The Mask (video game)

The Mask is a 1995 side-scrolling action video game created by American studio Black Pearl Software for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System which is based on the film of the same name. The film, in turn, was loosely based on the Dark Horse comic book series of the same name.[2]

The Mask
North American cover art
Developer(s)Black Pearl Software[1]
Designer(s)Matthew Harmon
Todd Tomlinson
Dan Burke
Programmer(s)Matthew C. Harmon
Composer(s)Phil Crescenzo
Platform(s)Super NES
  • NA: October 1995[1]
  • JP: December 27, 1996
  • EU: October 26, 1995
Genre(s)2D action platformer

The game received moderately positive reviews from critics, who were particularly pleased with its faithful recreation of the humor and visual style of the film, while criticizing the level design and difficulty.


Dorian Tyrell and his gang of rogues are secretly planning to take over Edge City, a small and prosperous city where the nightlife revolves around the wealthy patrons who attend the nightclub that Dorian owns and operates for the benefit of himself and his henchmen.[3]

The player controls Stanley Ipkiss, a mild mannered bank clerk who transforms into the namesake character after discovering a green Loki mask.[2]


The Mask uses his huge "living" horn to defeat one of the enemies in the game.

The player has to navigate through Ipkiss' apartment, a high-rent district, outside and inside the bank, the local park, inside the local prison (complete with enemies wearing stereotypical striped prison uniforms), and finally through a ritzy nightclub to fight his evil nemesis, Dorian (who is also wearing the mask).[2] All the major bosses in the game resemble characters from the film like Mrs. Peenman, the angry landlady, along with careless repairmen Irv and Burt Ripley, who repaired Ipkiss' vehicle.[4]

If the player runs out of health, then he returns to being Ipkiss, wearing his pajamas. Many of The Mask's moves featured in the game were based on scenes in the movie, such as the mallet (which he uses to smash the alarm clock in the movie), the tornado, the massive guns he pulls from his pocket during the final confrontation during the movie, and the huge "living" horn.[2] It also features other moves, such as a sneaking move which makes The Mask invisible (his enemies do not see him), a dash move (as well as a "superdash" move where he runs at supersonic speed), and his primary attack which is a basic punch move with cartoon boxing gloves. Many of the special moves (the mallet, guns, horn, etc.) use The Mask's "Morph" power, which is replenished with power-ups. If his morph meter runs out it slowly replenishes to a smaller amount than that he started out with, much like the ammo replenishes for the main gun in Earthworm Jim.

The ending of the video game involves dancing with a 16-bit representation of Cameron Diaz accompanied by big band music.[5] Cameron Diaz's breakthrough role was as Tina Carlyle (Dorian Tyrell's girlfriend) in the actual film.


Though the game is ostensibly based on the movie, the graphics were based on the cartoony style of the comic book rather than the movie.[6] The game took longer to develop than anticipated, not being released until over a year after the movie's theatrical release.[7]

The beta version of The Mask played more like a beat 'em up rather than a side-scrolling action game. Damage in the beta version came in a series of expressions, similar to the various faces used in the 1993 first-person shooter Doom. Different backgrounds were placed in the incomplete version that were scrapped in the retail version. Violent-looking attacks like a projectile-firing gun and a karate-style low kick were deleted from the final version.[8]

A version of the game was also in development for the Sega Genesis but was canceled.[9][10] According to a spokesperson, due to the Super NES version taking longer than expected, the Genesis version would not have been completed until two years after the film appeared in theaters, too late to significantly benefit from the license, and was cancelled because of this.[7]

In one speedrun of the game, designer Matt Harmon said that a carnival-themed level was scrapped from the game.[11] In the stage select screen, there exists an unused level called "Wild Ride", and it is possible that this is that level.


The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave The Mask a score of 6.75 out of 10. They praised the variety of abilities, the faithfulness to the humor and style of the source material, and the graphics, especially the animation, while criticizing the levels as overly large, to the point of being repetitious and easy get lost in.[12] GamePro similarly applauded the game for its heavy use of characters and visual gags from the film, as well as the Mask's many abilities, but said that the graphics of enemies and backgrounds "are closer to '93 standards than '95 potential." They summarized that "Carrey's wild character is still fresh, and solid gameplay makes this lightweight adventure a fun trip."[13] A reviewer for Next Generation was most enthusiastic about the fluid, cartoonish animation and the secret ways of using the backgrounds to move around the level. He was more forgiving of the level design than EGM, commenting that "while the level mazes are, at times, too convoluted for their own good, they're certainly inventive." He gave it three out of five stars, concluding that "The title could have used some difficulty tweaking, and it lacks any sort of save or continue feature, but overall it's a solid, enjoyable surprise."[14]


  1. ^ a b c "Release date". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2008-09-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c d "Game information". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 16, 2014. Retrieved 2011-12-14. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Story of The Mask video game" (in Japanese). Netsurf. Retrieved 2011-12-26. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Major enemies of The Mask video game". Ain't it Cool News. Retrieved 2011-12-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Description of the game's ending". Video Game Museum. Retrieved 2011-12-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "The Mask". GamePro. No. 72. IDG. September 1994. pp. 52–53.
  7. ^ a b "Cart Queries". GamePro. No. 89. IDG. February 1996. p. 13.
  8. ^ "Description of the beta version". Unseen 64. Retrieved 2011-12-26. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ CRV (August 2007). "Interview:Matt Harmon". Game Developer Research Institute. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  10. ^ Interview: Matt Harmon Sega-16. Retrieved on 8-26-13.
  11. ^ The Mask SNES :: Live SPEED RUN (09:22) (Hard) by Mr K #AGDQ 2014 on YouTube
  12. ^ "Review Crew: The Mask". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 76. Sendai Publishing. November 1995. p. 41.
  13. ^ "ProReview: The Mask". GamePro. No. 86. IDG. November 1995. p. 88.
  14. ^ "The Mask". Next Generation. No. 11. Imagine Media. November 1995. p. 189.

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