Monday, October 29, 2012

"Beetlejuice", Game Boy, 1992.

Beetlejuice was a not a great candidate for conversion into a cartoon series; the kiddies watching on Saturday morning would only get a superficial understanding of its indictment of the nouveau riche and their abhorrent avant-garde tastes. But that's okay, what remains after you throw that all in the waste bin is still a rich vein of glorious weirdness. All we have to do is throw out the nice dead couple and make the sole remaining human, Lydia the goth, forget that Beetlejuice ever tried to marry her by force. Done! Now let's enjoy the cartoon and its video game.

WANT TO PLAY A GREAT GAME, BOY?
It's your pal Beetlejuice, here to bamboozle those bewitchers from the Netherworld vacationing at lovely Lydia's place. This house is HAUNTED!
Flying cups and saucers and clothes that spring to life cause quite a panic...especially when they're coming for you! It's a horrific 5 level challenge to spook attic ghastlies, rattle angry skeletons and scare ghostly bats. Vampires may even join you for a "bite" to eat. Hmm...maybe we should skip lunch today.
These Netherworld ghoul-o-ramas are no match for us. Has the "ghost with the most" ever let you down?!!
Check out the "GHOST WITH THE MOST" for your NES too!
(What kind of egotist hangs around playing a game based on himself?)

The movie's premise was straightforward; stage hauntings to frighten away humans. This game is a bit more muddled; save human from being haunted, with the help of the film's primary haunter. (Or in other words: now the haunter is haunted!)

That "ghost with the most" phrase is punchier if it's not used in two consecutive sentences. (I do appreciate the wordplay in the opening quip, analogous to the console being called out explicitly in the film's game's ad cited at the end here also.)

Compelling Beetlejuice-eese is hard to write; the opening alliteration grows wearying quckly (bamboozle bewitchers, lovely Lydia, house haunted) and is just as quickly abandoned. Classic lines like "It's showtime!" don't just write themselves! That must have been the fruit of five crumpled pages of first-draft patter. ("The people have spooken!")