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About me: (4th Mar '13) - And here I go again!

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Quote-start

I don't want to be a part of this New York

Quote-end
03.01.2012

Advantages:
You probably haven't played it

Disadvantages:
I have

Recommendable No:

Detailed rating:

Gameplay/Playability

Value for Money

Longevity

GraphicsVery poor graphics

SoundPoor sound effects & music

Difficulty & ComplexityAverage - suitable for most

MultiplayerNo Multiplayer/Not Applicable

45 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
exceptional by (15%):
  1. Secre
  2. Nar2
  3. catsholiday
and 4 other members
very helpful by (85%):
  1. cha97michelle
  2. greenierexyboy
  3. sorehead
and 36 other members

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Introduction

Film licences in the 1990s were very often seen as easy cash cows and very little more. The number of really good movie-inspired 16-bit games could probably be counted on the fingers of two hands – some might even say one hand. The Home Alone series of films is not one that's ever been hugely appealing to me, but that didn't mean that a game based on it had to be dreadful. Unfortunately it is dreadful, and spectacularly so. Even for a movie licence THQ's Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is a car crash of a game: it looks bad, plays worse and is one of those games that will probably leave you wondering why you didn't spend that part of your life now lost for ever doing something more enjoyable and intellectually rewarding, such as arm-wrestling a rabid badger.

Gameplay

Come on now, don't be silly. Ah well, if I must... given this game's inspiration, it will doubtless come as no surprise that you play the part of that well-known fictional brat Kevin McCallister, as represented by that well-known real-life brat Macaulay Culkin. That alone may well be enough to set millions of hearts a-sinking, but I'm afraid there's more. Your task, should you be fool enough to choose to accept it, is to make your way through a variety of thrilling (all right, I tell a lie) levels and collect treasures, all the while avoiding the clueless crooks also rampaging around the place. Not to mention a variety of bizarre enemies whose only role in life seems to be to wander up and down in a thoroughly predictable way while trying their best to look malevolent and devious.

These include vacuum cleaners. No, really. The opening level, and probably the only one you'll ever play if you're not silly enough to have committed yourself to reviewing this disaster, is set in a hotel. As the game opens, after an intro "movie" sequence slightly less convincing than those in a Carry On film, an employee is chasing you along – who knows why? – and thus requiring you to run away, leaping dextrously over said cleaning appliances as you go, or possibly sliding into them with great skill. From time to time you may need to open your eyes or engage your brain in order to make the jumps work, but please do accept my reassurances that this is only very rarely necessary. Most of the time it's a ridiculously boring, brainless hurdling race of the sort that early-1980s ZX Spectrum coders would have been embarrassed by.

Those who, for reasons unknown to science or indeed logic, stick with Home Alone 2 long enough to find themselves somewhere other than in the hotel will find a stunning transformation, with imaginatively designed locations that demand a pleasing degree of thought while also bringing a smile to your face once you figure them out. That's only when you've changed the cartridge, though; for the time being it's still dross. For example, should you go into the house in which the evil criminal masterminds are burgling, you will find a remarkably elaborate security system in which any number of booby-traps are rigged up for them, none of which actually do anything to protect the place. Until, that is, you arrive! Then, with the same level of razor-sharp wit seen so often before in this game, you can use the obvious combination of items in the obvious place (helpfully marked for you) with the obvious result of thwacking the thieves.

Presentation

Oh good grief, I can't cope with talking about this abomination's gameplay a moment longer, so it's time I went on to the look and feel. You may remember Culkin's mighty scream from the first Home Alone movie. That sums up extremely well my reaction to the graphics Home Alone 2 serves up. They are truly, amazingly, spectacularly terrible. This is a 16-bit game, and we know from the likes of Mario that 16-bit consoles, despite being largely confined to two dimensions, can offer beautiful, colourful and immersive artwork. And what we get here is something else. No, not "something else" as in "astonishingly brilliant"; I mean the phrase literally. As in, it's not beautiful, or colourful, or immersive. Or artwork. The Kevin sprite looks like a roughly cut-out picture from a magazine that's been stuck on to the background with Pritt Stick. Who knows, maybe it was. And remember that hotel employee? He comes across like a lurching monster from a film Roger Corman rejected for being too cheesy.

As for sonics... I think I prefer the one on the Mega Drive. As I said up top, I'm not terribly familiar with the film, so I can't be absolutely certain whether there might not be a few bars of the movie's music lurking in there somewhere, but frankly I'm not going to go back and listen again to find out. The audio isn't as terrible as the visuals, which to be fair would have been quite an achievement, but even a few minutes after my last play through (hopefully for ever) I honestly cannot recall one single note of the theme, the incidental music, the sound effects... anything at all. It has completely and utterly passed me by.

Buying and verdict

So, now for a verdict... Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is a title that makes absolutely no sense when you think about it, and that makes it an excellent fit with this game. It's an object lesson in how not to do a movie licence, perhaps close to being the perfect example of such, and considering the competition among some of THQ's other early-Nineties games for that dubious honour that must have taken some doing. I really am struggling to think of one single redeeming feature this game has, though perhaps not struggling as hard as I might be as that would require me to waste more of my life on it. I'll simply say that Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is a quite terrifyingly awful game, and that if you've never played it you should offer up prayers of thanks to the deity of your choice every day that remains of your life.

As for cost, I'd say about £10. Though ask for double if you're expected actually to play it.
Pictures of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (SNES)
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (SNES) Home Alone 2 SNES - Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Yes, that's a pizza slice. In mid-air.
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Comments about this review »

greenierexyboy 06.01.2012 21:53

Can I have Culkin accidentally fall into an industrial wood chipper? That would entirely justify the game to me.

Secre 04.01.2012 13:44

One of the best written rants I've seen so far! Lissy

Nar2 04.01.2012 12:52

Well written and very honest! I may like vacuum cleaners but I'd never use them as hurdles - especially uprights- you never know where the handles may land up in. : )

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Product Information »

Product details

Publisher THQ
Release Year 1992
Genre Action/Adventure
Platform Super NES (SNES)

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Review Ratings »

This review of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (SNES) has been rated:

"exceptional" by (15%):

  1. Secre
  2. Nar2
  3. catsholiday

and 4 other members

"very helpful" by (85%):

  1. cha97michelle
  2. greenierexyboy
  3. sorehead

and 36 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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