Monster Max Soundtrack, David Wise, 1994
Sometimes the universe (or at least video game publishers) work in mysterious ways. On paper, Monster Max should have been a success – not a million-seller (few isometric action adventures on the Game Boy were), but still a game that would deliver respectable sales figures. Its pedigree was impeccable – a collaboration between Rare and the duo of Jon Ritman and Bernie Drummond. Both parties had created genre classics in the 1980s – Rare with Knight Lore, Alien 8 and Nightshade, while Ritman and Drummond (inspired by Knight Lore) were the men behind Batman and Head Over Heels. Ritman had just finished work on a development system that Rare used for many of their games and he decided to start work on a Game Boy title.
Upon “release” in late 1994, Monster Max then went on to garner outstanding reviews from critics, setting itself up for success as the Christmas season was approaching (Rare’s other contender for that period was of course Donkey Kong Country). However, there’s a reason for the quotation marks around ‘release’. While publisher Titus officially released the game in 1994, it only produced copies that would hit store shelves a full ten months later, effectively burying the game it was distributing for no discernible reason. By mid-1995, everybody’s attention had of course moved on to the new 32-bit platforms and Monster Max was largely forgotten – although its quality ensured it retained a dedicated, if small following.