We all know the story, whether it is from reading the novel by R.L. Stevenson or just from Warner Brothers cartoons. Dreamcatcher Games has taken this classic tale of evil and butchered it by making a truly awful game.
Dr. Jekyll, having recently stopped his research into the evil of mankind, has to get his lab equipment up and running in order to save his daughter, who was recently kidnapped by an escapee from his own mental institution. In order to save her he must retrieve magical artifacts for the kidnappers in only one night's time.
Um. Right. That makes sense.
The game actually looks appealing at first glance. Throughout the story you must invoke the evil persona of Mr. Hyde, who with his superior strength and increased vertical jump allows you to accomplish goals that the paltry Dr. Jekyll cannot. There is no timeframe set as to how long it will be before you revert to the meager yet more intelligent Dr. Jekyll.
Of course, like any game if you do the wrong thing at the wrong time you can get stuck. Most games make this somewhat more tolerable by allowing you to save at any time during the game. I suppose you could say that option is available for this game - I mean, you can hit escape, go to the option menu and save - but it only saves the state at the last key point or loading point in the game. Granted, there are many, many loading points (just about between every room, which gets rather annoying), but you end up having to replay a lot of mind numbing filler between the more challenging areas when saving directly beforehand would be ideal.
Graphics are the one area where one might say that the game shines, although I would characterize it as more of a dull gleam. It's not that they are particularly spectacular, but they fit the mood of the game rather well. A kind of twisted nightmarish theme seems prevalent throughout, with a dark and gloomy atmosphere and ghoulish characters to enhance the mood.
The voice acting is fairly decent, although during the cut scenes the characters' mouths don't move, which isn't necessary but would certainly have enhanced things. The rest of the sound is by no means poor; the music sets the mood fairly well, but on the same token there isn't anything that goes above and beyond.
The real culprits in destroying any semblance of fun in JEKYLL AND HYDE are the gameplay and control. First of all, you will not have any control unless you load one of the three control packages before you start the game. You can load either a joystick, mouse, or keyboard package, but they don't choose a default one for you.
Once you have chosen your controller of choice you must maneuver your way through the game by forward walking and horrid rotating, which makes it very difficult to get through some of the areas that involve balancing on narrow walkways and other similar navigational hazards. The enemies in the game are disposed of with a few quick whacks with your cane, which is as complex as combat gets, soon leading to mind numbing boredom. That is of course assuming that you can rotate around quickly enough to face whatever foe it is that is about to kill you.
The camera angles certainly don't help the situation either. Although you do have the option to move the camera, it doesn't stay in the new position. The attempt at creating dramatic effect with changing camera angles is counterproductive, causing sudden changes in direction that only hamper the already atrocious gameplay.
Usually about this time I say something about how the game is good for it's genre or that certain types of gamers should check it out. But in this case, I honestly don't think anyone would really enjoy this. If you can make it all the way through this game, kudos to you I say. If you actually want to play it again, I might start considering therapy. No, seriously.
ESBR Rating: Teen
Developer: In Utero
Publisher: Dreamcatcher Interactive
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
Fun Factor: D
Reviewer's Wild Card: F