Hook is a strange beast to me. As a kid I loved the film, through it’s telling of a common question.. “What would Peter be like if he grew up?” and though the film shows initial glimpses of this at the start, slowly but surely it falls in the Robin Williams showstopper that the guys was always famed for. Coming out around the era of Aladdin, and repeats of Mork and Mindy and Happy Days, Robin had found love from a new generation of kids. Not quiet old enough to enjoy his stand-up material, but old enough to enjoy his vibrant jokes, personality, and speed of impressions. What made this all the more interesting for me is finding out at the time, that mum’s best friend was actually a relation of Barrie. Adding a closer touch to the work as a whole.
Having played this on the Gameboy during it’s initial release (and years later the similar NES version) I was keen to see the differences between that and the SNES counterpart. I wasn’t disappointed, as Hook is a fantastic looking game reminding me a little of the super star wars games, with very detailed backgrounds and enemies. It’s easy to forget most games of 91-92 didn’t look anything like this at the time, which is a testament to the coders and artists behind this getting to grips with the system so early on.
The soundtrack is also of great quality, following the flow of the style of songs from the film, but placing a digital 16bit feel to them, again, top marks to the devs for this one.
The premise of the game remains the same as the film. Hook has your kids, and it’s up to you to rescue them, first by finding the lost boys, then defeating Rufeo before finally using each lost boys skill to get to Captain Hook for the final sword fight on the Jolly Roger.
As a platforming game the control follow a similar style to all others, except for one key item. ‘Run’ is performed by pushing and holding the action button. While this is clear in the instruction manual, I suspect many just ran the game through emulation, wondered why peter pan walked so slowly throughout the entire level, and gave up before the game even began. And while the game has many levels to run through, it has a maze like charm running through each level slowly letting the world and it’s characters envelop you until, you really do feel ready to take on the legendary pirate.
Extra lives are plentiful with the game, and you’ll never really get to a point where you don’t know what you’re going to do next, and thats a good thing. For once it’s nice to find a relaxing platformer that enjoys its narrative without overstaying it’s welcome. Perhaps if the film had been more successful, and the game recieved a bit more time in development, we could have seen film screen shots interplayed with narrative throughout the game, but alas this was just a pipe dream.
Overall like the lost boys, this is a forgotten platformer with charm, that requires time to enjoy than rushing through to completion. A memory of the era that we nowadays are so desperately trying to remake. Not the best on the system, but by no means the worst.