Monster Bash Review

Monster Bash Featured

Monster Bash Boxart

Developer: Apogee Software
Publisher: Apogee Software
Platformer: PC – Direct, DOS, GOG*

Monster Bash is an early 90s platformer featuring a protagonist who fits right into the time period. Johnny Dash is a cool kid (you can tell because he wears a baseball cap backwards). Along with his trusty slingshot he delves into the world of monsters. An overall theme might be that these are just dreams, as little Johnny wanders through dangerous stages in polka-dotted pajamas. In any case, the goal is to save caged animals without letting him meet an untimely end.

With a child protagonist and cute goal of saving cats and dogs you might think Monster Bash is effectively a kid’s game. And maybe it is, but it’s also an incredibly violent one. Your slingshot fires rocks (primarily) and when these hit enemies they bleed. Yep, it’s red blood too, not some fanciful alien goop color. Locations are definitely creepy too with hanged skeletons, hearts suspended via hooks, and other nastiness. In comparison to Apogee’s earlier works it has a more detailed, less garish visual aesthetic.

Monster Bash Featured

Platforming itself is pretty precise and challenging. Even in the first episode there are stages with a huge amount of animals to free – some of which are difficult to reach. Along the way you must always watch for enemies, enemy projectiles, and other dangers. For example, if you shoot light fixtures the glass will fall down and pose a brand new threat. Staying alive is tough even though you have five lives to start. Thankfully, checkpoints are liberally dispersed and extra lives are available as well.

Still, Monster Bash is quite the relentless platformer. My attempts to reach beyond Episode 2 were a tragedy. Those who love hard platformers should definitely find this one appealing. After all, it offers large levels and many secrets which seem to draw the attention of genre fans. Here’s hoping Apogee games continue to see modern releases even if they’re all likely a bit too much for me!

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas

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