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Inside The Monster Party Prototype

Monster PartySeveral years ago I pointed out that the bosses of the Nintendo Entertainment System game Monster Party are downright bizarre.  Where else can you find a game that pits the protagonist against a talking plant, dancing zombies, bouncing fried shrimp, and a spider that's already dead?  As it turns out, the original plan for Monster Party was even stranger than the finished product.  A beta version of the game surfaced online recently and the hardworking fans at The Cutting Room Floor have dissected it to see what changed during the development process.  Among other things, the bosses are different.  In their original forms, they were copyright infringing terrors such as the eponymous Alien, killer mogwai from Gremlins, Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors, an ape on horseback from Planet of the Apes, and more. 

The Pumpkin-Ghost boss fight was originally a blatant parody of the film Planet of the Apes, complete with an ape riding horseback and a very cartoony version of the famous Statue of Liberty scene in the background. Graphical differences aside, the two bosses behave identically to each other, though you can crawl underneath the Pumpkin-Ghost boss without taking damage. The background graphics were completely erased in the US version.

I'm reminded of Sega's The Revenge of Shinobi that included Batman, Godzilla, and Spider-Man has antagonists without the permission of their respective owners.  Japanese copyright laws with respect to international infringement must have been very lax in the late 1980s.  There's no way this would work out today.  It didn't really work out then, either, as obviously the Monster Party prototype changed to excise the infringing material and Shinobi had to be re-released with different, distinct bosses.  One thing we can all agree on though: legalities aside, Monster Party was crazy and awesome in all its forms.