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Video Game / Sweet Home (1989)

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Sweet Home (スウィートホーム) is a horror RPG published by Capcom on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1989. Based on the movie of the same name, this game receives credit as the first game of the Survival Horror genre, one of the inspiring forces behind the original Resident Evil—the game that coined the genre's name. Sweet Home also has Adventure Game and Immersive Sim elements.

The story of the game mirrors that of the film: A five-person film crew ventures into the long-abandoned mansion of famed artist Ichirō Mamiya, intent on filming a documentary while trying to restore his works. The group soon learns that the ghost of Lady Mamiya, Ichirō's wife, haunts the place—and she does not intend to let any intruders escape. The crew fights off monsters and dodges death traps as they search for a way to escape the mansion and exorcise the ghost of Lady Mamiya in the process.


Unlike many other RPGs of its era, Sweet Home has a Permadeath system; thanks to a limited amount of item-carrying slots, losing even one party member makes finishing the adventure exponentially harder. This forces the player to conserve usage of limited items (especially healing items), keep all the party members alive, and use all of the crew's special items in tandem to survive.

This game has never seen a release outside of Japan, though an excellent Fan Translation can be found on the Internet.

The Happy Video Game Nerd reviewed this game; you can watch his review on RetrowareTV.

No relation to the Thai VR horror game Home Sweet Home, or the horror webcomic Sweet Home (2017).


The video game version of Sweet Home includes the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: The level cap (made more difficult to figure out due to the fact that you can't see your own level) of 20 can be comfortably achieved a little over halfway into the game.
  • Accidental Murder: Lady Mamiya accidentally killed her baby by turning on the furnace when he was playing inside it.
  • Achilles' Heel: Many enemies will take more damage if attacked with specific weapons or objects. While some combinations have a logic (e.g., a camera flash on bats or ghosts, a mallet that shatters evil mirrors), others are pretty obscure (e.g., using a small lighter on hordes of bloodthirsty worms).
  • Adaptation Distillation: The film fleshes out the background for the actual characters, but the game does a better job of conveying a horror atmosphere (what with the constant tension of not letting your characters die and the emphasis on teamwork).
  • All There in the Manual: Asuka brings a vacuum cleaner to a haunted house. This may seem odd to people only familiar with the game, but the film shows that she is a professional art restorer and the vacuum is a precision item for cleaning neglected works of art (which makes it all the more strange that the player can use any old broom to do the same task).
    • The key that Emi has belongs to the house. The movie explains that the house has been abandoned and Kazuo's employer assigned him to do a report on the Mamiya estate and handed him the key.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: This happens to someone in the ending where Everybody Lives.
  • Anyone Can Die: Any of your party members can die. If they die, they are dead for good.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The frescoes count. There are also the notes left behind by a previous group that never made it out of the mansion.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: There are five main characters, but you can only have a maximum of three in a single party. All five characters can fight together in battle if you use the Call command, though.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The mansion, home to unspeakable horrors and a tragic past.
  • Big Bad: The apparition of Lady Mamiya is the main antagonistic force attempting to make sure the group doesn't leave the mansion alive.
  • Bittersweet Ending: This is what you get if you complete the game with at least one party member having died.
  • Book Ends: If you saw the film first, you would know that the memorial tower erected by the sole survivor—yes, it is possible to finish the final boss battle with only one character alive at the end of it—is just like the one that Taguchi knocks over in the film, which kickstarts all of the horror in the process. It is also where you later get the Low Key.
  • Boss Banter: The heroes and Lady Mamiya trade quips between hitting each other and using items to send her back to the netherworld. Mamiya's banter is actually vital to winning the battle.
  • Clown-Car Grave: The zombies you fight are supposedly the remains of people who died during their own trip into the mansion. Given how many of these zombies the crew fights during the game, one has to wonder: Did someone lead an entire army in there?
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The mansion has no shortage of potential deaths, with fire traps, spiked pits, falling statues, and the numerous monsters. But Yamamura's death is particularly gruesome, as his flesh melts off his body while he's still conscious, leaving a bloody skeleton.
  • Continuity Nod: While Sweet Home and Resident Evil are NOT related to each other in any way, the fact that Resident Evil winds up a Spiritual Successor means that a number of situations presented in this game can be seen in the first of that series.
    • The dramatic door opening scenes that show when you unlock a door would be carried over by the Resident Evil series for many of the games, though only Resident Evil – Code: Veronica would mirror the heartbeat noise present when opening doors.
    • Emi is essentially the Jill Valentine as this game's "Master of Unlocking" with Emi's key being analogous to Jill's lockpick. You'll have to find another item in the event you don't have Emi available, just like Chris would have to hunt down spare keys to replace Jill's lockpick.
    • Kazuo is essentially the lead protagonist of the five characters, being the one leading the film crew. His personal item is a lighter, and he's the most physically durable of the group, having 50 HP more than the ladies, and 30 more than Taro/Taguchi. This would become a series staple in Resident Evil games with the lead male having a lighter as their personal item and being able to take a bit more punishment than the ladies.
    • The Shovel winds up being similar to the Square Crank in Resident Evil as an item you'll use once and then likely toss, thinking you're done with it before needing it once more a little while later.
    • After visiting the Inner Quarters for the first time and picking up the Gold Key, you unlock the door blocking your path back to the first area of the mansion and you can then open several doors in this portion that you couldn't long ago with Emi's key. Resident Evil would mirror this with the Helmet Key being found in the Guardhouse, necessitating you returning to the mansion where you began, now able to unlock the remaining doors you were forced to pass up.
    • Yamamura is an ally who gives important story exposition and winds up dying later in the game, but in his death leaves behind the means to continue by removing the barrier and freeing the way to Lady Mamiya's bedroom. Enrico Marini would serve a similar role, telling you about the traitor in the STARS and hinting at Umbrella's involvement before being shot and killed, leaving behind the Hex Crank after his death.
  • Crusty Caretaker: The crew encounters one later in the game. He refuses to let the crew pass until his master, Ichirō (who is dead), returns. You need two Jewel items to relieve him of his post.
  • Death by Adaptation: As mentioned below in the Spared By Adaptation trope, Taguchi, Asuka, and Yamamura are the only casualties of the movie, while Kazuo, Emi, and Akiko survive. However, there are five different endings to achieve, all of which depends on how many of your party survives. It's completely possible for any deaths of your party to include those who didn't die in the movie. Yamamura always dies, however.
  • Death Trap: The mansion has several of these, most of which appear as Random Encounters in appropriate areas that can take away HP if not dodged correctly. A couple are automatically triggered at certain points, however, and can be instant-death traps.
  • Doppelgänger: A group of these mimicking the crew appears in the final area. The path to the Final Boss only requires you to fight Akiko, Taguchi and Asuka, though—the Kazuo and Emi doppelgangers are an optional fight.
  • Driven to Suicide: After Lady Mamiya was cornered by the townspeople when she was alive, she threw herself in the furnace that killed their children. Ichirō believed her death would stop the horror. He was wrong.
  • Early Game Hell: The mashup of Survival Horror-esque limited supplies and RPG-style Random Encounters gives the game a major case of Unstable Equilibrium. Once you gain enough experience to get over this very steep initial hump, the game becomes quite easy because your party is always given the first chance to attack.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: The hardest ending to get is the 'Sole Survivor' ending, as defeating the final boss requires two characters, minimum, to hold all the necessary items. You have to have one character die during the final boss fight, after they've used their items and you've reached the next stage of the battle.
  • Event Flag: Averted with the frescoes. Despite their importance to the plot, cleaning and viewing them is completely optional.
  • Everybody Lives: This is the best ending, achieved by completing the game with all five party members still alive.
  • Everything Is Trying to Kill You: Aside from the zombies and other creatures, there are also dolls, walking suits of armor, flying chairs, knives, and other inanimate objects that are trying to kill the crew.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: This is done by certain enemies who turn out to be Two-Faced monsters. It also happens in the ending where Everybody Lives.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: This is one of the QTE random encounters that needs to be dodged if you want to avoid taking damage.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • If a member of your party dies, a cutscene plays showing their grisly demise: Kazuo and Taguchi get cleaved in half, while Asuka, Akiko, and Emi collapse in a pool of their own blood.
    • In perhaps the most infamous scene in the game and the movie, Yamamura's skin melts off, leaving only his skeleton behind. In the movie, even that collapses.
    • Even though it happened before the story's events even take place, innocent children being burned alive is hardly family-friendly.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The last area where Lady Mamiya is confronted takes place in a weird purple location, with branching paths crossing over each other repeatedly, filled with wisps that throw you out, evil doppelgangers, and haunting voices.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Unlike the movie, this is averted; in the endings the dead will be acknowledged and a Sole Survivor will build a memorial for them.
  • Guide Dang It!: You have to make notes. And remember where you leave things, or find them. Because otherwise, you're going to have a bad time.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be:
    • The "Zombie" enemy has no lower body, and crawls on the ground, his intestines trailing behind him. Some of the neutral zombies you can talk to are in this state as well.
    • The death scene for Kazuo and Taguchi shows them severed through the stomach, the pieces flying apart.
  • Haunted House: The whole plot of the game is being stuck in Lady Mamiya's mansion, and trying to find a way out before the monsters or traps kill you.
  • Haunted House Historian: Yamamura explains bits of what's going on in the house, providing direction for the crew. It's heavily hinted what his real identity is, and why he knows so much about what's going on...
  • Helpful Mook: Some enemies in the overworld will not attack you; they will instead give you information.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Yamamura does this to unlock access to Lady Mamiya's room.
  • Hitodama Light: The Mook Bouncer foes listed above resemble hitodama. In the endings for two or three survivors, a hitodama for each fallen party member will float across the screen.
  • Immersive Sim: Sweet Home can be considered an early immersive sim, as it had a number of core elements of the genre, including an open-ended environment, choices & consequences, non-linear game design, open-ended narrative told through notes and diaries, interactive environments, allowed multiple ways to achieve objectives, and had no fail states unless all player characters die.
  • Indy Escape: There is an instant-death trap found early on in the game, complicated by how the item that triggers said trap must be reached by laying down a series of rickety boards, which the player has already learned at this point will break after being walked over too many times or by too many party members. This means the best bet for beating the trap is to send one member over alone, grab the item, and run like hell.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Because heaven forbid your characters step over the broken glass on the floor or those freaky looking shadows on the ground, despite easily treading into harmful thorns, rushing water, blood/slime, squirming corpses, or even raging fires.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle:
    • Each character can only hold two items and a weapon. Dropped items stay where they are, and you can pick them back up as needed. The tricky part lies in remembering where you left everything.
    • Each character also has a unique item that can't be given to anyone else. Replacements/counterparts for these items can be found so that the player won't be completely stuck after losing somebody, but these still take up one of your two item slots.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: To understand exactly what happened to Ichirō, you have to piece together the various bits of story from the frescos. Do so at your own risk.
  • Lazy Backup: Averted. The maximum size of a party is limited on the field, but all five characters can fight together in battle. The "Call" command has the engaged party call for help from the other party, which moves the second party into the battle so they can lend a hand.
  • Lock and Key Puzzle: This game has both figurative and literal ones. It did help inspire Resident Evil, after all.
  • Malevolent Architecture: This is invoked by Lady Mamiya, who is haunting the mansion save for one specific part. When the incinerator is located at the end of a hallway from the back door of the mother's room, you have a messed-up house even without a ghost.
  • Mama Bear: Both the game and movie show just how screwed up this trope can be. Lady Mamiya wants to make sure her dead baby has "playmates" in the next world, so she kills a bunch of other children by burning them in an incinerator, matching the same way her child was accidentally killed. When someone digs up her baby's corpse, she returns as a ghost, terrorizing her mansion and brutally killing anyone who comes near.
  • Master of Unlocking: Emi's key can unlock many of the doors in the mansion, except a few plot-important ones. Even if she dies, anybody in the group can take up her mantle with the 'wire' item, though this costs a valuable inventory slot.
  • Mirror Monster: The 'Mirror' enemy, which are preset encounters, fought whenever you pass by a mirror in the courtyard. They'll constantly respawn, unless you have the mallet to shatter the mirrors with after defeating them.
  • Mirror Match: Counterparts of the five party members can be encountered late in the game. Despite being some of the few set encounters in the game, they're not anything particularly special, and can be easily defeated by a party of five with decent weapons.
  • Mook Bouncer:
    • Some areas have wispy blue ghosts flying past you or chasing after you. If they touch a party member, that person is taken to another area of the mansion.
    • Some random encounters have an attack that is basically a more annoying version of this, where the destination is not always the same.
  • Mr. Exposition: Yamamura provides some information to the group when they meet him, and gives directions on where to go next and what's needed.
  • Multiple Endings: There are five endings to the game; each one is dependent on the number of party members still alive at the end of the game.
  • Nintendo Hard: There are only twenty-one Tonics in the game, and Tonics are the only way to restore health points. Prayer points can only be restored through either Tonics or one hidden late-game item. Oh, and the game has Random Encounters (i.e., potentially infinite enemies) to go along with those extremely limited supplies. But if a player is careful, this will only be an issue near the start of the game. Even the strongest enemies can be defeated in two or three hits (the size of the average party) if the characters are at a decent level, and enemies always attack last.
  • One-Winged Angel: Lady Mamiya is this. And a rather horrific one, too.
  • Permadeath: Unlike most RPGs, there is no way to revive a dead party member in this title. Predictably, as soon as everyone dies, it's Game Over. In the movie, Taguchi, Asuka, and Yamamura all meet their deaths.
  • Plotline Death: Yamamura dies as part of the plot.
  • Posthumous Character: Kenji, Etsuko, Shogo, Takashi, and all of the undead monsters count.
  • Pre-existing Encounters: Has a few, such as the Armor and Wisp enemies.
  • Puzzle Boss: At the end of the game, Lady Mamiya can only be defeated by using four special items in a certain order.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Several sand traps are found in the dungeons. Anyone who falls in can be rescued with rope, but pulling off a successful rescue takes timing. Naturally, the Infinity +1 Sword is found at the bottom of one of these pits.
  • Really Dead Cutscene: If a party member dies, a short cutscene plays that displays their death. Akiko, Asuka, and Emi collapse into a spreading pool of blood; Kazuo and Taguchi become Half The Man They Used To Be. Oh, and Yamamura melts.
  • The Reveal: The ending of the game heavily suggests Yamamura may have been Ichiro Mamiya himself.
  • Scare Chord: The soundtrack makes frequent use of these. Random encounters are preceeded by a slow musical build up to a sudden shriek as the monster appears on the screen. This same shriek is used when conversing with certain dying and dead bodies that are still able to speak as their picture flashes on screen.
  • Schmuck Bait: The layout of the mansion is such that blundering into every room will occasionally wind up with the player forced into a trap because the first tile beyond the door will get them caught in it and the limitations of the game do not allow you to simply turn around and walk back out even if you are standing in the doorway. This becomes especially dangerous in the Dungeons as the sand traps you can easily wind up in will kill members instantly if you don't get them out in time. As a result, players need to be careful to not blindly throw their team into every room, although Save Scumming can help alleviate this as well.
    • Several rooms will have traps such as water or fire bursting into a room, holes to open up below you, or rocks to fall as soon as you start strolling after a fresco or goodies in a room.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The memorial tower that acts as a tomb for Lady Mamiya's baby is the only thing stopping Mamiya from haunting the house and continuing to kidnap babies.
  • Skippable Boss: Due to the twisting layout of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, it is possible to avoid fighting Fake!Kazuo and Fake!Emi during the final stretch of the game, as they are only fought on paths you don't need to go through to get to the Final Boss.
  • Sole Survivor: One ending can be achieved if only one of your party members survives the final boss battle. In it, the lone survivor erects a memorial to their lost friends similar to the memorial erected for Mamiya's child.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Taguchi, Asuka, and Yamamura all die in the movie, but Taguchi and Asuka survive the game in the "true" ending. Yamamura is still doomed and there's nothing you can do about it.
  • Underground Monkey: Several enemies have more powerful recolours in later portions of the game (e.g., Wisp and Bane, Hound and Wolf). One interesting variation is Ghoul, in which the more powerful version is not only slightly redrawn (i.e., missing an arm), but is also flipped upside down to make it look as if it is dropping down or hanging from the ceiling.
  • Trope Maker: The game is the precursor to the Survival Horror genre that was popularized and codified almost a decade later by Resident Evil, though it is also predated by 1982's Haunted House and the NES Friday the 13th game from ten months prior to Sweet Home's release.
  • True Companions: Invoked in the game. You will have to learn to depend on your other characters and not to leave them for dead.
  • Universal Antidote:
    • Akiko's Medkit can cure all of the various Status Effects. This makes some sense with things like poison, but what kind of medkit includes everything needed to dispel curses?
    • The Pills, which are a replacement for the Medkit if Akiko dies, also count.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: Unsurprisingly, losing members of your party makes you much more likely to lose other ones. While you have five members and a party can only consist of three, not being able to use a party of the other two to get items you know are safer (or even just to scout ahead if you aren’t sure of what’s there) is a problem, and can add to the wear and tear your “main” party suffers.
  • Unwinnable:
    • You cannot beat the entire game with only one character alive. It is possible to defeat the final boss if you are knocked down to one during the final battle, though.
    • There are places where you need to use Wood twice. If you used up all your Wood/didn't know the blue wood is long-lasting/didn't know you can pick wood back up...
    • Certain characters dying is not a problem. Not having their replacement item, however, can trap you in certain situations. The most obvious example would be in losing Emi in the early parts of the game.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: A trippy, twisted pathway lined with doppelgangers of the five crew members.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The Grave/Corpse enemy is a head (missing one eye) and two hands popping out of the ground, constantly vomiting blood.
  • Was Once a Man: All of the undead enemies are the remains of people who didn't survive their trip into the mansion.

Alternative Title(s): Sweet Home