The early 90s were an innocent time with the end of the Cold War, a new era of prosperity and (if you believe the world of the Home Alone franchise) being able to leave your child unattended for several days while you are in France without getting prosecuted for neglect. Regardless of just how far you had to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy it the movie Home Alone is a classic comedy. It remains as funny today as it was back in 1990 when Macaulay Culkin was still the loveable scamp with a penchant for creating comical traps for unsuspecting bad guys and not drugged up to the eyeballs as he has been recently.
Games based on the franchise however have not been as memorable. This is nothing new since Ghostbusters (one of my favorite movies of all time) had to wait over 25 years before it got a decent game. Now apparently the Master System game of Home Alone is one of the rarest titles on the console and is highly sought after by collectors despite the mixed reviews that have accompanied it.
As in the movie the game follows Kevin McCallister who has been left home alone while his parents took the rest of the family to France for Christmas. Meanwhile the wicked ‘Wet Bandits’, Harry and Marv, are intent on stealing all the family’s possessions. Each level involves Kevin trying to get to the valuables first and hiding them in a safe before the timer runs out or he is caught by the ‘Wet Bandits’. To help him Kevin has Buzz’s BB gun from the film which he can find ammunition for to slow down Harry and Marv or get back any valuables they have taken. Bizarrely there is a dog in the house (don’t remember that from the movie) that trips up both Kevin and the ‘Wet Bandits’.
Sadly, that’s all there is to it. There are no traps with which to beat Harry and Marv senseless with which was the whole fun of the film. Instead it plays more like an action/shooter adventure but set to the light hearted backdrop of the Home Alone movie. Controlling Kevin isn’t particularly difficult with him being able to leap over the bandits with ease but problems arise when trying to go upstairs. You maybe aiming up with the D-pad but a lot of the time he will go right passed the stairs which can be a real headache with that insanely quick timer. The timer is your biggest problem in this game with Harry and Marv a close second. You can try to hide from them in crawl spaces but everytime I did they found me. Also it wastes valuable time that you don’t have. You do get three tries for each level and you will use them up quickly. The biggest pain in the rear however is that there are no continues so when those tries are up its back to the beginning.
I will not say this is the worst game based on a movie or TV franchise but certainly isn’t that memorable. I will not lie; at first I was enjoying this game but it quickly became repetitive and frustrating with there being little to hold your interest. Shame really. Feels like yet another missed opportunity for a game based on a movie.