Sweet Home (NES) Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

Release date:
December 14, 1989
Survial Horror

Sweet Home (NES)

The original home of survival horror.

Review by Andi Hamilton (Email)
September 13th 2006

You are about to return to the world of survival horror

The notes you find also mention that the way out is something to do with the frescoes, so you begin exploring the various areas in search of them. Videogame designers are never ones to believe in the old saying ‘strength in numbers’ and you have to split your team up into two parties of two and three from the start. Should one of them run into a difficult battle along the way, you can call upon the other team for help. You actually have to run the other team to their location to join in the battle, against a tight time limit. This makes for cautious play, keeping both teams within a short distance of one another and causes a couple of adrenaline pumping runs through the building when you are up against the ropes and just have to make it.

Of course, if you don’t make it, you can always pray.

Praying is essentially the equivalent of ‘magic’ found in most other RPGs. When selected, you have to stop a fluctuating power bar to decide on how strong its effect will be. There are also trap sequences, such as a falling chandelier, where you can pray for help when you move to avoid it. Unfortunately, these traps do so little damage you’ll find yourself not really caring whether the chandelier crushes you or not – they just become an annoyance. The difficulty of the enemies tends to make steep increases in certain areas, so expect to spend a bit of time winning battles over and over again till you are strong enough to overcome them. It’s power-leveling and, worst of all, it’s artificial difficult which is hateful, regardless of what game you are playing.

And for those paying attention, you can add "the missing team in the mansion before you" and the "storyline unfolding through reading notes" to the list of Resident Evil comparisons. In fact, one of those notes describes the place as "the house of residing evil." Obviously, this means nothing, but I thought it was cute.

As an RPG, Sweet Home is competent. Compared to other NES RPGss, especially the Final Fantasy series, it’s very short, mainly due to the restrictive setting of the mansion. It also lacks that high production value, bar a couple of gruesome cutscenes (which are more than likely the reason this game wasn’t released outside of its native Japan), and it doesn’t really offer anything revolutionary, outside of the aforementioned fantastic story.

As one of the earliest precursors to the "survival horror" games seen today, it is a true curio and one that offers insight into one of videogames’ biggest franchises.

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