Beetlejuice (1991, NES) by LJN
Have I ever mentioned that David Wise is the G.O.A.T.?
Beetlejuice was an LJN-published (and Rare-developed) 1991 NES action-platformer that I had never seen nor played, before the AVGN showcased this back in 2014. And to be honest, he made it look terrible! And, in his defense, this is no Super Mario 3; this game does have some really incredible poor programming decisions, such as almost non-existent i-frames, deaths when platforms scroll off screen, and a lack of combat without the power-ups. That said, this game is genuinely much better than I ever could’ve foreseen, and the speedrun is speed-FUN!
I… am sorry for that one. It’s been a long day, ok?
The presentation of this game is not exactly trailblazing for 1991, but this is not an ugly game, and the music is BOPPIN’! The beginning of the game feels like it has little-to-nothing to do with the movie, and to be honest, it’s not the best way to present a Beetlejuice video game. But once you reach the later levels, the game is chock full of movie tie-ins and references. You get to meet the main cast, and the enemies are made up of sculptures and the dreaded door to Saturn… where the genuinely-terrifying sandworm lurks. This is a shockingly competent movie-based game, and this could be the best LJN movie-based game on the NES, in my opinion. And I adore A Nightmare on Elm Street!
The speedrun, however, is held back by the dreaded RNG grind. The first stage strikes again, with awful light RNG holding you back, making this a reset-a-thon. That all said, once you get past it, the well-designed stages allow for slick platforming and fun combat added in. Combined with some fun damage boosting, death abusing, and strategies in the house stages to kill the dreaded sweepers and flies… this becomes a game that feels satisfying to play. When you do the things correctly, you FEEL rewarded, even if you’re just getting a little lucky.
I am surprised that the NES speedrun community hasn’t tried this game out in greater numbers. Most runners that visited my stream during my attempts were saying things like “Oh no!” and “Good luck with this torture” and similar things, while I had a smile on my face most of the stream. And I can’t say it enough, but give it a try, and you too might find yourself saying the Ghost with the Most’s name three times!
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