Opinion: Bottom 25 Games – 13) Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (NES)

13) Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (NES, THQ/Imagineering, Inc., 1992)

If I had to pick a game that gave The Uncanny X-Men a run for its money for the “absolute dumpster fire” award on this list, THQ’s terrible platformer Home Alone 2 is closest to taking that crown away from the X-Men. The primary reason it didn’t is because Kevin actually has enough response to your controls that you feel like you have some element of power over the mess of level design and mechanics thrown your way. A little. Not much.

First off, the game starts you off in a place where the bellhop can instantly kill you if you stand still for a moment. Moving past that throws you into a nonsensical world where sentient suitcases, vacuums and mops serve as enemies, as well as other hotel employees and guests. I realize that Kevin was over his childish head in the movie, but this is ridiculous. And making progress is almost a herculean leap of logic at times, requiring far more intricate knowledge of unknown procedures and batshit guesswork to solve without a FAQ on hand. Atrociously rendered portraits of the cast serve as cutscenes, and earsplitting music and sound effects back the action. It doesn’t look too bad, but the spritework outside of Kevin animates choppily and the backdrops repeat themselves a lot. In short, it’s the epitome of poor movie tie-in that permeated the mid to late NES era.

Home Alone 2 is a casebook example of shoehorning a license where it doesn’t belong for video game marketing money. While its quality is certainly debatable (I like it more than most I imagine), the original NES Home Alone manages to at least somewhat capture the essence of the film it was based on. Here, this insipid sequel is the kitchen sink of shit ideas thrown at the designing wall where nothing good stuck but a game was made anyway.