The Mask (Old Review)

Many years ago, some guys made a comic book called The Mask, about a guy called Stanley Ipkiss, who found a mysterious green mask, and when he put it on he turned into a cartoon character with a green face and a huge set of teeth and with these powers he would…mercilessly kill and torture the crap out of people, it was violent, mean spirited, cruel and down right insane.

So when New Line Cinema wanted to make a comic book adaptation, they chose The Mask, but then they said ‘hang on, this isn’t going to work, but wait, what if we took out the violence and awful cruelty, the stuff the comic was known for (by a few people) and replace it with funny slapstick stuff that the whole family would enjoy’. And you know what, it worked, The Mask (and Blade) was the most successful comic book film in the 90’s, and the lest we talk about it’s sequel the better.

I love The Mask movie, Jim Carrey does a fantastic performance, it was funny as hell and the special effects for the time are pretty good. Son of the Mask, I watched it as a kid and liked it, years later I watched it again and it’s down right insane…for the wrong reasons, it wasn’t funny, the special effects are scary and everyone does a horrible performance…except for Bob Hoskins, he’s a HARD MAN!

But of course with a successful movie comes a game, and seeing that this is a movie license, I’m very worried. Released for the SNES, developed by Black Pearl Software and published by THQ, The Mask is an action game which you defeat bad guys in several levels and that’s it. Uh Oh!

It doesn’t really have a story, since this is a movie licensed game, I would have to follow the movie, but there is a lot of stuff here not even in the movie. You play as The Mask, moves fine doing his ‘Like a Boss’ walk, the first level is the apartment, which is the most memorable level and scene from the movie funny enough.

For the attacks, you have your punch which you can punch baddies, now for other attacks like the Hammer, high jump, and his infamous twister, the loud horn and multiple gun attack uses up Morph points or ‘M’s (I’ll talk about the ‘M’s shortly).

The enemies comprise of gang members, the clock from the movie, a guy with a machine gun (can never hit him without getting shot), a clown…yeah you can tell half of the bad guys were not in the movie, OK this is hopefully the last time I mention the movie because it want to critique it as a game and not as a movie license (give it a chance, what could possibly go wrong?).

The ‘M’s are the items that power up your attacks, use them up and you have to wait till it fills up to a little bit or collect more, but the game can get stingy at times and sometimes you get ‘M’s when you have enough (AAAAAARRRGH!), yeah I know Earthworm Jim did the same thing but at least you could easily collect more bullets and even better power-ups if your gun was empty.

The most annoying thing about the game are the bosses but mostly your attacks, it’s far too difficult to even attack them due to the fact that they’re too quick or quickly attack you with no pattern, which means you have to use your special attacks but drains out the ‘M’ counter so you’re left with your punch that does little damage to enemies, but then again, I bet all the attacks do the same amount of damage as each other because even using special attacks take long as well to the point where it becomes repetitive.

Another problem is the level design, it’s not bad but if you’re a kid playing it, you can get lost within the first level, unless you find air vents on the wall that let you progress, and how was I supposed to find that out. The music is tedious but level 1’s song is memerable.

This is an average game, could have been worse. The problem is is that the combat isn’t good, it’s awful, it takes long to defeat any kind of enemy without draining out your ‘M’s which you pretty much have to save up for a mini-boss and level boss, and when you’re attacking you’re more likely to get damaged yourself. The game looks like something from The Mask so that should count for something.

But if you look at some screenshots of the beta version, it turns out that it was originally going to be a beat ’em up similar to Final Fight and Streets of Rage, and it actually looked good. Why they scrapped a good idea to make a mediocre platformer I’ll never know.

It’s not the worst movie licensed game ever made but with an unpolished combat system, unfair and frustrating level design, this game is lower average, it’s a movie license game after all, what else do I have to day about it, sorry I had to mention it as that but, yes. This game has had it’s smoke put out years ago, unlike the film and even the animated series which will forever be SMOKIN’!

You can get it for the SNES.

Rating: 2/5


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