It’s time to look back at another gaming classic from my childhood, and with Halloween spooking its way closer and closer, I’m choosing Haunting Starring Polterguy on the Sega Genesis.
You star as Polterguy, a punk teenager who is accidentally killed by his defective skateboard. Now rather than cursing his luck, or blaming the government for not providing adequate health warnings on the skateboard, Polterguy decides to take his afterlife revenge on Vito Sardini, the owner of the skateboard company and his family.
This revenge comes in the form of scaring them out of all four of their homes. This can be done in all the ways you’d expect a poltergeist to do it, by possessing items and making the Sardini’s fear for their very lives.
Haunting Starring Polterguy is a scare fest that takes place on an isometric view of the house. You as an ethereal poltergeist are free to float around the house, completely unseen by the Sardini family (Mum, Dad and their two children) but are able to jump into nearly every object lying around the house in order to make it move or transform into something hideous.
There is a fantastically dark sense of humour around some of the objects and ther ‘Fright ‘ems’ as they’re called. For example, jumping into a toilet will have a poo monster jump out and start throwing poo around the place. Jumping into a dishwasher can make it growl and snap like a monster. Blood can flow out of sinks, and oil patches can make oil monsters grab for their ankles
Each of the family members has a fear level and when it gets too high they run away. So, all you need to do is scare every family member out of the house and you win.
However, it’s not all easy-going and plain-scaring. Polterguy has an amount of ectoplasm that you need to keep scaring. It gradually ticks away though. Using fright ‘ems uses ectoplasm but successfully scaring family members drops ecto that you can pick up to replenish. Eventually though, you’ll run out and that’s when you’ll find yourself in the Underworld, a place dripping with ectoplasm to collect but also undead monsters that can actually kill you (again). Collect the ecto without dying and you’ll find yourself back in the house.
Oh, and there’s also the family dog a Chihuahua, a dog that not only can see you but also actively calms down any family members in the same room. Bad dog!
Graphics & Sound
This is still a beautiful game. Everything is bold, bright and the graphical style carries the game along with a dark childish comedy to it. Wonderful.
Controls are easy. Move Polterguy around the house with the d-pad, and jump into objects with any of the buttons.
The game starts off a little too easy, with you having no trouble scaring the Sardini family out of the house but it’s not long before your ecto runs out too quickly, that damn dog won’t stay away and the monsters in the Underworld are just trickier to avoid.
I can still go back and play Haunting Starring Polterguy today. There are so many ways to complete a level and the unique and often hilarious methods you use to scare the family are always a joy to behold. What more do you need.