Casper is the shared name of several action-adventure games based on the 1995 film of the same name. Two different games were released in 1996 and 1997 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, by different publishers, in different regions. A third game was released for the 3DO (the final release for that system), Sega Saturn, PlayStation, and Game Boy Color, published by Interplay Entertainment. There was also a Game Boy game.
The first PC game based on the film was the Casper Brainy Book which was developed by Knowledge Adventure and was released in May 1996. It was aimed at children aged 4-8 and is an Interactive storybook, similar in style to Disney's Animated Storybooks, in which players read and play in the story and there are three mini-games, Fatso's Creature Feature, Stretch's Shake Rattle and Roll and Stinkie's Peek-a-boo, designed to teach vocabulary, spelling and shape recognition. Being aimed at younger children some of the darker elements of the story are cut with Carrigan, Dibs and Amelia absent, Dr. Harvey's career is to look for ghosts and the Lazurus being named simply as the "Machine" and was described as turning a ghost into a person.
Casper is a game developed by Absolute Entertainment and published by Natsume for the Super NES. The player controls Casper who is followed by Kat Harvey, and he has to protect her from any danger. Being a ghost, Casper can pass through walls and other obstacles, but he can't go away from Kat too much, or else Carrigan's ghost will abduct her. The game follows loosely the plot of the movie. This game uses a revised Absolute A Boy and His Blob engine. Picking up special objects allows Casper to morph into these objects to clear rooms of enemies, and to protect Kat from certain hazards. Mirrors placed throughout the game allows Casper and Kat travel to other parts of mansion, and outside electrical lines allow Casper to pick up the last of the toys, when he picks up the electric bolt morph.
Developed by Natsume, this was released only in Japan by the anime company KSS. In this version, the game uses an isometric view and the player controls Kat Harvey herself as she protects Casper from the duo of Carrigan Crittenden and Dibs. During the course of the game, Kat collects items, therefore making this game an adventure game as opposed to an action game.
Baseballs are used to stun the enemies. Getting hit by an enemy results in a game over. There is even a box to the bottom right that keeps track of time (in seconds and minutes); the game starts with ten seconds elapsed. Saving the game is performed by finding mechanical contraptions and activating them. While saving the game, the game counts all the coins and gems; it uses that count to tabulate a percentage to decide how much of the game has been officially completed.
The version published by Interplay plays as a top-view action-adventure game with pre-rendered graphics. The game consists of three acts, first finding tokens of friendship for Kat and Dr. Harvey, then finding the pieces for the Lazarus machine (which Casper's uncles had disassembled to prevent him from using it), and finally finding the Cellular Integrator (which Carrigan's ghost steals, leading Casper to her lair) while exploring the mansion, collecting jigsaw pieces to solve puzzles for morph icons, eating food for morph points and dealing with the Ghostly Trio. Unlike other versions, other than the Ghostly Trio and Carrigan (who serves as this version's final boss), there are no enemies. The game instead focuses mainly on solving puzzles.
The Game Boy Color game is a scaled down version of the Saturn/3DO/PS game with the only puzzles and morph icons being the ones required to reach the ending and the sound and graphics are rendered for handheld.
This game was developed by Bonsai Entertainment and released by Natsume.
Each of the levels consist of four main mini games, which the player can do in any order, and two final mini games that only appear at the end of the game. However, three of the main mini games are the same every level, with their only difference being a slightly increased difficulty level. The main goal of these games are to make it to the end with as much ooze as possible (ooze being fuel for the Lazarus and is much like points).
Casper: The Interactive Adventure is a Point and click adventure CD-ROM game made by WizardWorks Software and Morning Star Multimedia in 1997 and takes place after the '95 film. After the Harvey's go on vacation, Casper's friends throw him a party to cheer him up but Carrigan turns them into ghosts and hides them somewhere in the manor as revenge for being tricked into crossing over. You must use various items to travel around Whipstaff to find traces of Casper's friends and take pictures of them for hints plus the end of the game, and collect items. There was supposed to be a sequel as stated in the ending and the manual where you would help Casper bring his friends back to life but Morning Star went bankrupt before it was made.
Made by Microïds and Planet Interactive in 2002, The Ghostly Trio have turned all the adults in town (presumably Friendship, Maine) into zombies and Dr. James Harvey is called in to stop them, only to become a zombie himself. It's up to Casper to help safely guide him through each of five levels using various transformations and objects to help the zombie Doctor collect flasks with the formula to cure him. There also six children in each level to rescue though the player does not need to in order to finish a level. However Casper needs to save every child to become Hero of the Day. The Ghostly Trio show up in each level occasionally to scare Dr. Harvey and throw him off course and Casper must deflect their attacks.
Silicon Graphics workstations using Alias software were used to generate the character graphics and backgrounds in the Saturn/PlayStation/3DO game.
Reviewing the 3DO version, Electronic Gaming Monthly's team of four reviewers criticized that load times are frequent, it is easy to get lost, and that the puzzles are often obscure or even don't make sense. They nonetheless had a generally positive response to the game, with Sushi-X deeming it a strong last hurrah for the 3DO. They cited the stunning graphics and wide variety of gameplay elements. A critic for Next Generation agreed that the graphics are exceptional, noting in particular the ghosts which have true transparency (an effect generally thought to be impossible for the 3DO). While also agreeing that some of the puzzles don't make sense, he felt the game was generally easy enough for its young target audience, and concluded it to be a solid though not amazing game.
Sega Saturn Magazine gave the Saturn version a 70%, calling it "a decent enough effort with what is a particularly sugary film, spoilt by some frustrating flaws in the gameplay and action that is too repetitive." Their next issue printed a retraction, admitting that Interplay had not sent them a review copy of Casper, and that the review was actually based on an unfinished version of the game.