MONSTER BASH / Sega / Arcade
This forgotten Halloweeny title from Sega pits a young (and somewhat primate-looking) Adol Crispy against legendary monsters of cinema lore: Dracula, Frankenstein and ..... Chameleon Man? All the more confusing, because both the Japanese and American flyers and magazine ads of the time show a werewolf instead of some chameleon. My first thought is that it was a last-minute substitution due to rights issues ... but how do you get the rights to Drac and Frankenstein but can't legally run some generic wolfman? No idea what happened there.
Regardless, it's a simple cycle of three levels. The graphics and sound were actually probably pretty impressive in 1982, with Sega counting on that as the draw rather than any sort of deep and enduring gameplay. It's effectively a maze chase variant, but with some twists.
Adol starts each level with only his meager Zap spell, which can kill the common enemies patrolling each board but only slows down the boss monster temporarily. To kill the boss, you need to first light one of the candles in the level, which enables you to pick up the sword. You then have a one-time shot to land on the boss monster to kill him; if you waste it, you have to go back and touch the sword again to recharge it, but if the candle goes out you'll have to light another one. Each level cycle makes the enemies move faster, and the boss monster in particular will both pursue you more aggressively but also run away much more effectively when you're carrying the sword.
Though nothing stupendous, it's a fundamentally decent little maze-chase game with enough complexity and challenge to keep you playing for a bit. It would probably make for a good mobile phone game for killing 10 minutes here and there. I particularly enjoyed how the boss monsters dissolve into a gruesome pile of goo when you sword-zap them, and the random booty dance your character does when he completes the final level in the cycle.
* Gameplay Video
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