Bogey Manor is a strange game. Developed by Technōs and given what I can only deduce was a very limited US release by a company called Coindate in 1985, I had never even heard of this game until looking over the section on the history of Technos over at Arc System Works Japanese website. And, aside from the limited release, it’s understandable that I’d never heard of this game, as it’s not all that good.
It is, however, an interesting curio. At least to me, seeing as I am a huge Technōs fan and into horror-themed games. But this is early Technōs. Way early. Before Renegade, before Double Dragon. Hell, even before Mat Mania, we got Bogey Manor. So, Technōs hadn’t really developed a style yet. They hadn’t hit a stride or invented the belt-scrolling beat-‘em-up. They were just another Japanese arcade developer.
Bogey Manor is odd both for its themes and its gameplay style. Thematically, the game combines a very Japanese Super Sentai-style hero with an overtly American setting of a haunted mansion populated with ghosts, witches and Frankenstein monsters. Sure, the Japanese have their own haunted house stories, but Japanese ghosts aren’t drawn like floating sheets.
The game seems made to appeal to both audiences. The title seems intended to be “Boogey Manor” (as in where the Boogey Man presumably lives), but comes out as describing the place where Humphrey Bogart lived. At any rate, each house (or manor, I guess) is made up of four floors and four rooms. The only floor that’s lit at the beginning of each stage is the one our intrepid Super Sentai ghost hunter, Fritz, is on.
The goal is to traverse the houses and break all of the crystal balls in them. These crystal balls are apparently the source of the apparitions’ power. After breaking certain ones, the lights in the entire house will come on, making it easier to know which screens still have crystal balls left.
Some crystal balls will activate certain rooms, which, upon entry, will allow Fritz to go Super Sentai. It’s only in this form that Fritz can easily dispatch the ghosts and monsters inhabiting the house. Usually he has to use the old “Biff, you’re forgetting one thing… what the hell is that?!” and then hit them from behind.
I’m not joking. The game has two buttons, and in normal form, one of them has Fritz point in a random direction, which makes the ghost or monster look in that direction, thereby becoming vulnerable. It’s an interesting mechanic, honestly.
Beyond, that, each stage has some new enemies and some new hazards, but it’s largely rinse and repeat. As a middling puzzle action game, it’s pretty forgettable, and the only way to play it now would be on MAME. But if the weird mashup of Super Sentai and a haunted house appeals to you, check it out.
- Released: 1985
- System: Arcade
- Developer: Technōs
- Publisher: Coindate