If you're into old-school platformers like Commander Keen
and Dangerous Dave
, then Monster Bash is going to be right up your alley. It's another of Apogee's takes on the genre, so it features their usual style and its quirky nature gives it a lot of personality to go with the fun platforming action. This one finds you in control of little Johnny, whose dog Tex has been kidnapped by the evil Count Chuck as part of his fiendish masterplan to take over the world by turning all the world's animals into minions for his army. It's your job to venture forth and rescue Tex and all the other pets before Chuck's plan comes to fruition. what follows is a fun, if slightly twisted, side scrolling platformer that sees you venturing through Ghouls'n Ghosts
-style environments, facing off against various creatures of the night with just your trusty slingshot for company. On each level, you need to rescue all the pets before the exit opens up, while after three episodes, a boss battle awaits you. Complete that, and you move one step closer to Chuck. Monster Bash is a pretty typical Apogee game but as they were very good at what they did, that comes as a high recommendation. This isn't an easy game but it's rarely frustrating as it's simply so well done. The levels are cleverly designed, with a good variety of enemies and some deliciously dark humor to be found in the details. It's got some nice visuals and audio too, which give it a great sense of charm, so if you are looking for fun but challenging platformer, this is well worth a look.
A fun but derivative side scroller
The weirdest thing about this game is the protagonist, a relatively young little guy who has to make it out of a cemetery. How about that as your driving story, eh?! Quite creepy really, so no wonder that most players called this game Graveyard instead of the original title. Produced by Apogee in the era of freeware games, Monster Bash contains 3 episodes, the first one being free, the remaining ones requiring the purchase of a license. At any rate, the game, while ok, features many of the problems of early DOS games. The player character, Johnny Dash, moves a little too stiffly, there can be loads of enemies present at once on the screen that allow for no good strategy to avoid them, and also, the game does little to create more dynamic or more challenging situations other than raising the number of enemies or spawning them without offering you a chance to dodge or fight. In terms of overall difficulty the first chapter is relatively easy, though it has a few bottlenecking passages that will drive one crazy, but the later episodes are much harder from start to finish, and don't seem to follow any pattern of gradual difficulty increase. I do recommend the first episode to anyone passionate about DOS platformers but expect no great classic either.