Friday, October 11, 2013

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: A Horrifyingly Awful Game

Today we're going to look at a game most people shudder to think of: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for the NES.  It's notorious for being a terrible game due to bad controls and other monstrous elements that we'll dive into in just a bit.  Buckle up folks, and try not to pay too much attention to Robert Louis Stevenson rolling over in his grave.

Just the cover art itself is terrifying.

The game starts out like any other side-scrolling game you've ever played: simply make Dr. Jekyll walk towards the right side of the screen.  What begins as a peaceful stroll through town quickly takes a turn for the worse, as you quickly realize that everything is out to get you, and I mean everything.  Random guys wearing top hats will walk up to Jekyll, drop a bomb in front of him, and then take off running.  Gravediggers will throw dirt at Jekyll, while cats attack his legs.  Even the birds are out to get this poor guy, bombing him with bird droppings.

Unfortunately Jekyll's only defense against these uncalled-for attacks is a cane he carries with him.  This cane does absolutely nothing whatsoever, and that's not even an exaggeration.  It literally deals no damage to any enemies, making you wonder why the game developers even bothered to include it.  Since you can't defend yourself with a weapon, your best bet for survival is extreme evasive maneuvers, but what is more likely to happen is you will take hit after hit after hit.

Prepare to take plenty of damage.

As you take damage, the pseudo-life bar drains.  Once it goes completely empty, Jekyll makes the transformation into Mr. Hyde.  He appears to have warped into a world of permanent nighttime, completely inhabited by monsters.  The game also scrolls to the left at this point, erasing any rightward progress you made when you were playing as Jekyll.

Hyde must have eaten a fire flower.

Thankfully Hyde has a ranged attack that actually deals damage to enemies.  He shoots fireballs (hmm, I don't remember that in the book) at zombies, ghouls, and other indescribable freaks (I don't remember those in the book either).  Defeating monsters will slowly fill up the life bar; completely filling it will allow you to change back into Dr. Jekyll, and will transition you back to the regular world.

That's all there really is to say about this simple yet frustrating game.  As Jekyll you'll be pulling your hair out trying to dodge the numerous attacks against him.  As Hyde you'll be cursing every leftward step you take, due to it taking you further from your goal.  This is just one of the many awful games released on the NES, but it certainly ranks down there with some of the very worst.

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