Game news Before Resident Evil, there was Sweet Home, the NES horror RPG game
A mansion lost in the middle of a forest, a team of five people come to unlock the secrets of the gloomy building, narrow corridors, deadly traps, monstrous creatures that haunt the place… does that remind you of anything? Long before the first Resident Evil and its Spencer residence, there was Sweet Home and its Mamiya residence. The two games made by Capcom have a common story that we are going to tell you. Snuggle up in a plaid by the fire, and above all, beware of what moves in the dark.
- Turn-based horror
- From Mamiya to Mikami
In January 1989, a horror film directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa and produced by Juzo Itami was released in Japanese cinemas. Her name ? sweet home. It tells the story of a television crew that enters the mansion of a deceased painter, Ichirō Mamiya. Before disappearing, the latter would have hidden precious paintings that the small group is determined to find. Unfortunately, the young filmmakers will come across particularly aggressive supernatural entities.
It was in December 1989 that the video game adaptation of Sweet Home by Capcom arrived. This is Tokurô Fujiwara, known for his work on Ghosts’n Goblins and Bionic Commandowho is in charge of the project. He decides to make a horror role-playing game drawing on the mechanics of the genre with a top view camera, random battles (which take place in first person view), turn-based, limited inventory and teammates with distinct abilities. Additionally, five endings are available depending on the number of survivors left when the adventure is concluded.
With its visually successful haunted mansion (for the time), its narrow corridors, its traps, its monsters, its multiple documents to read, its protagonists with specific abilities and its door openings being done in subjective view, Sweet Home is necessarily reminiscent of the future survival-horror of Capcom which will arrive in 1996 with Resident Evil. And it’s quite normal: the adventure of Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine was, at the base, planned to be a spiritual sequel to Sweet Home.
From Mamiya to Mikami
While the Sweet Home squad is on a mission to find Ichirō Mamiya’s paintings, another tortured artist is invited to the Devil’s building: Shinji Mikami. At the beginning of the 1990s, the young developer from Capcom was however very far from imagining that he would take care of one of the most outstanding horror series of this decade. Accustomed to video game adaptations of Disney films, such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Aladdin, or Goof Troop (Goofy), Mikami is noticed by Tokurô Fujiwara. The latter, impressed by the quality of the game designer’s productions, offers the young developer to develop a horrifying title for the PlayStation. He sells her the project as a “spiritual sequel” from Sweet Home. Shinji Mikami accepts, although he is not a fan of horror movies. What interests him is elsewhere: Fujiwara promises him that he can afford to be bold with this project, and that he doesn’t have to worry about future sales of the product.
This is how the fabulous story of resident Evil. Shinji Mikami draws various elements from Sweet Home (a group locked up in a gloomy building) while relieving others (the fantastic dimension, the ghosts). It keeps door openings in first-person view to hide loading times, while it removes the fact that the player is always accompanied by minions. Aiming for realism, it ditches the RPG aspect in favor of something more direct. First thought to be an FPS, Resident Evil embraces the pre-calculated 3D settings within which the protagonists evolve. A technique successfully used by Alone in the Dark a few years earlier. In total, about thirty artists work for more than two years to meet Mikami’s many requirements.
While Capcom thought to sell only 150,000, Resident Evil becomes the first PlayStation game to reach one million copies sold in Japan. A total success that will propel Mikami into the upper echelons of Capcom. Sweet Home, for its part, will not return to the cinema or to the video game world. May he rest in peace.
Before Resident Evil, there was Sweet Home, the NES horror RPG game