Monster Party: You're Invited (But Your Friend Can't Come)

      Welcome to Part II of the my Monster Party feature. So far, this game has been one big false advertisement. Mark and Bert only encountered a few bona fide monsters in Part I and there weren't any parties at all. Instead, we got to watch them battle giant cats, haunted wells, and fried shrimp. So what can you expect in the second half of the game? More of the same strangely entertaining baddies. Let's watch:


      Welcome to Level 5. See if you can guess the name of it. Hint: It's Dark World (Something). Dark World Cake? Dark World Drake? No, it's Dark World Lake. In this level you'll encounter phallic red serpents, miniature sharks with prosthetic fins, and skeleton fish. And since there's only one and a half bosses in Dark World Lake, you'll be done with this level pretty quickly.


      The first boss that you'll encounter in this level is second only to the dead spider in terms of easiness. Meet the Living Dead, a pair of zombies who implore you to watch them dance. To beat them, you must, well, watch them dance. These decaying bastards will dance in place for about 30 seconds and then they'll fall apart. All you have to do to win is not touch them. After they're gone, Mark stumbles out of the room wondering why the game's programmers would waste his time with stupid shit like that.


      The second and final boss in Level 5 is the Mad Javelin Man. As his name implies, he's full of generic rage. Also, he throws javelins. I don't know if this was intentional or not, but I always thought he looked like a wooden automaton, not unlike Mokujin from Tekken. I suppose it could just be an unfortunate choice of colors though. But if Optimus Prime were made of oak and about to give a blowjob, that's what he'd look like. After you beat this crazy bastard, you can continue on to Level 6.


      Dark World Haunted House is the game's sixth level and it's also its worst. The level has only one boss and it compensates for this by being an obnoxious maze. As you try to navigate your way through this level, you will fight some of the lamest enemies this site of Earthbound: haunted desks, haunted tables, and haunted pants. God, I hate this level. This level also gives us Mark's third and final unexplained costume change: yellow. Maybe he pissed himself, I don't know.


      Although this level only has one boss, he's fairly cool. The Chameleon Man is a red and green mask who creeps around on a freaky red and green background. As if that weren't sneaky enough, there are three decoys that move around the room as well. The decoys neither deal nor receive combat damage, but they might annoy the fuck out of you. Once you figure out which Chameleon Man is the real one, he's easy as hell to beat. He may have mad evasion skills, but he can't fight back at all.


      Level 7 is the Dark World Tower and it's filled with ghosts, purple imps, evil umpires, and elephants from the Ku Klux Klan. The only really interesting thing about this level is that it scrolls upward instead of left to right. That, and Mark still smells like urine.


      Here in the Dark World Tower, you'll encounter The Giant Caterpillar. He introduces himself as Royce, which is fucking hilarious because he rolls around. Get it? GET IT!? For some reason, he has a bed. I don't know why the hell a giant caterpillar would have a bed, but this boss used to freak me out. Giant bugs are fucking gross, all right? In fact Royce here creeped me out even more than the next boss...


      That's right, the Grim Fucking Reaper is in the game. I feel bad for the Grim Reaper, he's always getting stuck playing second fiddle to guys like Dracula and Generic Monster Party Boss. The worst part is, I don't even know what the hell he's throwing at me. Fireballs? Souls? Brownies? I just can't tell. Unfortunately, this level has worse problems than just trying to figure out what Grimmy's projectile is.


      There's one more boss in this level, Giant Spider 2.0. But if you've already fought Royce and Grim, you better avoid this guy. Due to a bizarre programming oversight, you get the key to this level after beating just two bosses. If you fight the third one, you will lose it. And if that happens, you're pretty much screwed. You'll be forced to wander around the level until you die and then try again. No indication of this annoying little fact can be found anywhere in the instruction booklet, so if you're not paying close attention to your key status, you'll be in for some major frustration. As a kid, I don't know how I ever figured out how to get past this level. But I did.


      Monster Party's eighth and final level has the rather awkward name of Dark World Heaven's Castle. Apparently, the only things that get into Heaven in Dark World are witches and sticks of dynamite. Don't question it.


      I don't know what the hell this boss is suppoed to be. It looks like some sort of skeleton/cyclops/Medusa hybrid, but the instruction booklet called it Hand Creature. Hand Creature doesn't do much except shoot bloody bandages and coy gazes at you. I don't like him at all.


      Next up is an evil pharaoh who apparently wants to make Mark into soup. Luckily for you, the dubiously named Snake Man is far too dumb to succeed in his goal. This guy doesn't even have a projectile, he just shuffles back and forth angrily. I think maybe the designers had given up at this point.


      After beating Snake Man and continuing on forward, you won't encounter any other bosses before you reach the exit. This is quite problematic, because you don't have the key. Once again, Monster Party has found a way to fuck you over. Although almost every sidescroller in the history of the genre has scrolled from left to right, Monster Party decided to break convention without any prior warning. At the beginning of this level, you are supposed to somehow KNOW that you can go left. When you do, you'll find a church that houses the level's third boss.


      This guy is called Giant Dragon. Hey, have you noticed how about half of the bosses in the entire fucking game have the word "giant" in their name? You didn't? Really? You suck. Like Snake Man, this guy doesn't have a projectile. But he does track you like a motherfucker. Use your ninja skills to dodge him and smash his head in when he's not looking. With all three bosses now defeated, you can unlock the door to the final boss.


     Dark World Master, who may or may not be featured on the game's title screen, is a horrible pile of eyes and teeth. To beat him, you must hit the little red ball above his mouth when it's exposed. We may never know if this weak spot is his nose or another eye and at this point, I don't care. After all the weird bad guys that you have to beat to get to him, he's a major letdown. The one good thing about Dark World Master is that the game ends after you beat him. And what an ending it is.


      For helping Bert save Dark World, Mark is rewarded with a box. If I was Mark, I'd be pissed. That box isn't very big and after all the shit that I just went through, I'd want diamond-encrusted candy bars wrapped in solid gold. But wait, there's a girl in the box! Mark's reward is a sex slave! Bert is the coolest friend EVER!


      Wait, what's going on? What the fuck is this shit!? BERT, YOU MOTHERFUCKING SON OF A BITCH!




      Oh, it was a just dream. Thank God...


      OK, it wasn't just a dream. It was real. REEEEEEEEEAL! Monster Party concludes with this textbook B movie ending. Considering how cheesy and bizarre this game was, I can't think of any more appropriate way for it to end. I know I made fun of Monster Party a lot here, but it really is a fun little game. If you're into old school games and you're looking for another sidescroller to play, track this down. It's a pleasant waste of time and you can use it as an excuse not to watch bad horror movies. Dude, I just rented House of the Dead, you gotta come over and watch it! Fuck you, man. I think I'll go play Monster Party.


Posted by: Syd Lexia