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CONSOLE: Game Boy DEVELOPER: Imagineering Inc. PUBLISHER: T*HQ
RELEASE DATE (NA): October 1992 GENRE: Action
// review by SoyBomb

Hogwash on the go!

After first revisiting the NES version of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, I said to myself, "No, this isn't enough. I cannot leave this hole in my soul unfilled! I must conquer ALL of my untamed demons, seek out the other Home Alone 2 games, and put them to rest in their graves where they belong." And so, with hands trembling, palms drier than a saltine cracker, knees buckling, eyelids twitching, and spleen searching for the nearest exit, it was time to play for Home Alone 2: Lost in New York on the Game Boy. The NES version was bad, but the Game Boy version somehow manages to be far worse.

Again, the plot remains the same: as the 10-year-old marvel Kevin McCallister, whose skills include sharp wit, quick speed, and a shocking inability to stick with his family at an airport, you must escape the grips of both members of the hotel community you're ripping off and the Sticky Bandits, Harry and Marv, who you tortured and sent to prison in the last film. The credits roll first because seriously, no one will ever see the end of this game without either a stroke of luck or an actual stroke during which you hallucinate the ending of this game. Many of the NES programmers make a triumphant return, but they added a few new members to the team, including...wh-what's this? A woman?! Well, it's about time! Maybe she can offer the perspective we so sorely need: "Hey, guys... how about we NOT make this?" Looks like her advice was not heeded.

The cutscene with the concierge starts our quest, and might I just say... he's beautiful. Tim Curry has never looked so ravishing. Okay, I lied: on closer inspection, he resembles the love child of The Joker and a lemon wedge. (Imagine THAT ceremony.) Also, is it just me, or is there an extra receiver sticking out of the end of the phone receiver? Anyhow, Concierge Chimp here is calling up all the other hotels in the area, warning them that Kevin is using someone else's credit card to rack up hotel bills. We then switch over to Harry and Marv on a pay phone, talking to someone named Lefty Looie. Looie isn't actually in the movie; he's just a plot device — nay, a left-handed plot device — to give the designers an excuse to put more people in the game that want to whack Kevin upside the head with a crowbar or crude club made with a deformed breadstick.

But we can't stick with cutscenes forever... there's a game involved, and my AA-batteries are already depleting as we speak! Right away, Kevin is plopped into the hotel, and just like in the NES version, a bellhop is ready to strangle you at a moment's notice. Run right immediately, or face his balmy clamp upon your throat. Why is he smiling? The goal is simple: get to the other end of the lobby. This hotel is huge because it sure takes a while to get there and it's filled with the most boring obstacles I could think of — and a lot of them. Along the way, all sorts of trouble is waiting to take a chunk out of Kevin's hide: renegade vacuum cleaners, sentient suitcases, and even old women with little ease to do than leap vertically. This is no laughing matter. Really, it isn't because the game's no fun. The only way to deal with such vile creations is by sliding into them (and I still don't recommend that for the vacuum cleaner because you'll just get sucked into the filter and be forced to inhale all the great furballs and toenail clippings found within). For enemies that don't look too tough, sliding is the best way to deal with them. Especially rats. Rats hate a knee to the whiskers.

You can also dig up other weapons, including a few types of guns. Stun guns, hand guns, and bazookas are all availab—okay, hold on a second. At what point in the development cycle (by which I mean, that morning) did someone stop and say, "I think we should give a ten-year-old boy a bazooka. It just makes sense." And nobody thought to fire this person. Nobody thought this was an ill-suited idea. Heck, nobody even THOUGHT during this process. You cana also pick up a pearl necklace to toss to the ground. That's definitely something I reach for whenever I'm in trouble. Other than all this, Kevin will have to jump his way out of trouble, and that's where this game goes rather sour. He is slippery as sin! You're not controlling a young lad in New York: you're controlling a trout out of water. No matter what the surface is, you'll slide, likely farther than you wanted to go. Perhaps you'll fall into a pit or into the arms of an unloved one.


New York City seems a little unsafe.

Now where were we... Ah yes! The hotel hallway of doom! Once you get to the end, there's an elevator. You have to press the button and then wait for quite a long time before it reaches you. (It's a tall hotel.) In the meantime, why not enjoy a constant barrage of luggage? This bunch is slightly harder to dodge than the NES ones, and it features both the standard briefcase style AND tall European backpacker style. Once the elevator comes, you'll have to visit several of the upper floors, although it's really only for additional items. There are fewer maids on the beds to deal with over the NES, although they're no less stingy at pelting you with wafer-thin bloodstained pillows. Now I'm not sure how The Plaza Hotel became a five-star retreat.

After foraging in private rooms, Kevin heads to the kitchen, where he meets a very angry chef, likely because you're causing health violations by sneaking in there. Thankfully, unlike the NES equivalent, he only takes his clothes off AFTER you've defeated him with a few classily-placed sliding moves. Then it's off to the streets of New York, where gang associates want you dead. Sounds reasonable. They're all hiding in the bushes, ready to ambush you with a wallop on the noggin. Super. They seem even more difficult to avoid this time around.

Now then, where should Kevin go next? In the NES game, Kevin went into the sewers. This time, why not visit the zoo? Yes, nothing breaks up a life-and-death chase from wanted criminals like a trip to the ol' town zoo, located conveniently next to Central Park. (Perhaps the animals there are involved in some of the park's criminal activity.) And, like everyone else in New York City, the caged animals want Kevin dead. Cheetahs, panda bears, hippos... all of them have a vendetta against Kevin McCallister and will not cease to fling whatever clumps they can find. I must have missed Home Alone 1.5, set in June when Kevin visited the zoo and tortured the animals and then they formed a plan to murder him upon his return. I also must have missed the part where Kevin then goes into an underground cave and bats throw to gnaw his face off. Kevin also has to fight against the Pigeon Lady in a dark cave. That happened.


That's it, I'm taking a vacation somewhere else. I hear Kuala Lumpur is nice this time of year.

The last area is the abandoned house, and by this point, you'll be happy you're nearing the end. Upon your arrival, you'll have no idea what to do. None. It's just a dilapidated old house with more crumbling drywall than a failing contractor's warehouse. There aren't many traps to deal with (wait, wasn't that the point of the last half-hour of the movie?), as Harry and Marv don't really show up much. You'll spend more time hunting down keys, opening doors, and finding even more keys. One time, Harry and Marv actually just hover up from a giant hole in the floor then descend. Are they ghosts now? Now here's a gripe I have: whenever you fall into a hole in the house, you die... except for one that looks no different than the rest. I know games require trial and error, but good Lord, you're really testing my limits here with your leaps of extreme faith. Thanks, GameFAQs; I wouldn't have finished this part without you.

To close out the game, Kevin escapes from the house, you run down the rather empty streets of New York and end up at the town's giant Christmas tree. Kevin climbs it, and in a battle with the same strategy as on the NES, he has to defeat Harry and Marv hopping around when he reaches the top. The only way to do this is to cry for help at the same time the Pigeon Lady (who is peeking from betwixt the top branches) can drop a bomb or a poop or something. Three hits on each bandit knocks them out for good.

And then a quality rendering of John Heard, Macaulay Culkin, and Catherine O'Hara, portraying them in their natural state: burned by magmatic molasses.

Leave this game on your shelf. Better yet, leave this game on a hot radiator so it can melt into something more useful, like a hardened plastic blob. The controls aren't the absolute worst I've seen, but it still sometimes plays like a tangled Slinky rolling down cubist stairs. Just jumping onto a platform is a chore. Worse yet, you never know when your attacks will actually be successful or not. The graphics are pretty cheesy, especially those cutscenes — if your people are going to look like victims of some horrible human dehydration project, why even bother rendering them at all? They didn't do this with the Sticky Bandits, just with everyone else. The music's probably the highlight, but even that can get shrill at times. The Home Alone 2 theme song gets a butchering for sure. Volume control is a godsend.

All in all, it was not fun to play. This should be Home Alone 2: Lost In Your Toilet.


Worse than an amateur Flash movie.


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