Fans of this period of video games knows that there are more than a few licensed titles to pick from. Some are quite good while others make the Nintendo Entertainment System version of Total Recall look like a masterpiece. Beetlejuice is one of those that ran the middle ground quite well as far as licensed movie games are concerned. While not perfect, this game does have some charm to it, at least the NES version is, somewhat, based on the movie. The MS-DOS and Nintendo Game Boy versions are both based on the animated cartoon that was produced after the success of the movie. We will be focusing on the NES version here, for anyone wondering.
If you are not familiar with the Beetlejuice movie- first, please correct that lack of cinema fun in your life and second, buckle up because it is a wild ride. In the movie, we see a young couple enjoying their vacation home in Connecticut. They have a wreck but don’t realize it was more than just a loss of their car. Upon returning home the couple realize, via clues, that they are now deceased. What ensues is quite a bit of wild fun for everyone.
In the NES game, only the first few levels are fashioned, loosely, on the movie. For example, the first level is the living room from the movie but reimagined as a huge vertical maze. Kind of like in the movie the “other side” stuff was whacky and out of kilter- same idea in the NES game.
The big difference between the movie and the game is, in the game you are controlling Beetlejuice himself. You are attempting to scare off the mortals that have invaded your home. To do that, Beetlejuice has to traverse a ton of otherworldly levels and combat some creatures that were in the movie, and many that weren’t.
A fun fact. Recently Collectorvision has acquired the rights to use the names Acclaim, LJN and Exidy. LJN was the publisher of Beetlejuice which was developed by Rare (the company once owned by Nintendo, now owned by Microsoft). Before you get your hopes up for a re-release of Beetlejuice remember, this was a licensed game using a third party engine. All LJN did was distribute the final product on the Nintendo Entertainment System.
If you want a copy of Beetlejuice then please head over to Ebay and see what is available before the inevitably price hike caused by collectors hits (there is a sequel movie in the works).