GBAtemp Recommends #74: Sweet Home aka Suīto Hōmu

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by Hadrian, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. Hadrian

    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

    Former Staff
    Oct 12, 2004

    Welcome to the 74th issue of the GBAtemp Recommends Revival Project! This is a weekly feature where I share my favourite used to be we but you know, I guess you folk are shy. Some may be well known, others I feel have been ignored but all are fantastic and deserve at least a play.​
    Sweet Home aka Suīto Hōmu
    Sweet Home was a Japanese survival horror RPG by Capcom and is seen by many people as a precursor to the Japanese survival horror genre, in fact Resident Evil/Biohazard was originally a remake of this Famicom game and while development shifted to a totally different story (still set in a mansion though) it still kept some of Sweet Home's ideas such as puzzles, item inventory management, multiple endings, scattered clues in notes and most notably that door animation when going into other rooms to name but a few of many ideas this game from 1989 brought to the genre that is still being used today.​
    The game was originally based on a Japanese movie of the same name, the movie poster for that is even used for the boxart. The movie is actually pretty good but nothing special but the game is so much better, here we have a rare case of the game being better known than the movie. The game was even supervised by Kiyoshi Kurosawa who directed the movie.​
    The story goes like this. A painter of frescos (these are like murals on freshly laid lime plaster) has kept several of his frescos in this mansion, thirty years later a film crew and treasure hunters come to the mansion to find these and to preserve them...obviously scary shit goes down but I won't spoil it for you. The story is pretty damn fantastic and well paced too, the developers pulled no punches with what they wanted to do and say. There isn't much in the way of dialogue or character development and to me this is good because this just gets down to the nitty gritty of the core story. There's no padding, there is no crap it gets to the point! There are some very dark twists and turns, which for me is far darker and horrific than in today's games. There was moments were I said out loud "wait...did that just happen on a NES game?". I could show some footage but for me it wouldn't do it justice, you need to play this for it to have an effect as it's really the story and how it unravels itself to why this is a creepy game. I've not really had this with many NES titles, I mostly get bored and leave, Sweet Home I played until the end. It really is the console finest piece of story telling, I'm not shitting you.​
    You start with a party of five people. A producer of the documentary, a cameraman, a medic, an art restorer and the producers daughter. All have their strengths and weaknesses like with most RPG's but more importantly they have their own special items, though you can obtain similar items that do near about the same things albeit not as well. However unlike most RPG's, when one dies...they stay dead! There's no magic spell or potion to bring these back to life, when they are dead, THEY ARE DEAD! This adds to the atmosphere of the game, you'll want to save often (you can save whenever outside of battle) and you'll want to always make sure you use your tonics wisely. You can't travel with all of the people though, you can have a team of three and a team of two, essentially it's like spitting up. However when one team gets into a battle, they can call on the other and then you can take that team to where they are and join them...this is also handy from moving one to another that is far away as while you travel during battle there are no random battles. Also having two teams means that not only are you having to manage your items and who has what and what to leave behind, but also which team do you use to explore with, it all adds up to a rich and deep experience.​
    This is at it's core a RPG but for me it's one of the very few NES RPG titles that have really nailed the gameplay down, in fact I'll even go to say it's the best. Final Fantasy games didn't really get to be great until the SNES era anyway and Dragon Quest has dated somewhat and has way too much filler gameplay on the me these games get way too dull with the grinding and backtracking for me to even want to finish the titles nowadays. I mean I played these back then, finished them because...well I was a kid, I had the time! In Sweet Home there are no boring towns, where you need to speak to someone JUST to progress, you don't need to go to one place to save you can save whenever and also there are no shops, what you need can be found and it takes away the tedium that most RPG's gave. It also again adds to the way you play, rather than grinding your way to earn cash and then buy a shit ton of find what you need and you ration, it really adds to the tension.​
    There are random battles, but these are streamlined. You can just simply attack, you can use a tool (some are more effective against certain types), you can use "Pray" which helps protect you from being stunned, poisoned etc as well as increase your attacks and you can also call for help from others not in your team. This helps with the grinding seem less...well grinding. As I mentioned you can get poisoned or stunned It may all sound like it's a bit "my first RPG" but it really isn't, the battles can be intense if you run out of "Pray", suddenly being poisoned could mean "lol dude that guy is gonna die" and there you go, one less member of the time. They just cut out some crap to make the story more intense. Because of all this Sweet Home though as aged well and while I never played it as a kid, the fact I can play it as an adult and want to play it again without any nostalgia trappings speaks volumes. It never gets boring because they took all the boring stuff away.​
    As well as dangers in battles, there are dangers just walking around. Lost souls will take a member away and dump them all on their own elsewhere, objects will launch at you and you have to decide whether to go left, right or just duck and as well as that there are sudden fire and water traps and pits that you would need to avoid.​
    Graphically it does it best with the Famicom/NES, it's all as rich and detailed as possible without a mass of glitches but it's the overall style and tone of the dark, gruesome horror imagery that is just simply fantastic. It's all as well detailed as it could be, blood and guts drip off cadavers and it all really sets a wonderful scene for a game just like this. The design of the areas are very well done, I never once got lost in a maze as each area is unique enough to navigate about. Sound effects are kinda basic, they do the job but the music is great though and really sets the mood. They may not be something you seek out to listen to but in game it's just right.​
    This game was never released outside of Japan, some say that this could be because of the graphic imagery that the game uses and they could be right, there would be no way that Nintendo of America would have allowed this without some major cuts. Had this been released uncut in the West it would have been the goriest and most disturbing NES title. Even if it was released today it would have gotten a mature rating simply from the content of the actual story...though to be honest, not much is more extreme than in most horror novels...why aren't horror novels rated and yet movies and games are? I can imagine far worse in my mind...whatever.​
    Luckily some lovely fans translated the game into English for us gamers to enjoy and it's so much better than you would imagine that it would be! It's not like Mother 1 where you get an somewhat decent game, you get something that has aged very nicely and was so well developed. All in all it's a must have for horror game fans, even someone like me who isn't into random battle turn based RPGs can enjoy what this game has to offer. This is truly one of the finest games never to get a release outside of Japan.​
    Genre: Survival Horror RPG​
    Released: 1989​
    Developer: Capcom​
    Designers: Hatchan, Tomo, Kiyoshi Kurosawa​
    Published by: Capcom​
    Released For: Famicom​
    If you enjoyed this week's edition of GBAtemp Recommends! please leave a comment in the thread. This helps us monitor feedback and ensures we keep posting these articles in the future.
    If you would also like to write a GBAtemp Recommends! article, let me know.​
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    This has long sat in my "I really should place this" list, given it kind of still holds up and I find the whole ao oni concept quite amusing I might have to set up for it over the weekend.
  3. UltraHurricane

    UltraHurricane GBAtemp Regular

    Feb 18, 2013
    United States
    Man, I remember playing this when I was first getting into emulators and fan translations, call me crazy but I feel like the 8-bit aesthetics make things a bit creepier than a lot of modern horror games; it's like watching old silent movies like Nosferatu, where the atmosphere and the age of the film makes things creepier then they would be.
    Hikaru likes this.
  4. TheJeweler

    TheJeweler Connoisseur of the Fistic Arts

    Feb 13, 2013
    United States
    I loved this game, best JRPG I have ever played.
  5. XDel

    XDel Author of the Alien Breed Odamex Projekt.

    Jul 25, 2012
    United States
    Better and more serious story line than Res Evil in my opinion.
  6. AngryGeek416

    AngryGeek416 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Nov 17, 2012
    This game is amazing...I just bought a repro cart and this game is probably the best game on the NES for me.
  7. Nemesis90

    Nemesis90 GBAtemp Fan

    Nov 12, 2011
    United States
    Definitely a cult classic right here, one of the first of it's kind along with Friday The 13th.

    Well not exactly, parts of the game's tone are more serious than others. I think the real problem that stemmed from Resident Evil (speaking mainly from the classic games) was Capcom's messy localizations/translations for the series. It becomes real apparent when you read the script changes from the first game. Aside from that, i can only wonder what RE could've been if Tokuro Fujiwara stuck with Capcom, especially considering he worked on Sweet Home. He was such a big part of Capcom's history, but he ended up quitting right as Resident Evil 2's development began.

    Oh and if you want to read more about him and his interaction with these games (relevant to Sweet Home as well) you can read a nice sized translated interview here.
  8. raulpica

    raulpica With your drill, thrust to the sky!

    Oct 23, 2007
    PowerLevel: 9001
    Going to play it on my Smartphone soon, it really intrigues me. Thanks Haddy :wub:
  9. ccdeal30
    This message by ccdeal30 has been removed from public view by Depravo, Mar 20, 2013.
    Mar 20, 2013
  10. Walker D

    Walker D I have a hat

    Nov 15, 2009
    My home
    Looks interesting ...I'll try this today :)

    And if someone is in the mood, the movie is fully uploaded to youtube

    Warning: Spoilers inside!
    people usually comment in the videos like they were commenting about the game , what is funny :P
  11. Elrinth

    Elrinth :Master beyond your imagination:

    Nov 6, 2002
    Thank you very much for posting this. Long have I been looking for a complete Sweet Home on ebay. It's been there a couple of times, sadly I've had too little cash at those times ;)
  12. Psionic Roshambo

    Psionic Roshambo GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

    Aug 12, 2011
    United States
    I think that is your imagination.... lol what I mean is sometimes things are more scary if they are left to your own imagination. Older games had to leave some work for the players mind to do and fear is 100% inside of our own mind so when you combine the two its far more scary.

    Dark places are scarier than well lit places even if it is the same place, the only difference is what we imagine.

    Now if only I could convince my wife of all of this.... I must admit I do get a perverse thrill out of watching her play some scary game and getting the piss scared out of her. The last one I managed to con her into playing was Zombie U and thank god I have cat like reflexes... lol I snatched the controller out of mid flight. (She tends to throw things when she is scared.)
  13. Aeter

    Aeter A walking contradiction

    Apr 1, 2009
    The lands of nether
    Am I the only one thinking 'suito home' sounds like a Japanese game show host trying to pronounce 'sweet home'?
    And then some crazy contestants start running around and jumping through hoops and shit.
  14. buyme200
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    Mar 23, 2013
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    Mar 25, 2013
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  18. Another World

    Another World Emulate the Planet!

    Former Staff
    Jan 3, 2008
    From Where???
  19. Rydian

    Rydian Resident Furvert™

    Feb 4, 2010
    United States
    Cave Entrance, Watching Cyan Write Letters
    And it's been TASed.