Monster Party. Released for the NES by Bandai in 1989, this action/platformer has all but faded into the mists of obscurity. Yes, Bandai had an absolutely horrible track record of releasing lousy games (the best two I can think of would be Monster Party and Dig Dug II - and Dig Dug II was Namco's game originally), and Monster Party itself has been ridiculed over the years, most recently on Something Awful.com, but I don't care. Personally, I found Monster Party to be one of the most fun, yet head-scratchingly odd platformers ever made. In fact - this may be disputed by some people (and frankly, I'd like to know who you are, because I doubt there are many of you) - I am the world's biggest Monster Party fan. Yes, I'm serious. I love this game.
To quote the Something Awful.com Monster Party review: Bandai promotes running off with strangers, taking drugs, and beating people with baseball bats in their smash hit, "Monster Party," which contains plenty of monsters but not a single party. This game is definitely one of the more psychotic titles to ever come out of the Nintendo-era, and I firmly believe that any nation responsible for producing something like this game does not deserve privileged trade status.
I agree with most of that. The game is like some kind of really bizarre trip, which makes me wonder - what were the guys at Bandai on when they made this game?!? Whatever they were on, hell - give me some of that. If I could see some of this absolutely bizarre shit without having to plug Monster Party in, I'd be well on my way to a mental institution.
I'm just kidding, of course. But really - they had to have been on something. The average person normally doesn't just think this kind of stuff up out of nowhere. Maybe it's some kind of special drug that gets passed around between game designers in Japan. Don't believe me? Look at games like Parodius, Star Parodier, Gun*Nac, Toilet Kids, or even Super Mario Bros., for chrissake. Donkey Kong's story I can believe, but SMB... what? You don't believe SMB was the result of some kind of weird trip? Consider this - it's about a plumber that jumps on turtles, eats mushrooms and grows big, then picks a flower and can shoot fireballs out of his hands. Yeah, Shigeru Miyamoto just thought this one up in the bathtub one day, I'm sure.
And Monster Party... good lord. An alien monster lands in front of this kid (who promptly starts up a conversation with him, like this kind of thing happens where he's from all the time), wants him to use his baseball bat to destroy evil monsters on his world, then grabs him and takes off. He merges with the kid, and the only way to change between the two of them is to pop pills! Convinced yet? No? After that, on his planet, the kid fights some of the most truly whacked out monsters that ever populated a video game screen. Seriously. What other game are you going to find a dancing piece of jumbo fried shrimp that turns into an onion ring that eventually turns into three dancing onion rings (among other truly bizarre things)? Nowhere that I can think of, except maybe in Parodius. This game just screams "MY PROGRAMMERS WERE USING MIND-ALTERING SUBSTANCES DURING MY CREATION!"
Yet somehow, it became a game which completely endeared itself to me. Maybe it's the wackiness, maybe it's the absolute insanity of the whole thing - or maybe I just find it to be a fun game. I'm really not sure. All I know is that I love this game.
Check out the absolutely hilarious Something Awful.com review of Monster Party here (with pictures of all of the bosses!), and read my own review of it (that I wrote several years ago for the Classic Review Archive) here.