With last week’s news about Darkstalkers 2+3 getting re-released next year, I think it’s time we take a look at a couple of freeware monster mashes that can help fill the gap until we get to once again pit a yeti against a succubus. These two games celebrate a first for this article series: these are the first MUGEN fighting games covered on Freeware Friday. The MUGEN engine is of course the extremely popular freeware fighting engine that lets gamers pit together everyone from Popeye to Tom Hanks in a no-holds brawl. Now, break out your gamepads and get ready to blister those thumbs as we take a look at The Monster Mash and The Black Heart.
The Monster Mash is probably the weaker of the two games we are going to discuss, but it still has quite the charm. The game pits together a host of monsters, including Dracula, a werewolf, a mad scientist (who transforms into a bug monster at the start of each fight), Frankenstein’s monster, a phantom warrior, a creature from a non-black lagoon, the Headless Horseman, a Golem, a Mummy, and even a pack of zombies that has each of the face buttons tied to a member of the horde. There is no boss or story mode, so you just fight all the other monsters for the arcade mode.
The monsters themselves and their stages look great, as though they escaped from a forgotten 90s arcade or SNES game. There are some strange artistic choices, like putting gold jewelry on the werewolf, but the real problem with the models, especially the golem, is that there are very few frames of animation for some of the monsters, making them look rather amateurish when they are in motion. The music, while epic, can also be overbearing, so you might not want to wear headphones while playing.
However, the fighting itself is rather satisfying. The monsters have a number of unique moves and two of them (the zombie horde and the Headless Horseman) have completely unique fighting styles. For instance, The Headless Horseman can bring his horse into battle. If you’re into adding characters to your MUGEN roster, the game does come with the necessary files for importing the fighters into MUGEN. All characters have supers and fatalities, though you’ll have to figure them out on your own since the game doesn’t come with a manual. There are also a host of modes to battle it out in, with Arcade, Survival, and vs. being available for both single player and teams of up to two.
Overall, this is a fairly simplistic game that probably will only give you about an hour of enjoyment but it is a commendable effort and has a lot of heart, as well as some unique fighting styles. The game is still worth playing, though admittedly not as fun as the next game on our docket.
Download… is unfortunately unavailable due to claims of copyright infringement (Name mix up?). If it becomes available in the future, this will be updated.