Monster House

Monster House

Monster House

Or, Alone in the Dark: kids.

There's something about spooky mansion games that tweaks our nostalgia glands. Maybe it's the enduring glow of Atic Atac and Eternal Darkness that does it, or too many survival-horror adventures down the years, but even lock-'em-ups like Grabbed by the Ghoulies, The Haunted Mansion and Luigi's Mansion get a warm welcome around these parts. It's odd, but being trapped in a room and forced to fight off a succession of spooks (or in this case, haunted furniture) has a peculiar appeal. Someone call a shrink.

As with most spooky mansion games, it's all about swatting away things that want to feast upon you. In Monster House's case, we're not talking about duelling with walking skeletons or blasting tormented ghouls, but pointing squirt-guns at vicious chairs, TVs, lamps and other assorted inanimate objects. Regardless of this slightly curious fact, THQ's latest movie tie-in is much like any third-person shooter with a bit of block-shifting puzzling and melee combat thrown in for good measure. As a result, it's mildly enjoyable in a limited, mindlessly repetitive kind of way that makes it suitable kids'-fodder.

The premise for this furniture-squirting fest is that three kids in the neighbourhood are curious to know why one particular house has such a bad reputation. Assuming it's because of some mean old man, it quickly becomes apparent that it's actually the house itself that's causing all the mayhem - and in true meddling kid-style, DJ, Chowder and Jenny wade in to find out once and for all what's really behind the mystery.

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