Written: 7.22.14 Acquired: 6.16.06 Status: Cart only Price: $6.20
Pub: Black Pearl Software
Dev: Black Pearl Software
A week from today marks 20 years since Jim Carrey's The Mask hit theatres. It's hard to believe it's been that long. So MANY people remember the movie, but how many people remember the video game?? Coming out toward the back end of the Super Nintendo's life span, it came and went with little to 0 fanfare. Is it a classic case of a game that has been wrongly overlooked, or is it an exhibit of a licensed effort that just isn't very good? Let's take a look and unmask the mystery [You're fired -Ed.] 20 years later, the film still holds up. But... did the game ever?
SOMEBODY STOP ME!
In 1994, Michael Jordan went to play baseball, Bill Clinton was accused of sexual harassment, and OJ Simpson killed his ex-wife and Ronald Goldman before taking off in a white Bronco down 91 Freeway [So not going there -Ed.].And nobody could stop Jim Carrey. It was in '94 that Carrey became a star with films as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dumb and Dumber, and THE MASK. He was Hollywood's NEW golden boy, and the world was his oyster. Carrey's 3 films grossed more than a total of 700 million worldwide. Most actors could only dream of half that success over an entire career, let alone one year! Of those films, The Mask is my favorite. Its wacky, over-the-top hero was perfectly portrayed and produced. And no one else could have brought the Mask character to life quite like Jim Carrey. My old gaming crew and I went to see the film in theatres on Saturday, July 30, 1994. I remember that fateful Saturday afternoon well. After all, when you're 10, there's nothing quite like seeing summer blockbusters with your best pals. It's a childhood necessity as sure as riding roller coasters and navigating haunted houses
When you were a kid, the words movie magic really meant something. There was a certain aura about going to the movies as a young child that can't be replicated. You got swept up in the whole process. Of hopping into the old family van, staring at the movie titles gleaming on the marquee, gawking at the larger-than-life movie posters as you sidle over to the popcorn and candy section. Finally, entering the theatre and seeing that humongous silver screen (remember how big it seemed when you were a kid?), and red plush seats that seemed to stretch on for miles and miles. It was all part of the magic of going to the movies. And now, I have a confession. I didn't go to the movies until I was almost 10 years old. I know, right? I guess my family was too busy being happy renting movies from the local mom and pops, while my brother and I were content spending our time watching cartoons, WWF and playing video games. So when I finally went to the movies for the first couple times as a 10 year old, I was absolutely marveled by the whole experience. It's something I never forgot. My first film? Super Mario Brothers. Yeah, I know. Still, it introduced me to the whole theatre experience that I still reminisce fondly about. Going to movies today just isn't the same as it was back then
The game, as you will see, is surprisingly very faithful to the film
In the original comics, the Mask was created by an African tribe... But in the movie, it was made by Loki, the Norse God of mischief
... was released nationwide on Friday, July 29, 1994
Jim Carrey plays mild-mannered bank clerk, Stanley Ipkiss
This marks the debut of the drop dead gorgeous Cameron Diaz
Every straight male's reaction the second Cameron came on
I had a huge crush on the Pink Ranger BUT THIS...
Now that's what you call a bombshell. I was instantly infatuated
Tina Carlyle, you are the hottest character to ever grace a movie!
Wild thing, you make my heart sing; you make everythin' groovy
Down on his luck, Stanley's about make a life-changing discovery
Some believe most people live behind masks. Tell it to this guy
It's no Jurassic Park... but I was impressed 20 years ago by its CGI
Atta boy, Stanley
This slightly disturbing scene made facehuggers green with envy
... and Stanley turns into the Haunted Mask. Wait, no, sorry, that was Carly Beth. But true story, when I first saw the previews for the Mask, I thought it was a rip-off of R.L. Stine's Haunted Mask. Little did I know then that the Mask started out as a comic book originally. If anything, Mr. Stine drew inspiration from the comic. Nevertheless, I LOVED me some Goosebumps back in the day, and I'm ecstatic to hear the movie will be hitting theatres next year starring Jack Black as R.L. Stine!
Goosebumps was sort of the Harry Potter of the '90s
As a kid, the Haunted Mask episode gave me the heebie jeebies
Nor did Stanley turn into this. Man, the '80s had the best cartoons
Make your way through seven different sections of EDGE CITY
LEVEL 1: STANLEY'S APARTMENT
The mallet is one of the Mask's many weapons in the film...
And it's been recreated perfectly here. Smash weak floors to open up new areas
Or use the mallet to crush the competition. It is equally satisfying
Ah, a sleeping denizen. How EVER shall I approach this. Hmm...
Does this look like the face of a man you could trust?
OK... soooo... that didn't work out too well. Hmm, let's try a different strategy...
This totally brings back memories of 'DON'T WAKE DADDY!'
Low health? Don't wanna engage in physical combat? Tip-toe!
The Mask has many special abilities. Examples: the ability to morph into a raging tornado, leap 20 feet in the air, or bust out his collection of firearms. The downside being that all of these special techniques will quickly drain your Morph points. You'd do well to save them only for sticky situations. When faced against the regular bad guys throughout the game's stages, you'll most likely be punching them to oblivion. It doesn't eat away at your M points, and it's serviceable enough on the lower tier enemies. I wouldn't dare suggest punching against the bosses though as they'll quickly tear you apart if you relied only on this form of attack. The enemies as you can see here look strange, and the animation is awkward But I do like the comic book 'POW' stylings, however
[Yes, Steve, we all do. We ALLLLLL do.... *looks at Steve* -Ed.]
Now to get around, besides breaking certain sections of the floor to create new playing space, you also move about through the usage of elevators and various teleport warps, like vents. The type of teleport depends on the stage's theme. In the forest, it's hollows!
I liked the warping aspect of the gameplay. It gave it a twist on the ole action formula, and this is definitely not your typical hop 'n bop licensed platformer, so I give it some credit for trying to at least be a little different. Teleports give it a decent maze-like feel
You have 500 points for your health and Morph magic. Collect hearts to regain vitality. Collect M's scattered throughout to boost back up your Morph points. Different special moves eat up a certain amount of points... guns cost you 100, f'rinstance. Once you hit 0, it slowly replenishes to 50, kind of like how in Earthworm Jim his ammo crawls back to 100 after hitting 0. Nice of them to throw us a bone...
With the bosses, you'll need all the health and M points possible!
The game exaggerates it even further, giving it a comic book feel
Cranky Shotgun Lady from the movie is the first boss. Of course!
Kids, do NOT try this at home
The Mask goes flyin' out window in the game just like in the film
They even manage to capture his alien-like free fall look well!
LEVEL 2: THE MEAN STREETS OF EDGE CITY
[UM... you might want to double check those lyrics, son... -Ed.]
What's in the bag there? Well, if you have ever seen AUDITION...
Look, it's Mask's Best Friend, Milo the Wonder Dog!
It definitely doesn't have the typical bright and bold SNES colors
LEVEL 3: THE MEAN STREETS IN ANOTHER PART OF TOWN
Truthfully, it looks a lot more like a Genesis game than SNES
LEVEL 4: PARK PLACE
It's nice to see our old friend, GODZILLA, make a special cameo!
JUST CONFIRMED: Rodan, Mothra and Ghidorah for Godzilla 2
Controversy reared its ugly head when Jim Carrey chose not to...
... promote his film Kick-Ass 2 because of the Sandy Hook event. He believed Kick-Ass 2 was TOO violent and refused to support it
The Mask > Colonel Stars and Stripes anyway. Give 'em the horn
Once again, film authenticity. Well done, Black Pearl. Well done
LEVEL 5: JAILHOUSE ROCK
[Oh it's NOT Doctor Phil? Well then, they're quite fortunate -Ed.]
Electric grids must first be turned off by hitting a switch. Some of the switches are readily visible next to a grid... while others require NO wasted movement as you have to hightail it... the switch is effective only for a short time. This requires precision and skill from you
Really, pal? Well... THAT'S WHAT THEY ALL SAY!
It will eat up your precious Morph points in a hurry, though
See the Tasmanian Devil pillow easter egg there? A tip o' the cap
Yeah I think we all know how this one ends for Bobby but Bobby
This boss specifically, with his long ranged attack, is a BITCH!
LEVEL 6: SUCKY SEWERS
It was so frustrating the game decided to go no boss on this level
Multiple warp points during the long free falls will drive you mad
LEVEL 7: CLUB COCO BONGO
Like the film, the last fight takes place at Edge City's Coco Bongo
Trying to squeeze yourself into the vent can be a maddening task
Indeed, warp points gave the game a bit of a fun maze-like feel
Thanks to the Mask, the party line was way overused back in '94!
"STANLEY! I knew you would come save me!"
"Yeah, alright, I know. Now quick, untie me!"
"I'm getting some funky ideas here, Tina..."
"WE CAN DO THAT LATER! But if Dorian --"
"SPEAK OF THE DEVIL!"
Technically, there's only 1 Mask, so the game took liberties here
Masked Dorian was a LEGITIMATELY scary bad guy in the film!
Game a little too hard for your liking? Wished you had infinite lives, health or morphing powers? Desire to skip stages? With this simple cheat, you can do all of that. SMOKIN'!
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
The video game flew under the radar. EGM gave it scores of 6.5, 6.5, 6.5 and 7.5. The movie, however, was very well received. In 1994, The Mask became the 2nd highest grossing superhero movie since BATMAN. Although it's been outdone since '94, The Mask remains a fan favorite among movie goers both young and old alike. Made on a budget of 23 million, it would go on to gross more than 350 million worldwide. Siskel and Ebert gave it two thumbs up and listed it on their "Best of 1994" ranking. That was a big year for Jim Carrey, as he starred in 3 films: Ace Ventura, Dumb and Dumber, and The Mask. But it was the latter that did the best both commercially and critically. The Masklaunched Jim Carrey into superstardom, sending him through the stratosphere as a major Hollywood player. Along the way he collected a lot of big bucks. The Mask also launched previously unknown Cameron Diaz into a leading lady of the silver screen. She went on to have a HUGE film career for the next 20 years. Not bad, eh? Not bad at all On his way to the top, Carrey collected fat stacks
"YOU LOVE ME! YOU REALLY LOVE ME!"
The Mask does a nice job of replicating the feel of the film. Some licensed titles take a lot of liberty, but that is not the case here. Thanks to this, the video game has a silly comic book like feel. It comes off as authentic, and you feel like you're really"being" the Mask character, with all of his unique reality bending abilities. This is a major plus. However, on the downside, you have the visuals, which for a game released in late '95, isn't even up to 1992 SNES standards. THE MASK looks great and animates well, but the enemies are fugly and animate with the grace of cardboard. I wish they spent more time on these characters as they clearly did with the Mask. The sound captures that cartoon-ish aspect of the Mask's world nicely. The music is not anything to write home about, though The movie: SMOKIN'! The Super Nintendo video game: SO-SO!
The game plays decently enough, with some levels being executed better than others. It's nice they tried something "different" other than the standard hop and bop that so many licensed games seemingly turn to. The Mask comes off as a weird hybrid of beat them up and action platforming genres. The boss battles are limited, though, due to the IMMENSE size of the characters in the game. It doesn't leave a lot of room for actual gameplay skills. It's truly then just a matter of standing back and firing off all your special attacks until your Morph points hit 0. Using his boxing gloves is tough since he's such a big target, plus the bosses have long ranged attacks. Thus, the boss battles are largely unsatisfying, and that's a shame because some of the levels themselves can provide for a mindless hour of mild entertainment, with various warp points and being able to live out the Mask's larger than life, over-the-top shenanigans. He's a fun and charismatic creature to control. You could do far worse than The Mask as far as games on the Super Nintendo go, but there'splenty better out there. All in all, this game is pretty much middle of the road. I wouldn't go out of my way to actively look for a copy but if I came across it at the flea market for 5 bucks or less, it's not a bad add to your SNES collection... especially if you liked the film 20 years ago
Graphics: 5 Sound: 6 Gameplay: 5.5 Longevity: 5
If you wish to follow along with the song, click here for the next part
I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend. You could cut ties with all the lies that you've been living in
And if you do not want to SEE ME AGAIN, I would understaaaaaaaand
The angry boy, a bit TOO insane. Icin' over a secret pain. You know you don't belong. You're the first to fight; you're way too loud. You're the flash of light on a burial shroud. I know something's wrong. Well everyone I know has got a reason... to say, PUT THE PAST AWAY. I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend... you could... cut ties with all the lies that you've been living in. And if you do not want to SEE ME AGAIN... [Wait just a damn second here. I saw this scenein a game before... -Ed.]
Nice role reversal. Hey where do ya think YES MAN got the idea?