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Sweet Home

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Sweet Home (スウィートホーム, Suīto Hōmu) is a horror role-playing video game that was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (AKA "Famicom") in 1989. Sweet Home was developed and published by Capcom, and was not released outside of Japan. The game is related to the Japanese horror film of the same name. It is also notable for serving as the inspiration for a number of the original Resident Evil's defining attributes, as well being a precursor to the Survival Horror genre, which was not coined until seven years later.

Gameplay

Throughout the game, Sweet Home follows a team of five people who venture into the deserted mansion of the deceased Ichirō Mamiya to photograph and restore his frescoes. Upon entering the house, the door locks behind them and the group discovers that the mansion is haunted by Lady Mamiya, among other creatures. The player guides the five characters, each with his or her own strengths and weaknesses, around the mansion, trying to escape.

The game features randomly encountered battles which the controlled character or party of characters must fight or run away from. If a character dies in battle, he or she cannot be revived throughout the course of the game. The five characters have a specific skill that is necessary to complete the game, although items that serve the same purpose can be found if one of the characters dies. For example, should Akiko (the team's nurse) die, the team may find Pill Bottles which can be used to heal ailments. Depending on how the player ends the game, there are a total of five different endings the player may receive.

Overall, with the exception of the party members present, all of the endings pre-credits are the same, featuring someone arriving and being relieved that the party member(s) are safe, apparently being informed by Lady Mamiya of their presence (and apparently having been calmed by the battle) with the estate being restored to its serene beauty before beckoning them to follow him. They then watch a ghost go up to the heavens, and then mentioned it was just as Yamamura stated, and deduced he sacrificed himself to allow them to use their inner power to stop Mamiya, eventually speculating that he was Ichiro before being beckoned to escape. They then escape through various areas of the mansion before making it out just as the mansion collapses.

  • In the ending where all five party members survive, it then shows an unidentified individual nearby (presumably their boss) and the cast informing him that their documentary is complete and ask if he has any comments. The man then turns around and reveals half his face's flesh is missing and that he is a zombie (implying that their troubles may not necessarily have been over);
  • In the ending where four of the party members survive, it shows the mansion from far away with the lights on (despite it supposedly collapsing after they escaped), and one of the party members commenting on the lights emerging from the mansion, with all the dead people "returning home", before expressing regret that not all of their party survived that night;
  • In the ending where three of the party members survived, the narration mentions that while the survivors managed to start new lives, only three were able to escape, before showing two will-o-wisps (presumably the ghosts of the party members who were slain);
  • In the ending where two of the party members survived, the narration is largely the same as the three survivor ending above, only it instead says only two were able to escape alive, and it shows three will-o-wisps instead of two;
  • In the ending where only one party member survived, it is mentioned that the survivor erected a memorial for his or her fallen comrades, as well as Yamamura, Lady Mamiya and their child, in the hopes that the tragedy that happened will never repeat itself;

Characters

The characters have names in kanji and katakana. Within the video game the names are in hiragana.

Kazuo Hoshino (星野 和夫, Hoshino Kazuo, かずお Kazuo)
Kazuo is the team leader, and producer of the documentary. He wields the lighter, a very important item which can be used to burn down ropes and attack enemies. He has the highest HP. In the movie, his wife died prior to his exploration of the mansion. He is played by Yamashiro in the film.
Ryō Taguchi (田口 亮, Taguchi Ryō, たぐち Taguchi)
Taguchi is a camera man. He takes photographs of the frescoes with his camera, which can also decode hidden messages within the frescoes. The camera can also be used to inflict damage to some enemies. In addition to having the second highest HP, he has the highest defense.
Akiko Hayakawa (早川 秋子, Hayakawa Akiko, あきこ Akiko)
Akiko is love interest of Kazuo in the movie and can heal team members with her first aid kit. She is the weakest member of the team. She is played by Nobuko Miyamoto in the film.
Asuka (アスカ, あすか Asuka)
An art restorer in the movie. Using her vacuum cleaner, Asuka can clean dirty frescoes and remove broken glass. She is the second strongest female character.
Emi Hoshino (星野 エミ, Hoshino Emi, えみ Emi)
She is Kazuo's daughter. In the game, her character uses a key which can open locked doors in the mansion. She is the strongest female character, as well as the lightest of the team. She is played by Nokko in the film.
Lady Mamiya (間宮夫人, Mamiya Fujin, まみや ふじん)
The wife of Ichirō and the main antagonist of the game. After her child fell into the mansion's furnace and burned to death, Mamiya went insane, and kidnapped other children and threw them in the furnace so her child would have "playmates" in the next life before committing suicide. She came back as a ghost to haunt the mansion. She has two forms in the game.
Ichirō Mamiya (間宮 一郎, Mamiya Ichirō, まみや いちろう)
Mamiya's husband, as well as a famous artist/painter. He has left clues scattered around the house in addition to his diary.
Ken'ichi Yamamura (山村 健一, Yamamura Ken'ichi, やまむら Yamamura)
A mysterious old man who operates a gas station in the movie. He gives the team aid in the later parts of the game. In-game hints suggest that Yamamura and Ichirō are the same person. He is played by Yamazaki in the film.

Legacy

From the game: Taguchi and Akiko roaming the mansion (English fan translation)Though it was an RPG, Sweet Home served as the main inspiration for the seminal survival horror game Resident Evil, which was originally intended to be a remake of Sweet Home. The first Resident Evil borrowed many elements from Sweet Home, including the mansion setting, the puzzles, the item inventory management, the emphasis on survival, and even the "door" loading screen. Other influences include solving a variety of puzzles using items stored in a limited inventory, while battling or escaping from horrifying creatures, which could lead to permanent death for any of the characters, thus creating tension and an emphasis on survival. In addition, the Turning Around Zombie's actions in its debut scene were taken directly from the intro to the "man" enemy in Sweet Home.

It was also the first attempt at creating a "scary" and frightening atmosphere within a game, through its "gruesome" story, ambient and tense orchestration, gory presentation, and "creepy" cut scenes. The game's creators attempted at creating a scary and frightening storyline within a video game, mainly told through diary entries left behind fifty years before the events of the game. Resident Evil also borrowed various other elements from the game, including the use of scattered notes as storytelling mechanics, multiple endings depending on which characters survive, backtracking to previous locations in order to solve puzzles later on, the use of save rooms to store items when the player's inventory is full, the use of death animations, dual character paths, limited item management, individual character items such as a lockpick or lighter, story told through diary entries and frescos, emphasis on atmosphere, the use of a slide projector for exposition of the dark history of the setting, and brutal horrific imagery. The latter prevented its release in the Western world, though its influence would be felt through Resident Evil.

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