Monster House – GC – Review

The house
is alive! The house is alive! And it’s awesome.

By now
you’ve seen the trailers, commercials, and numerous other ads for the animated
film Monster House. The story takes places on just another typical day until –
uh-oh – the neighborhood’s creepiest house starts eating people. It’s
unusually creepy for a film that could otherwise be written off as a
children’s flick. That theme translates quite well to the game world, where
the monstrous complex truly comes alive.

Players are
taken on a journey that is akin to a survival/horror game, minus blood, guts,
and anything else that would hike the game’s rating. This isn’t what I would
call a kid-friendly title as it’s not for everyone in the family. But the
average 10-year-old will be enthused, amused, and frequently intrigued by the
Resident Evil and Silent Hill-style gameplay. Controls are stiff. Characters
move at a slower pace than in most action games, again going back to the idea
that is a survival/horror game for younger players.


Aiming is a
one-way street. You may lock-on to enemies, a feature not found in other
horror games. However, keeping with the tradition of the original Resident
Evil, you cannot aim precisely where you want to. The lock-on feature is
almost immediately vital to your survival, and thankfully is very easy to use.

The interior
environments are amazing. You’re not just trapped inside a house that’s
supposed to be a monster – you actually feel like you’re trapped inside a
monster. Chairs, lighting fixtures, the floor that you walk on, etc., all come
to life. Any part of the home, at any time, could turn out to be a living,
breathing element that has to be avoided or destroyed. You never can be 100%
that you’re safe or take a breather. Even Resident Evil had its peaceful
moments via save rooms. Not Monster House. It wants to keep you on edge, and
it does that very effectively.

As players
look for a way out of the house, they’ll take control of three unfortunate
friends armed with squirt guns. The squirt gun will ultimately become their
best friend, as it is the only thing standing in between them and the house’s
many traps and attacks.

Each child
has a different squirt gun with varying degrees of water power. DJ, the
curious boy who absolutely had to know what was going on with this house,
fires steady streams of monster-stopping H2O. Jenny’s quick-shooter squirts
even faster. Hits are less potent, so you’ll need to strategize and prioritize
your targets. Chowder’s water gun fires the biggest blasts of water, and
should remind players of what it’s like to fire a shotgun in other, more
graphic survival/horror games.


All three
shooters are upgradeable, and each is equipped with unlimited ammo. You’ll
have to cock the toy frequently to re-fill its tank, but you’ll never have to
worry about finding pick-ups because you just fired your last round.

another cue from the survival/horror champ, Monster House has several
instances where you must press the face button shown on screen to perform a
specific action. This typically involves the pushing and pulling of a box, or
the retrieval of an item. However, it can also involve a near-death experience
where the house will take a stab at finishing off one the children. In this
case you may have to press a button immediately when it comes on screen, or
press the same button repeatedly until the child is set free. Those of you who
have played Resident Evil 4 should have fond memories of escaping scenarios
like this. It’s clear that the Monster House development team were big fans of
the title, consistently paying tribute to Capcom’s masterpiece in their own
horror game.

exploring the monster’s intestines, you’re bound notice light coming from the
window. Don’t go near, it’s a trap! Get caught walking through the light and
the house will be alerted of your presence. Now he’ll be angry and awaken his
monster helpers. Enemies, such as the not-too-scary, but all-too-evil "chair"
come to life whenever the house gets angry, feels threatened, or just feels
like causing some trouble.


House is another success story from the world of animated films. This game is
a wonderful conversion of the movie, and is an interesting (and sneaky) way to
get pre-teens interested in survival/horror. Players both young and old will
be intrigued and delighted by the creepy house they must explore, fight off,
and escape from to survive. Environments are big (yet claustrophobic), clever,
and have a collection of deadly enemies you won’t see anywhere else.

Scoring Details

for Monster House

Gameplay: 8.0
immersive, and at time intense, Monster House is the first real
survival/horror game designed for nearly everyone. It’s not bloody or
particularly violent, yet there is still a sense of urgency that validates the
genre being called “survival/horror.” My eyes widened as the house slowly
revealed itself. At the same time my thumbs scrambled to get the kids out of

Graphics: 7.9
Not spectacular
or award-winning, but clever, eye-catching, and worth more than a second look.
The developers made excellent use of old technology, bringing the monster to
life in ways you won’t see on the big screen.

Sound: 8.0
voice-overs and an eerie, ghoul-filled soundtrack make the monster come to

Difficulty: Easy/Medium
A little on the
easy side. Monster House has surprises, as well as a number of things that’ll
put most players (especially kids) on edge. But when you figure out how to
deal with a situation, it doesn’t take much effort to repeat your actions when

Concept: 8.0
Monster House
borrows most of its gameplay mechanics from Resident Evil and Silent Hill.
However, it also has the unique element of a living, breathing house. The
environments come to life in ways you’ve never seen before (outside of the
Monster House film, which is not interactive).

Overall: 8.0
A must-play for
anyone who loves the movie. The Resident Evil-style gameplay – where
everything is slower and stiffer – is likely to feel weird and clunky at
first. But give it time and you’ll see that this control style only adds to
what is already a creepy experience. It makes every move you make that much
more important. In Monster House, you are not able to react as fast as you can
when playing as Link, Mario, or Lara Croft.