(Bert: “Don’t worry! With your weapon you’ll be able to destroy them easily.”
Mark: “This isn’t a weapon, it’s a bat!”
Bert: “Bat! Batter! Anything is ok! Anyhow, let’s go!”)
Which is what makes Monster Party such a bewildering creature. Make no mistake: Monster Party was censored - considerably - between Japanese prototype and U.S. final version. That it manages to be the most nightmarish and profoundly disturbing game for the NES even after it got past the censor’s iron gauntlet calls into question why it was released at all, even in neutered form.
Mark, the child hero of Monster Party, is kidnapped by a dragon from another dimension named Bert, with whom he proceeds to fuse. Mark doesn’t gain dragon-powers of any sort, but rather transforms for a while into Bert whenever he eats enough pills. The first set of monsters that confront Mark are as follows: a floppy-haired Japanese gangster ghost on fire, a human-faced dog creature, and what appear to be pairs of legs sticking out of the ground from the waist up. This is not counting Mark’s first boss battle, which occurs incongruously enough at the beginning of the first stage, against a giant man-eating pitcher plant. Roughly half-way through the first of eight stages, as he passes a cheerfully-grinning anthropomorphised tree, the screen flickers and Mark finds himself, Silent-Hill-style, in a Boschian hellish landscape, with bleeding skulls replacing happy-faced blocks and blood-vomiting severed heads appearing in the background. It’s so hellish, in fact, that Mark soon stumbles across a giant spider boss who apologises for being already dead, having been torn limb from limb by the denizens of this videogame gehenna.
|(In the original Japanese Monster Party prototype, the pitcher-plant boss more closely resembled Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors, and was flanked by a gigantic microphone and speaker, alluding to the film’s musical numbers.)|