Haunting: Starring Polterguy (Genesis) - Ramblin' Review

Haunting: Starring Polterguy is a unique puzzle game released by Electronic Arts for the Sega Genesis. It puts you in the role of a green ghost whose mission it is to scare everyone in the house so badly, that they run away. The Sardini family owns four houses, and you need to scare them out of every one. Problem is, they can't see you. So, what are you to do?

Well, there are little nodes (fright 'ems) located throughout the house by which you can "jump into" different objects. These fright 'ems are represented by small twinkles of light on the screen, and you press "A" to jump into them, and then "A" again to activate (and exit) them. When a family member is close enough to the activated fright 'em, the object will turn on and do something scary.  This elevates their fear meter, and when it gets full enough, they will run from the room. You generally have to follow each family member(there are 4) to multiple rooms before they run completely out of the house.

You have an ectoplasm meter at the bottom of the screen that depletes as you play. When you successfully scare a family member, ectoplasm will sometimes drip from the ceiling, and it will help refill your meter. When the meter runs out, you are sent to a dungeon to collect ectoplasm as it drips from the ceiling. There are also red drops that fall from the ceiling that you can collect, and they represent spells. While  in the dungeon, you must avoid obstacles like arms that thrust out of the walls.
When you collect enough ectoplasm, you are greeted by an open door and return to the Sardini house where you left off.

Controls work well for the game, but moving Polterguy takes a little getting used to, as he floats around, which makes him feel like he's constantly slipping on ice. Thankfully, there's no need for precise controls, and very few obstacles that need to be dealt with. As mentioned before, the A button jumps into and activated the fright 'ems, B button does a spin kick (which I have never found a use for), and C brings up your magic menu. There are various spells that help you in different ways, from lying down a bowl of dog food to distract the one Sardini family member that can see you, to refilling your ectoplasm meter all the way.

Overall, the game has a very original concept, and it hasn't been imitated too often. The basic concept of the game seems to have been inspired by the plot of Beetlejuice, putting you in the role of the Maitlands attempting to scare off the Deetzes. I'd definitely recommend picking it up if you get the chance.

7.5/10

Come back tomorrow for another entry in the "play as a monster" series.

Day 16 - Urban Yeti < 31 Days of Halloween > Day 18 - Gargoyle's Quest

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