So...what is Sweet Home?
Sweet Home is an excellent RPG released by Capcom for the Famicom at the end of 1989, and based on a Japanese horror movie. What sets this game apart from most other RPGs is its resemblance to a certain other Capcom franchise: Resident Evil! Many would even consider this game to be the great-grandaddy of Resident Evil. Don't worry though, this is an RPG to the bitter end. Translated by Gaijen Translations and Suicidal Translations (in a joint effort), this game is now fully playable in English. Can you lead your characters out of the haunted mansion? Only time will tell...
How do I play?
It's pretty easy to play Sweet Home, here's the down and dirty:
PARTY -This command is used to switch characters. Whichever character you switch to will be the lead character you control. If you select a character in a party other than the one you're currently in, you will assume control of that party.
ITEM -Selecting this will give you a grid of each character in your party's items. The top item is their "innate item", the item that can't be moved. The next two are the slots for items you find in the mansion. The bottom is the space for the character's weapon. Press A, and you'll be given two choices: USE and MOVE. Select USE to use the item. If you need to use an item on a character not in your current party, face that character when you use the item (this works only for the Med Kit and the Pills). Select MOVE to move the item. MOVE also allows you to pick up items. If you're in a party with more than 1 character, MOVE allows you to switch items amongst yourselves. If you switch an empty space and an item you'll just get that item or give that item (depending on the circumstances. Just think of it as switching a "nothing" with an item). If you're facing an item and you use MOVE, you can pick up that item. If you're facing a character not in your current party, use MOVE to switch items with your lead character and the character you're facing.
TALK -Use this command to talk to stuff. You can talk to party members not in your group, people you encounter in the mansion, and zombies (and those weird mysterious cloaked figures...)
TEAM -To add characters to your current party, walk up to a character and go to the menu and go to "TEAM". The two characters will then be in the same party. If you want a third character in your party, do the same thing. If you go to "TEAM" when you aren't facing anybody, the lead character will leave the party. "TEAM" also allows you to pull a character out of trouble, like gaps and sticky floors.
LOOK -You can use LOOK to examine things you encounter in the mansion. This includes frescoes, dolls, skeletons, notes, puzzle events, and various other things. You can also use this to examine weapons and items you encounter in the mansion (although all it will do will tell you the name).
SAVE -Use this command to save the game (duh).
QUIT -You can use this command to quit the game. You're given two choices: RESTART and QUIT. RESTART will return the game to the last place you saved. QUIT will erase all your data, allowing you to start all over.
Well, how do I see how my characters are doing? Where're their stats?
Pressing B will give you a list of all your characters. The number on the right is their current HP. Selecting any of the characters will allow you to see their stats (The character's defense can't be raised, and is constant throughout the game. I found Taro probably has the highest defense, followed by Kazuo, then Emi, then Asuka, then Akiko).
LEVEL -This gives you the character's current level of experience. If the character has a status ailment, it is listed to the right of the Level (Pn for Poison, XPnX for Strong Poison, Froze for Frozen, Fear for Scared, and Crs for Curse)
ATTACK -This tells your characters attack power. There are two numbers here, and for the longest time, I didn't have the foggiest clue on the difference. After some testing, however, I believe the first number to be your attack power against regular enemies, and the second number to be your attack power against spiritual enemies (Ghosts, wisps, etc.).
LIFE -This gives you the character's HP. The number on the left is the current HP. The number on the right is the maximum HP.
PRAY -This gives you the character's Pray Points. The number on the left is the current Pray Points. The number on the right is the maximumum Pray Points.
ITEMS -The last two rows are designated for items. The first item listed is the character's innate item. The next two listed are the items that character is currently carrying. The last item is their current weapon.
What's up with the Pray Points?
Pray Points are the "MP" of Sweet Home. When you use them, a bar goes up and down. Where you stop the bar tells how many Pray Points you use. You use the Pray Points in battle (they damage the enemy), in puzzle scenes, and when stuff falls on you.
I've never played an RPG before and I'm in a fight, what do I do?
Well, you fight back...remember, you have the tactical advantage, because all of the characters will attack before the enemy has the chance, not to mention that enemies always travel alone in Sweet Home...oh, and...uh...there are five choices the game gives you, here is an explanation to each:
ATTACK -This command allows you to attack the enemy. The higher your attack power, the more damage you'll do.
PRAY -Prayer can be used as an attack in Sweet Home. The farther right the bar, the more damage unleashed. Just keep in mind that this uses up valuable Pray Points.
TOOL -This allows you to use items in battle. You can use Tonics and the Dress to heal yourself, the Lighter, Matches, Camera, and Pipe to damage certain enemies, and the Photo, Tool, Coffin, and Diary in the battle with Mamya.
RUN -Use this to run away from a battle. Keep in mind that, like FF6, the characters in Sweet Home run away independently, so don't expect one escaping character to bail out your whole party.
CALL -Use this to call characters not in your current party to the battle. Select a character, and that character and his/her party can navigate the mansion and find where you are fighting. Touching the battle allows them in on the fray. More trouble than it's worth, usually.