I still remember when this game first showed up at my arcade. I was a huge fan of monster movies as a kid and to see a game that pitted you against some of the most famous monsters of all-time was enough to get me to play it. It was a favorite of mine back then and I had fond memories of the game. But it did not last long at my arcade. The arcade was a testing site for the area and we would get new games in weekly. It also meant that games that did not perform well did not last long. Monster Bash was one of these games. So once it was gone, I did not see it again. It was the only time I ever saw the game at an arcade. It had no home conversions, so it soon became a part of my memory. But when MAME finally added it to the list of games that had been emulated, I was elated. I could finally return to one of the games I enjoyed in my youth. Would the memories stay true or did the game disappear because it was not very good?
(Here is Dracula's castle. Looks better once you light the candles.)
The first few games were enjoyable. I found the nostalgia to be intoxicating. But soon the game proved to be pretty shallow. It did not take long to realize that it was a decent game, but not a great game as I remembered. I still enjoyed beating Dracula and could still defeat Frankenstein. But I remember the third creature being the Creature of the Black Lagoon and not the Chameleon Man as he really was. Time has a way of distorting memories.
The gameplay is pretty simple. You need to light the candles on the level which will light up a sword. Touch the lighted sword and you can shoot one shot at the main monster on the level and defeat it. The tricky part is each level is riddled with other monsters that get in your way. Dracula has bats, Frankenstein has werewolves (why a werewolf is not a main enemy is anyone's guess) and Chameleon Man has spiders. You will come to hate these creatures as they always get in your way. You can kill them with your regular shots but a time will come when you must choose between dying or wasting your special shot on one of these beasts. This can cause alot of frustration as you will have to start again.
(Frankenstein's castle is overrun with werewolves. The stench is overwhelming.)
The main bad guys are pretty tough to battle. They will come after you until you get the special shot. Then they run at super speeds and use teleporters to escape you. You will soon find that there is a pattern to how they move and you can beat them. That is a big drawback with the game is that you can soon script the game and easily beat it. And with only three levels to beat, you soon you'll have seen it all and done it all.
(That blue thing at the bottom is Chameleon Man. He can turn colors as you would expect.)
The graphics are nice and cartoony. You can easily tell who is who in the game. Personally, I think your character looks like the heat miser from those old Rankin/Bass cartoons. It is even more true when he gets the special shot and turns all red. And he does a funny little dance after he beats the level. The rest of the screen is black and you have this time little guy in the corner dancing.
Overall the game was a bit of a disappointment. It was still fun and I did enjoy the trip down memory lane. But the game was not that good. I can see why it never was a hit. If there were a bit more randomness to the creatures and maybe a few more levels, we could have had a winner. As it is, the game is just decent. Fun for a few plays, but not much else.
This is just a review of the arcade machine. If you are looking for the actual arcade machine, you may want to check out ebay. Click below to see if you can find this game.