LGR – Monster Bash – DOS PC Game Review


[MIDI music] [typing] When it comes to platformers from Apogee, most people will remember Duke Nukem and Commander Keen, and for good reason. Those games were stellar
examples of console-like gaming for IBM PC compatibles. But one that’s forgotten by many,
but not here on LGR, is Monster Bash, developed and published by Apogee Software
in April of 1993 for MS-DOS PCs. Scary! Action! Haunting! Puzzles! Scary ACTION haunting puzzles. Scary action! Haunting puzzles! Monster Bash is full of
scary action and haunting puzzles– Okay, I get it. I think the action is
scary and the puzzles are haunting. Whatever that even means. Good job on being explicitly clear
and descriptive, marketing people! This is the rather rare FormGen
CD-ROM release of the game, which is pretty bare bones,
as far as what it comes with. But as usual for Apogee games, it was
also available as a free shareware download and as an even more rare registered version you could get if you ordered it from them directly. Yeah, it didn’t sell very well, but who cares? I’ve got it, so let’s give it a scary action haunting look. Monster Bash begins with the standard Apogee logo, but with an appropriately bewitching twist. [witch cackling] You then get an animated title sequence that features a fantastic amount
of blood for such a cutesy game. [whoosh] [bonk and scream] [MIDI music] [puking sound] [music continues] And, yes, that is an AdLib rendition
of the song “Monster Mash,” which the game obviously takes a bit
of inspiration from, at least nominally. From the main menu,
you can do main menu things, but you may want to take a look at the story since you get no explanation for anything in-game. You’re ten-year-old Johnny Dash, and apparently your new dalmatian
puppy Tex has gone missing. It’s all stormy and crap outside and you know what that means. It’s time for a big hairy arm to
grab you and yank you under the bed. But it turns out whatever it is is actually friendly and lets you know that your dog has been dognapped. At first, Johnny thinks that it’s
the Jungle Jill girl down the street, a not-so-subtle reference to Jill of the Jungle by Apogee’s then-rival, Epic MegaGames. But, nope, it wasn’t Jill.
It was the evil Count Chuck. He’s been stealing dogs and cats from all over and turning them into an army of monsters
to take over the world of the living. A flawless plan. Until now, because it’s up to you to save your dog as well as countless other pets
and stop Chuck from being a dick. You can choose from three
difficulty levels, but trust me, start with easy, no matter what
your macho side tells you to do, ’cause this game is no joke. Monster Bash begins by
literally dropping you into the level, and yes, you’re still in your pajamas. It’s a side-scrolling action-platformer, and the goal is to rescue all the
caged up dogs and cats in each level. And if you’re pondering what I’m pondering, then yes, its been far too long since
“Pinky and the Brain” was still doing new episodes. Besides that, you might be
thinking this idea is quite similar to that of another Apogee-published horror game, Halloween Harry, aka Alien Carnage, though this precedes that game by seven months. Monster Bash is also quite
the different game from that, too, and plays a lot more like a
classic arcade action-platformer. Actually, I’ve heard it described as
Ghosts ‘n Goblins with a slingshot, and that ‘s not terribly far off in many ways. And, yes, a slingshot with
infinite rocks is your only weapon, though you can get limited amounts of
different ammo types, if you can find them. It’s more than effective against all enemies and you can not only shoot directly forward, but you can shoot up at an angle,
as well as while prone on the ground. And thank goodness for infinite default ammo, because there is absolutely no
shortage of horrific enemies to wipe out. You’ve got everything from zombies,
dismembered thing hands, giant snakes, werewolves, skeletons, witches, pumpkin-headed scarecrows, rock gollums and plenty more. And you’ve got at least
28 levels across three episodes, many of which can take up to
ten minutes to complete the first time, so there’s plenty of scary action
haunting puzzles to experience. When you’re not shooting the locks off animal cages, the rest of the time you’re just avoiding hazards, dispatching enemies,
collecting candy for points, and hearts and voodoo dolls
for health and lives, respectively, as well as solving the occasional puzzley bit. Nothing much. Move a block here,
open a passageway there. That kind of thing. Not exactly what I’d call haunting,
or even particularly puzzling, but they most certainly are things that exist. Something else that existing is the platforming, and holy crap! I’m sad to say this is one of those platformers that I find that the physics don’t exactly
feel the most connected to me as a player. It’s floaty and a bit odd, and reminds me little bit of
Fire and Ice on the Amiga. And there’s some weird stuff like
bouncing into walls and obstacles. Like, I-I hate that.
What is he made of friggin’ rubber? It’s just an odd thing to include in a
platformer that requires a lot of precision. You get used to it, and once you do,
it’s more or less predictable. Certain parts of the level are just
far trickier than you might imagine, and it largely comes down to how
Johnny Dash runs, jumps and crawls. This, combined with the brutally
unforgiving enemies and levels, leaves me with a slightly bad taste in my mouth, because half the time I feel like
the game is just punishing me, instead of just me playing badly. And it’s this reason that I
find this to be my least-favorite of the Frank Madden-designed Apogee games, the others being Crystal Caves and Shadow Warrior. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad game. It’s just that I often feel more annoyed
than I do challenged in Monster Bash. That being said, it does have a lot going for it, from the pleasing EGA graphics
to the horror goodness, to the catchy soundtrack, to the mostly-enjoyable gameplay, to scary action haunting puzzles. It’s well worth trying out, with either the ten-level shareware game for free, or the full paid-for three episode registered version, still sold by 3D Realms on their website. Monster Bash may not have
been a game I grew up with, but it’s certainly one that I’m happy to own, and not just because finding a
legit copy is very troublesome. It’s a fun little horror platformer
at any time of the year, and while I may suck at it, it’s still one that I’d recommend
giving at least one shot. At least one SLING-shot, perhaps. Heh heh heh, ugh, ewww… [staccato MIDI piano] Would you like more awful puns? And videos. On games. That are from the computers? Why not click on some of these videos to see more of such things. Or just hit Subscribe. Because I do these every week. And there’s a lot more coming. And as always, thanks for watching.

100 comments

  • spidermastermind100

    The worst levels are swamp levels, if you miss a moving platform or you jumped to early you die so many times and game over.

    Reply
  • JakeTheGiant

    I will have nightmares from the faces made in the intro.

    Reply
  • True Review

    You want to wash wang?

    Reply
  • mt-32

    Have you LGR heard of a dos game called xquest? It was my favorite game as well as monster bash when I was little and I bought it as a floppy disk from a store. It was the time when you had to buy American and European shareware games from physical stores, at least here in Europe.

    Reply
  • mpeterac

    Great review as always—but I really think you should give Monster Bash another chance. There's some great stuff in the later levels, and gameplay will become less frustrating when you get the hang of the controls. 🙂

    Reply
  • anna4tory

    It's good to see your face, Clint! 🙂 You're looking very healthy!

    Reply
  • Madpotator

    Man, I loved the Shareware version of Monster Bash back in the day. I didn't exactly have that many games to play, so that might explain my affection for it, but I still think it holds a certain charm to it. Might buy the full version just to see what the rest of the game is like. Nice review, LGR!

    Reply
  • Warden of the North

    I loved this game as child. But i played only shareware. But this is very rare, can't really find it without paying me sick 🙂

    Reply
  • Reikis645

    Monster Bash and Commander Keen pretty much sums up my childhood, good times

    Reply
  • Steven Alpert

    That shirt. I want. It's awesome.

    Reply
  • MJ1284

    Just a guess, but methinks your PC either had no soundcard or Monster Bash wasn't compatible with your soundcard -> hence your PC had to use PC Speaker instead.

    And yes, that screeching noise got etched in to my head back when I was 8 or 9 😛

    Reply
  • EyesForYou21

    I spy a piece of my childhood on your shelf…Shivers <3

    Reply
  • Blind Ryan

    Crystal Caves was the best of the best in terms of older Apogee work. It had a slew of levels that were, by and large, pretty different. You should review the Apogee classic platforms like CC, Secret Agent, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, etc.

    I'm old.

    Reply
  • krux02

    Yay me too. As a kid I never saw the regular end of the shareware version so there was no need to update to a full version.

    Reply
  • Cephalopod51

    I grew up with the shareware version of MB, and it was only a couple of years ago that I finally got to play the full registered version of MB. The other two episodes are harder, which is why I did the extra lives cheats just to finish it. The difficulty spike is my only complaint, but otherwise this is a classic. The level design, colors, and especially the boss fights are my favorite aspects of the game. I think I may be the only one who likes Dash's awkward wall hitting effect.

    Reply
  • TopSet

    LGR I'm curious, why have you never done a review of Wing Commander? I'm sure you must have played it, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

    Reply
  • Bili5

    4:50 – What was in the chest???!!!!!

    Reply
  • Plague Doctor

    OMFG This was one of my favorite games when I was little!

    Reply
  • RetroEjit

    Just as you said "Ghosts n Goblins" I was just thinking it was reminding me of GnG 🙂 Great review of a really weird game man 🙂

    Reply
  • protopod

    I remember Monster Bash. I had all three of them.

    Reply
  • xXAkirawind0Xx

    I remember this game when I was younger I play this a lot back then

    Reply
  • G. Nie

    LOVED this game as a kid 😀

    Reply
  • Jamie W

    Monster Bash. So remember this game. Awesomeness.

    Reply
  • zon411

    one of my all time favs!

    Reply
  • BrutesMcGee

    oh man do you know how hard it is to find a game u remember playing but have no idea of the name or platform? almost fuckin impossible. But you sir, Clint have squashed a longtime headache for me by reviewing this game. thank u. all i remembered was the slingshot and backwards hat. now to find out what that damn game where u play as a little purple clad magician shooting magic in a megaman style game is called.

    Reply
  • doomworks5

    this game is alot diffrent from the nes version

    Reply
  • Rain Peach

    I love this game ! Yeah the blood at the beginning is a bit disturbing for what it's meant to be a older kids game. I played this game when I was 4 and odd enough, it was the Rock Golems that scared me the most :/

    Reply
  • TheForsakenEagle

    Backwards-hat and happy-go-lucky smiling boy pukes the 90's.

    Reply
  • KrossoverGod

    1:15 OMG that's the same laugh as the skeleton on Medievil's menu screen!

    Reply
  • ThreeHeadedFilms

    I could never exit the game when I had back in yester year. Had to restart my PC everytime 😛

    Reply
  • Kaiser Kevin

    Monster bash starring jonnytron

    Reply
  • George Bush Monkey Account

    I need some help guys, i used to play this monster game when i was around 5 or 6. there wasn't much to it, it must have been a pretty cheep game but id like to track it down if possible. i played this game in the early 2000s, you basically picked a type of monster, and a place to demolish, thats about all you did. the game was for the pc and had basic 3D graphics. it would be great if some one could shed some light on this lost game. 

    Reply
  • Scully

    Monster Bæsj

    Reply
  • Gelli Melli 2nd

    got here from jontron

    Reply
  • Jorendo

    Never got to play this one as kid. We did own other Apogee games. Hard to imagine these day's that these games where beautiful to watch at as child. Like with Commander Keen and such. When you look at it now its a pixel mess at time. But back then it seemed so clear.

    It probably is also the nostalgia talking, but games back then also felt more special. I just dreamed away when playing those games. Something i miss these days. Maybe also because graphics don't leave much to the imagination anymore today. Thanks for looking back at all those great old games.

    Reply
  • Fiilis1

    Never get through even the first level =)

    Reply
  • Zeno Zen

    Why does this remind me of Heart of Darkness so much?…

    Reply
  • FlamRoyalBaer

    I rememberr that game. But we didn't played it to much.

    Reply
  • mojo0risin

    I remember that game

    Reply
  • mojo0risin

    Great game

    Reply
  • Klaymonkey

    Halloween Harry freak'n rules; what other game has vending machines for the purchase of WMDs? Honestly – just outrageous. And holly shit – the witch in the opening title makes the same laugh as the skeleton in the opening menu of Medievil.

    Reply
  • Rymdkakor

    Why haven't you reviewed Hocus Pocus yet? Still the best DOS platformer next to Jazz Jackrabbit!

    Reply
  • Buffycomics

    It now released on GOG.

    Reply
  • Jay Nukem

    I know it's his teeth, but the character looks like he has a milk mustache.

    Reply
  • Timetraveler Ki

    Oh man, how could I forget about this game!

    Reply
  • RetroJaro

    Monster Bash is now on GOG!

    Reply
  • DrCatJailReviews

    Im a new dos gamer, what is a good cheap pc?

    Reply
  • Chida Gamer

    I used to be really good at this game when I was a kid.  I just started playing it again on DosBox, and holy crap, it's a lot harder than I remembered.

    It also turns out that most of the sound effects did not work on the version we had years ago.  I'm hearing sound effects now where I did not know there were sound effects–MIND BLOWN.

    Also, the saw mill sucks.  Screw that level.

    Reply
  • Niccolò M.

    If you work on it a bit, I believe you can speak like Duke (Nukem).

    Reply
  • ParappatheRapper

    This game looks tough. I think I'd have an easier time playing the pinball machine.

    Reply
  • Jacob Smith

    Wait… if the girl down the street is "Jungle Jill"…than the Jill of the Jungle series was just some girl bouncing around her backyard? Kind of a Commander Keen thing…

    Reply
  • Chazz1713

    Played this game when I was like 5. Never got very far in it lol but it was still fun!

    Reply
  • Dominick Catramados

    I've been looking for this game for years!

    Reply
  • Balc0ra's Gaming

    Amazing skillshot at 4:08 confirmed.

    Reply
  • shady4091

    Monster Bash – Don't get stuck in walls

    Reply
  • SilencedNo1

    I grew up with monster bash… I distinctly remember playing the game with sound only being produced by the PC speaker when my dad came home and told me that at work they just got new computers with so called sound cards. This magical hardware not only added music to all the games I knew and loved, no, it also was supposed to make the skulls in monster bash yodel when you shot them. I knew I had to have one.

    Reply
  • MirageUtopique

    This game was too hard. But like many Apogee games, music were excellent.

    Reply
  • ZombieCurry

    First time I faked being sick from school was to play this game.

    Reply
  • Jomaster The Second

    Scary Action Haunting Puzzles

    Reply
  • Pixelcitizen

    SCARY ACTION HAUNTING PUZZLES

    Reply
  • Im Caj

    I am so happy this guy is reviewing old DOS games from my childhood.

    Monster Bash was quite difficult at times but far from impossible. Apogee always had fantastic music in their games.

    Reply
  • Joey JoJo

    be careful with your rare game
    (puts it in the computer while it's stuffed in a hot pocket )

    Reply
  • Ryan Lorch

    Holy crap! Back in the day I thought ghouls and ghosts or whatever it's called was a clone of Monster Bash, reiterating just how out of touch I am with happenings until they're well and truly in the past

    Reply
  • Kelly-Robert Kinney

    I remember playing this game on a 386…then my keyboard broke; the left arrow key was busted, but not Numpad 4. Finding the spread keys on the numpad uncomfortable, I had two choices; go to the trouble of learning how to move with three arrow keys and the four sitting a little over thataways, or not play Monster Bash.

    Please. I even remember trying to write fanfic for this game. Of course I adapted.

    Reply
  • RogueAndroid

    This game was so awesome back then. Very challenging and fun game.

    Reply
  • Matthew Schultz

    i LOVED this game!

    Reply
  • Corey Ruth

    I remember playing the shareware version of this back in the day, and not getting very far. Glad it's not just me and the game was actually really hard – especially when you were a little kid.

    Reply
  • D4rkB3n

    This was my favourite Apogee game! Loved it!

    Reply
  • Roland Anderson

    For some reason my whole family STILL plays this game. So many hours wasted trying to get SoundBlaster to work correctly. Thank goodnes for emulators.

    Reply
  • Sunnylucy

    https://www.redbubble.com/people/sunnylucy/works/26715596-monster-bash-tribute?asc=u

    Made a tribute to Monster Bash so you can take your childhood game with you wherever you go!
    Please check it out and tell me what you think ^^

    Reply
  • Lars Norlander

    My childhood gaming life basically consisted of Apogee and Epic shareware games and Monster Bash was always my favorite. I would love to have a Monster Bash 2.

    Reply
  • Father & Son Gaming

    I played this one a lot as a kid. I wasn't very good at it though. Platformers and keyboards never mixed for me.

    Reply
  • Tavi 959

    I had a shareware disc that had some 25 games on it. Not sure where it came from or where it went, but this was one of the games on it. Alongside greats like Jazz Jackrabbit, Jill of the Jungle, Doom, Duke Nukem 1 & 2 and Keen 4, there were also games like this, Hocus Pocus, Jumpman and Pitfall. There were even a few obscure titles like Hugo 2: Whodunnit, Bio-Menace and Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold.

    I loved each and every one of them, even if I never did beat even one of them.

    Reply
  • SeaOfTides

    Meh, the arcade version was better.

    Reply
  • TheLonelyLion - Let's Play!

    Kinda cute~ <3 But poor little flying weird puppies being shot in the face with a slingshot ;(

    Reply
  • Tiax Anderson

    28 levels!? Or 10 levels shareware?! I don't think I ever got past level 2. Never found the last pet and couldn't exit. Doomed to wander around as each obstacle took it's toll until my inevitable demise.

    Reply
  • ItsASquid

    I think so Brain, but we'd need a giant fighting robot and a sustainable source of power.

    Reply
  • Noel Goetowski

    Scary Action Haunting! Puzzles!

    Reply
  • Dexter Vance

    Hmm looks a little like dangerous Dave 2

    Reply
  • Rowan Tritton

    Great that we can relive it through GoG 🙂

    Reply
  • Sean Porcelli

    We had this and hocus pocus.

    Reply
  • Kuribo Kutsu

    Interesting enough, is GOG getting some ideas from this video series? many of games covered here later got GOG release. Like "hey, LGR made nice review about X, lets look if we can track down its owner and get it in store".

    Reply
  • K Phan

    Played the heck out of this shareware

    Reply
  • Indy Borgnine

    Good lord, my Grandma has this game on her steam account! She says back in the day Grandpa bought her a shirt for beating this game!!

    Reply
  • The Last Knee Bender

    1:16 a stock laugh? Only other game I've heard this in is MedEvil

    Reply
  • Hobo Sullivan

    The Johnny Dash sprite looks like a badly sunburned Jake Busey.

    Reply
  • nicolhaidi

    1:16

    Reply
  • Flaming Croatan

    Nice . Jontron anyone ?

    Reply
  • Andrew Brown

    I remember going to the staples where they had boxes of these games for sales in 95 where I purchased with my Birthday money Monster Bash and a bunch of others such as Jazz the Jack Rabbit. Halloween Harry was another game we had but my brother wouldn't tell me how to launch the game so I never experienced the awesome jet pack game.

    Reply
  • nem tudom

    I dont know. As a child i really enjoyed it. Obviously Commander keen is better, but this is a really nice game too.

    Reply
  • PhrontDoor

    I was just playing this about 40 minutes ago. it is fun. Love the cuteness, but there are annoying aspects.

    Reply
  • Peter von Feldt

    If this gets ported to the switch, my retro life will be complete.

    Reply
  • Abe

    I mistook Johnny Dash for Johnny Test…There are way too many Johnnies out there.

    Reply
  • only257

    Played this computer game when I was 12 in 1996 on a wayzata cd-rom disc😊

    Reply
  • Bobby Siecker

    This was my childhood. Even though I didn't understand any of the English in the game and only had the shareware version.

    Reply
  • SlurpySam

    0:14
    I’ve never wanted to be a boxed copy of Commander Keen so badly until now.

    Reply
  • dubbertrouble

    The videos shown in the end card are not clickable, I would like to watch them but I always have to find them manually. This happens with all the LGR videos I watched so far. It's just me?

    Reply
  • Gera2Channel

    I love this game

    Reply
  • Chris Valliere

    I don't know if anyone will ever see this comment, but I discovered the intro to the show Mission Hill has the Grubermeister doing the same cackle as the witch and given the amount of meta humor in that show, it was likely an homage to this game. see for yourself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6f3SmfZSII

    Reply
  • Greg Phillips

    This was the earliest memory I have of any video game. Combined with Hocus Pocus, Jill of the Jungle and of course Duke Nukem. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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