A playthrough of Titus's 1994 isometric 3D adventure/puzzle game for the Nintendo Game Boy, Monster Max.
The video shows every one of the 29 stages played through - while I had more than enough credits to skip several stages, I wanted to make the video as complete as possible. So much work went into this one!
Monster Max is a pretty amazing isometric pseudo-3D adventure game, and is one of only two to appear on the original Game Boy (the other being Altered Space, the second game of the Software Creations series that was bookended by Solstice on the NES and Equinox on the SNES). Monster Max's designers had previously done Head over Heels, released on several PCs in the 80s, and this game is very much so a spiritual successor to it.
Don't run when you see the Titus fox logo on the intro screens - this is FAR better than most of the stuff they put out. And it was developed by Rare, and it's one of Rare's strongest GB titles. That soundtrack, alone - damn, David Wise, I hope you're a millionaire for the quality and sheer volume of your work in 80s and 90s games!
Monster Max is much lighter-hearted in its tone compared to other games in the genre. Rather than going with sci-fi or fantasy, as it seems the great majority did, this one focuses on a heavy-metal rocker (Max, of course) taking on Krond, who plans to impose a worldwide ban on all music. So, you know, OMG, time to save the day. He has to clear each floor of the Mega Hero Academy to earn enough credits to ride the lift to the next floor, ultimately meeting Krond on the tenth story. I love how Max looks like a combination of a member of Gwar and a dinosaur. It's almost cute in how weird it is. The levels take on all sorts of themes, spanning children's play rooms, pirate ships, forests, high-tech labs, among others. The game is huge - it apparently contains over 600 rooms, dwarfing the likes of Altered Space, Air Ball, Solstice, or any other similar game. How did they ever cram it all into 256k?!
The graphics are UNBELIEVABLE for a Game Boy game. The level of detail is crazy, but a heads up: if you've played the game on an emulator or a Super Game Boy, you know it can be very hard to make out details. At such a low resolution, much of it blurs into a mess that can make distinguishing many details virtually impossible. It is far easier to see on the original Game Boy LCD screen. The "dot-matrix" display really helps the eyes to resolve the details in the image - you'll see what I mean if you look at any other video on USvid using a standard emulator image versus this one, since I'm using a Retroarch LCD shader to mimic the handheld's original look. If you aren't playing on real hardware, I'd certainly recommend using Retroarch with the DMG shader. It's better looking and much easier to play, especially in lining up jumps and pushing things into very specific locations. No matter how you play, it can be difficult to see everything, but no matter - it's more than good enough that you'll relent, and the effort will be certainly be worth your while.
Unfortunately, the Americans never got the opportunity to play it - it ended up being released only in the UK. Luckily, I lived in England at the time, and I really wanted this game when it was first released, but I couldn't find it ANYWHERE! I'd salivated over the reviews in Super Play and other magazines, but the stores didn't even know what it was! According to the Wikipedia article, Titus apparently botched the released pretty badly - while its release date officially is December 1994, Titus screwed up production and distribution, and it didn't appear in shops until a full year later in December 1995. At that point, all of the hype and fanfare generated by the gaming media had died down and everybody had completely forgotten about it. The sales were abysmal despite stellar reviews, and the game still hasn't really received the recognition that it truly deserves.
If you like puzzle or adventure games, play this incredible game. Such a quality production deserves a whole lot larger of a place in gaming history than Monster Max ever got the benefit of. I'd play it over Solstice any day!
No cheats were used during the recording of this video.
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Feb 9, 2017