lack of tutorials and a. complex interface made them unsuitable for any type of player. There were some clicks when interacting with the environment or characters through its non-intuitive menu, similar to the one seen in Land —OTHER, July 1989 – also for NES. For example, to remove an object from the ground, you had to open the main menu, select an object and click on the option to move it. To this we must add that if it is a weapon we want to build, it may not go in one square but if it is an aid object in a different one. There is no visual or written help that tells us the steps to take, and the other actions alike. In the game we had to draw Google to know how to cure the poisoning of one of our main characters, Asuka, because we didn’t find the solution and we almost died.

Sweet home

Another great highlight of Sweet Home is the wonderful site that the Capcom people knew how to print, getting lost in the lovecraft artwork and Japanese horror films. He is delighted to walk through his rooms and halls and see that anything can happen at the next corner. There’s lots of blood, mysterious pictures, clues about the ancient inhabitants of the mansion, cryptic texts and lots of surprises that nobody expected in the 1993 video game. As we said, NES was no barrier to Capcom creating it marks a title full of wonder one before and one after in horror games.

NES game?

This atmosphere was also achieved thanks to the great audiovisual achievement of the Japanese company with the Nintendo machine. The cartridge is full of very different decorations and full of details, the monsters have a great design and not suitable for minors old and the music and sound effects are both beastly for the time. Conversely, some of the musical themes are very good and resume after each event (open door, leave fight, etc.).

Sweet home

But going back to the visual, it’s surprising and great to see how Capcom incorporated animated scenes into the software like the famous door openings – a hallmark of the first Resident Evil-, entity look or small animated videos that accompanies the story. Even the color palette is surprising for being an NES game!

Finally, there is Sweet Home little surprise Hidden among Nintendo’s extensive 8-bit desktop machine catalog. He had many incredible novels at the time such as asking for help in a fight from other team members or a permanent death, and the audio-visual quality of the color coupled with its plot full of mystery put you completely into the game.

Sweet home

Over the years with PlayStation on the market, Fujiwara, in his capacity as Capcom’s producer, remembered his work with Sweet Home and wanted to reinvent the video game using the technology of those years. The idea came to an end Shinji Mikami and the rest is already history. This is why many of the elements of Sweet Home such as opening doors, limited inventory, mansion or its puzzles appear in the first and subsequent Resident Evil.

And now, some curiosity of Sweet Home:


Sweet home
Original cartridge – Photo by Clutchcards87



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