Review Information
Reviewer Name: Anonymous
Game Difficulty: Hard
Difficulty Options: False
Game Information
Full Title: Ghost House [card]
Year Released: 1986
Game Type: Platform
Max Players: 2

Well, aren't you a lucky one? You're Mickey (or Mick, depending on where you come from) - a guy in blue shirt and red pants who sports a pair of rather pointy ears, and your grandfather has just revealed to you that you're the rightful heir of the family's jewels (no, not THAT kind of jewels. Get your mind outta the gutter), and there's no less than 30 of these valuables. On the flipside of the coin, they won't be easy to get, 'cause they're inside some haunted houses, with tons of supernatural beings out to get you...
But luckily for you, Mick(ey) must have idolized Alex Kidd since his childhood days, as he's not afraid of ramming his fist into whatever's getting in his way, with varying degrees of success. The objective of this game is to enter the (largely underground) house, punch (or jump on) bats, ghosts and fire-spewing tomatoes until a key gets dropped, then seek out one of the five coffins, open it up, kill the Dracula within and claim the jewel he was holding on to before repeating this process four more times. Once you've got the five jewels the house you're currently in has to offer, you need to find the exit and move on to the next round.

Aside from his punch, Mick(ey) can find further means of self-defense within the house, which is good, as his fist is weak and has a very short range: Whenever you walk past a candelabra, a knife will fly at you from off-screen. Jump on it and you got yourself a weapon. What you should also be on the lookout for are ceiling lights. Jump against one, and every enemy will freeze for a few seconds. When fighting one of the Draculas, knowledge of what things in the house you can use to your advantage is invaluable. The gameplay scores well in my book. The only gripe I have is that a fair bit of the game's difficulty is fake, like monsters frequently blocking ladders you want to climb up. The fights against the Draculas are no better, either
Considering that this game has been released on a card, the graphics are okay. There's only few things where you're wondering what they're supposed to be (like the coffins), and even though the rooms look a bit samey, that's hardly detrimental for the game's appearance. There's one thing where I have to deduct points for, though, and that's the palette: Rounds 2 and 5 have a bright red sky and bright blue indoor walls, which simply looks awful.
Sound & Music
There's not a lot of music in this game. Only about four pieces, but they settle the mood perfectly. The title theme starts really quiet and gradually gets louder, building anticipation. The stage theme is a pretty catchy tune that's oddly fitting for the scenario of punching ghosts for keys and looking for coffins and supplies. Then there's the theme that plays when you fight Dracula and when you've cleared a stage, which is kind of a reprise of the title theme. It loops quickly, but dear God is it intense; like something you'd hear in a horror movie. The Game Over theme, on the other hand, is just that. A short jingle to tell you that you've failed. It doesn't sound scary, but that's just alright, as it can help lighten the mood after all that intense stuff you were put through -- if you aren't fuming with rage about the cheap difficulty by this point.
The controls are pretty responsive. Button 1 jumps, Button 2 punches, and you can also crawl (although you can't jump whilst doing so, which is a bit of a loss). Ladders aren't a pain in the backside to climb, although it gets slightly cumbersome when you have another ladder right next to the one you just climbed up. The unresponsiveness comes once Mick(ey) gets shoved around by the monsters that are all over the place. Bats don't faze him much, but if he gets hit by ANYTHING whilst climbing a ladder, he falls off. Even so, when Mick(ey) gets pushed all over by an enemy (particularly Dracula and the mummies you encounter after Round 1), you're completely at the opponent's mercy. He can take quite a beating, but once you're against a wall, your life meter will have turned completely yellow before you know it.
Replay Value
Music & Sound
Replay Value
It took me a while to get into the game, and once I did, I couldn't get enough of it. There's 3 rounds. After that, the game loops once more, and stuff gets harder. The levels are a good bit about exploration, particularly because the coffins are really hard to find at times. Overall, I'd say the game has some good replay value. Considering it's a card game, this is to be expected.
Ghost House is an alright game. Its learning curve is a bit steep, but once you've surmounted it you'll find it's quite an enjoyable experience. On the other hand, my stanards aren't particularly high, so you may not enjoy this game as much as I do. Nevertheless, it's at least worth a try.
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