It seems a whole army of new characters is lined up to take a bite out of Marios pie in 2002. Along with the likes of Ratchet & Clank, Sly and Blinx comes a mad scientist bent on rebuilding his destroyed homeworld. A noble cause despite the fact that he plans to destroy four other worlds in order to do it.
Dr. Mutos deal is that he has to collect DNA from various creatures and then mutate into one of six forms in order to collect all the terra (chunks 0 earth) he needs to complete his project. So if you see something you cant jump to, mutate into a flying squirrel to get over there. If you see a tiny hole you need to fit through, transmogrify into a mouse and pray there are no cats around. You get the idea.
Of course, just running through four worlds would make for a pretty short game. So besides the standard enemy killin and puzzle solvin youd expect, youll actually have to travel back and forth between planets many times in order to collect all the mutations you need for success.
Helping the demented doctor in his endeavors is ALF (Artificial Life Form), a wise-cracking construct that seems more interested in berating Muto than actually assisting him. Still, the little floating head will offer advice should you get stuck in any one spot. Its Midways method of helping the player along without simply walking them through the whole game.
The real question is whether or not Dr. Muto is going to stand out in the deluge of similar character-based games this year. Obviously, Midway is confident that it will. The cool shapeshifting gameplay along with the Looney Tunes-style humor (think along the lines of Marvin the Martian) should set Dr. Muto apart. The whole game has a very unique look, too no cutesy junk youd expect in this genre. Youll find no bouncy music or brightly colored turtles here. Mutos lab is filled with stuff like stereo equipment, girly posters and even an old Atari 2600. Sweet!
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Dr. Muto begins with the usual formula of a nice likable character, emphasis on animation, ability to collect objects, ability to jump and bonk opponents, and fairly predictable plot. What sets this apart from the average platformer is a few unique items. First, Dr. Muto is a mad scientist and in a sense, he isn't a bubbly, lovable, fuzzy, children's character like Sonic. This makes the game more appealing to an audience of people' say, over eight years old. Also, Dr. Muto has the ability to morph himself into five DNA spliced creatures which include a gorilla, spider, and mouse to name a few. Each morph has a unique ability to perform certain functions that the average mad scientist isn't always suited for. This will force you to sometimes choose which character is appropriate for the situation as each has its own advantages and disadvantages (although in many cases it doesn't particularly matter ' it is just harder for one or the other). Regardless, Dr. Muto must work his way through 22 levels on four different worlds to restore the world back to normalcy (of which he destroyed).
The game itself is fairly good. The graphics are good, not as good as Blinx, but I've seen much worse. The sound is just fine and doesn't get boring. The variety of characters proves to spice the game up a bit. In the end though, it is still a typical platform game. You must collect certain items, you have a few weapons to use, you have to think every now and then, but the game isn't particularly difficult. This makes it good for all ages.
I had a couple complaints. One, the views take a while to get used to and reminds me too much of Azurik. It just gets annoying to always rotate your body in the right direction and is particularly annoying when you have to fight multiple bad guys. Also, the game isn't that tough. As stated above, this is nice for kids, but the audience for the game seems to be broader than that. I don't think it's horribly easy, but you can pretty much always figure out where to go and killing bad guys is not usually difficult. Sometimes you'll forget the occasional object, but Dr. Muto is equipped with a log book that tracks what items are found and what remain. This ensures that you have found everything to complete the level successfully.
I recommend buying this game for those who love the genre and must have every game available; otherwise it is a weekend rental at best, mainly because the difficulty isn't enough to require that many hours of gameplay. But, I will admit that even with its simplicity, it sucks you in to just keep going. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, I think the little helpers on each level (Gomers) are funny and cute. Anyway, it is pretty easy to log a number of hours on this game and they don't seem like wasted hours. I won't put this on my list of the greatest games ever made, but it is a nice easy game to play, that is rewarding and unique in its own right. That in itself should be commended.