So last year, I reviewed Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street on the NES, along with the magnum opus, Alf. Yes, it seems that playing horror games that are considered terrible is going to be a thing every Halloween it seems HAHAHAHA!!! (Crying intensifies) Oh woe is me, I’m reviewing this one aren’t I, the bad one, the one that made a nerd a household name on the internet. I mean, I played the Famicom version just to make sure because usually, the Japanese version of a game is usually easy, but NOPE, same issues, same BS, it’s my Halloween gift and the gift to me is a bullet to the face, it’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (or Houma ga Toki in Japan), developed by Advance Communication Co. and published by Toho in Japan, but was released in the US by Bandai. It was released in 1988 in Japan and 1989 in the US.
So for those who don’t know, there is a novel called Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, written by Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s about a man named Dr. Henry Jekyll where he created a potion that turns him into Mr. Hyde, an evil version of himself. The book is considered a classic, with themes of dualities of good and evil, the public and private division of the Victoria times and the Scottish nationalism vs union with Britain. I guess this story was famous in Japan to the point where they made a game of based on the novel.
Dr Jekyll is off to his wedding where his will-be wife Miss Millicent is. But the world is a terrible, terrible place and everything will hurt him or make him angry.
OK, here’s the gameplay, you simply walk right and avoid everything, which is easier said than done. OK, there are people, some people can hurt you, there’s a bloke with a bomb, as he walks close to you, he’ll plant one…AND WILL EXPLODE BEFORE YOU CAN JUMP AWAY FROM IT!!! There’s a kid who will smack you with something he shot with a slingshot, there are blokes that may or may not hit you, dogs, cats, spiders, bees, blokes with bow and arrows, birds that crap on you, people singing, people throwing food out the window, literally everything will deplete your Life Metre and your Anger Metre in the process. Your Life Metre is your health bar, when it depletes, Jekyll will die. When his Anger Metre is depleted, he turns into Mr. Hyde, where he punches monsters and goes to the left, he can also shoot fireballs by pressing Up + B…because of course…oh sorry, I meant the Psycho Wave? But you must defeat monsters to fill up your Anger Metre to turn back into Dr. Jekyll.
So there are many questions like…Why is everyone against him? If they don’t know about him being Mr. Hyde, why are they trying to ruin his day? If they DO know about him being Mr. Hyde, why don’t they just kill him the moment he leaves the sodding house? Why doesn’t the bloke with the bomb get arrested since his explosions, with the worst hitboxes since Slogra from Super Castlevania IV, might blow off the limbs of someone else? Those monsters Mr. Hyde fight, who are they? Where do they come from? What’s their purpose? Who knows, who cares anymore, this is a Japanese game and it’s terrible.
The game is pretty much an endurance dodging game, I mean you have a cane and it doesn’t hit anyone except for bees and only bees, making the cane completely pointless, but everything else, you have to dodge, which could be fine if the controls weren’t a slog. Moving feels like walking on honey so it’s impossible not to get hit. Then later in the game, barrels fly out and hit you and there’s no pattern to them, they also fly out along with everyone else, the game hates you, and I hate the game, it’s the inevitability.
So what’s the true purpose of the game, along with the Hyde sections? Well the Hyde sections actually have a purpose. So Mr. Hyde is walking backwards, but if he is at the point where Jekyll was when he transformed, a lightning bolt will strike him and he’ll die, ending the game. No mercy and No prisoners! No shame and No guilt! So in a way, you have to make sure that you advance as far as possible when playing as Dr. Jekyll and transform as quickly as possible when playing as Mr. Hyde, so you have to make sure that Dr. Jekyll gets to the church ahead of Mr. Hyde. Can you see how confusing this game is, it has potential to be unique but it wanted to be as hard as possible and thus, it doesn’t work right.
The graphics are pretty good for the NES; it has that Victorian feel to it so it represents the world of the story well. The level design is uninspiring, since the game moves to the right, it does nothing dynamic to make it unique and you can win by just moving right…if the difficulty was balanced. The music is minimal but what we have isn’t bad but it gets repetitious very quickly.
Overall, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is up there as the worst NES games I’ve ever played. I know there are worse but this game kind of had potential if it was done right. It could have been a decent game, but no, this is the NES; let’s not make a game so fun it has infinite replay value, let’s prolong the game by making it hard as possible, because the moment you do that, if it isn’t done right, your game will either be forgotten or be reviewed by the Angry Video Game Nerd. So would I recommend it? HELL TO THE NO! I only reviewed this because hopefully be next year I’ll have another terrible horror game, fingers crossed it’s Slenderman related. Hehehe!
You can get it on the NES.
As for November? Welp, it’s another special month of Arcade goodness, but instead of just reviewing Capcom games, I’m taking a look at any Arcade game, and a few random ones too.