DENNIS THE MENACE (SNES) - REVIEW A BAD GAME DAY
So it's Review A Bad Game Day again, that most magical time of year where we gather around and celebrate a bad game worthy of mention. Today, I'll be looking at the SNES version of cartoonish platformer Dennis The Menace which also came out for the Amiga and the Game Boy.
Based on the live-action movie from 1993 which itself was an adaptation of the old cartoon series, the game has you take control of the titular troublemaker as he wanders around grumpy neighbour Mr Wilson's home and other locations causing all sorts of mayhem. Incidentally, it looks like Hell has already broken loose in all of those places since poor old Dennis is soon awkwardly manoeuvring around thousands of purple cats, bouncing tea cups, killer fish, giant frogs and mice. Now I'm not sure what Mr Wilson's been up to but it can't be good because his house is like the Halloween version of Pee-Wee's Playhouse. It's a bit like the Home Alone games in that everything is out to kill you, it's a mystery where you're supposed to go and the controls don't exactly help you either.
Stop summoning Satan, will ya?
There are way too many things on screen that can drain your energy and they are ridiculously inconsistent: a cactus can't hurt you but a record player can? And since jumping is a pain as most platforms are tough to reach and you can't just bounce on enemies to get rid of them, this becomes really frustrating really fast. I can't stress enough just how confusing the layouts of these locations are. There's a time limit throughout and it's unclear where you're meant to be going so the fact that the many sprites respawn instantly makes it particularly challenging. The music is not too bad even if it becomes tiresome soon enough but it's the sound effects that are really worth mentioning as one of the most annoying aspects of the game which'll make you want to shut it off promptly.
It's a shame that this game is almost reluctant for you to play it because it looks colourful enough with developers Ocean Software doing a decent job graphics-wise and there is some variety when it comes to the levels. One of them involves following Dennis' dog Ruff as you avoid various incoming obstacles, for example. This is also not a short game so some effort was definitely put into it but it's so irritating that it's very unlikely you'll have the patience to play through dozens of its levels. Most of which, I should mention, take place either in the woods or the park and therefore look basically the same. The final boss is Christopher Lloyd's burglar character from the film although he looks more like Freddy Krueger.
While not the worst game out there, Dennis The Menace is a bit like The Wizard Of Oz also for the SNES in that it looks nice and had potential but is way too bloated, loud and messy to be fun playing. Sort of like the Dennis character himself, this game is one mean-spirited little brat.
On the plus side, Walter Matthau himself cameos, so there's always that.
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