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Casper (Game Boy) artwork

Casper (Game Boy) review


"Casper, the friendly license grab"


Casper was a game developed for release at the same time for the hit movie in 1996. Developer Bonsai constructed this Natsume published game and decided against making it a platformer like every other licensed tie-in and instead went for something different; a collection of mini games and puzzles. You may be thinking "Oh great, not another mini game collection" but this was in a time long before the shovelware minigame craze was in full swing so this game is far less offensive than it seems.

Still, Casper, while not entirely a bad game in and of itself gives me the vibe that the programmers just did a license grab and then didn't quite have any vision as to where they wanted to take the game and it seems like the minigame compilation was just something to fall back on when they couldn't bring any ideas to fruition.

The game loosely follows the plot of the film where you have to find the pieces of the reanimation machine and bring Kat's dad back to life after Casper's three evil uncles turn him into a ghost. The game starts off with three different levels of the same four mini games. Once those are completed then you have to play three more mini games in succession in order to complete the game. The game, like most at the time, is rather short and can be completed in under thirty minutes but the puzzle based minigames would've left any and everyone frustrated at just how cryptic they are and I would never have made it through those puzzles without the help of a guide. I would've given up on this game long before I figured them out.

The minigames range from fun to just plain tedious and can be completed in any order during each of the first three stages. The first game is a deviation of Space Invaders where you have to protect slime and shoot ghosts; the second game comes off as a hybrid of Donkey Kong and Lode Runner; the third game is a deviation of Breakout and the final of and the only one that changes up much is very reminiscent of The Incredible Machine for those of you who remember that game. Each of those three stages takes longer and becomes more long-winded to complete each stage. The Incredible Machine stages are so vague and confusing and cost me several game overs before I was able to finish them by using a walkthrough.

Once you get through that you have a minigame where you're controlling a mine cart and have to avoid ghosts and spiked chains and just survive. Next is simply a short game of Simon followed by one final Ooze Runner stage which was the Donkey Kong/Lode Runner stage. Once you get through that you can enjoy the simple ending and the grating credits music.

For being such a generic game the graphics and sound effects are adequate but not great. Everything works and graphically except the puzzle themed stages as it's almost impossible to tell what some of the items are. The music in the game never became grating other than the end credits but I don't ever want to listen to any of it again.

Casper as a whole is a "playable" game and that's it. It kept my interest just long enough to finish it once and I don't plan on revisiting it ever again and I wouldn't have had the patience to finish it without a guide for the "Incredible Machine" stages as they are too vague and confusing. If you're really into the Game Boy scene then it may be worth a try if you find it laying around just to see how it is but otherwise you're not missing out on much and there are many better games out there even in the movie license department.

2/5

vgc2000's avatar
Community review by vgc2000 (October 24, 2017)

vgc2000's more extensive backlog of reviews can be found on GameFaqs. But some now live here.

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