Sweet Home (スウィートホーム) is a 1989 psychological horror role-playing video game for the Family Computer based on the Japanese horror film of the same name. The game was developed and published by Capcom, and was released exclusively in Japan on December 15, 1989. Sweet Home was supervised by the film's director Kiyoshi Kurosawa and is a forerunner of Capcom's Resident Evil game series.
30 years prior to the story, famous artist Ichirō Mamiya hid several precious frescos in his huge mansion before he mysteriously disappeared. In the present day, a team of five treasure seekers seek to recover the paintings from the abandoned, dilapidated mansion. Upon entering, they are trapped inside by the ghost of an unknown woman, who threatens to kill all trespassers. The team decides to split up and find a way out, but the mansion is both in danger of collapsing and is occupied by countless monsters.
The team discovers that the ghost is that of Lady Mamiya, Ichirō's wife. It is revealed that 30 years previously, Mamiya's two-year-old son had fallen in the house's incinerator and was burnt alive, and Mamiya attempted to provide playmates for her son by killing several other children. She committed suicide shortly after and her ghost, unable to forgive herself, became trapped in the mansion. The team arrives in the main chamber and confronts Mamiya in a final battle.
The game features randomly encountered battles which the controlled character or party of characters must fight or run away from. If a character dies in battle, he or she cannot be revived throughout the course of the game. The five characters have a specific skill that is necessary to complete the game, although items that serve the same purpose can be found if one of the characters dies. For example, should Akiko (the team's nurse) die, the team may find pill bottles which can be used to heal ailments. Depending on how many characters remain alive after the defeat of the final boss, there are a total of five different endings the player may receive.
Though it was a role-playing video game, Sweet Home served as the main inspiration for the seminal survival horror game Resident Evil, which was originally intended to be a remake of Sweet Home. The first Resident Evil borrowed many elements from Sweet Home, including the mansion setting, the puzzles, the item inventory management, the emphasis on survival, and even the "door" loading screen. Other influences include solving a variety of puzzles using items stored in a limited inventory, while battling or escaping from horrifying creatures, which could lead to permanent death for any of the characters, thus creating tension and an emphasis on survival.
It was also the first attempt at creating a "scary" and frightening atmosphere within a game, through its "gruesome" story, ambient and tense orchestration, gory presentation, and "creepy" cutscenes. The game's creators also tried adding horror elements to the storyline itself, mainly told through diary entries left behind 50 years before the events of the game. Resident Evil also borrowed various other elements from the game, including the use of scattered notes as storytelling mechanics, multiple endings depending on how many characters survive, backtracking to previous locations in order to solve puzzles later on, the use of save rooms to store items when the player's inventory is full, the use of death animations, dual character paths, limited item management, individual character items such as a lockpick or lighter, story told through frescos, emphasis on atmosphere, and brutal horrific imagery. The latter prevented its release in the Western world, though its influence would be felt through Resident Evil.