Jekyll & Hyde Review

Author: Romy Ilich
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Thursday, December 20th, 2001
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/jekyllhyde/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

Inspired by the novel of Robert Louis Stevenson and developed by DreamCatcher, in this 3D real-time action/adventure PC game, players take on the persona of Dr. Henry Jekyll fighting evil and exploring the dark and unnerving atmosphere of London at the end of the 19th century. After the death of Dr. Jekyll’s wife, four years ago, he took the irrevocable decision to abandon his research on the separation of the good and evil lurking in every human being.

He decided to forever banish his alter ego, the grotesque Mr. Hyde from his existence and swore to never again allow his basest instincts rule his everyday life. Now, he is a renowned director of an asylum for the insane and devotes his life to the happiness and safety of his only child, Laurie, who is the spitting image of her late mother. But in the fall of 1890, something terrible occurred. Burnwell, one of his patients admitted under mysterious circumstances, broke out of his cell, taking his daughter hostage during a patient uprising. Dr. Jekyll has to locate him fast before he gets away or harms her in any way. Once the Doctor finally finds Burnwell, he demands to meet Mister Hyde before he'd let her go. So against his better judgement he decides to once again descend to his secret laboratory and mix the potion that will resurrect the demented Mr. Hyde. As he encounters the mysterious attorney who committed Burnwell, he discovers that the revolt, Burnwell's escape and his daughter kidnapping; everything was planned from the start. Their main goal was to revive Mr. Hyde so that he can recover a stolen Book of Zohar in exchange for Laurie’s life. However, it is not an easy task. He has until dawn to find three metal pieces of a medallion, that when combined will form a key granting access to the Book. But these pieces are in the hands of three of the most heavily protected persons in the world. The first piece was said to be in the possession of James Yang, a man who owns an opium den in the seedier parts of town. The second piece was to be found on board of a ship named "Light of Gold". And the last one on the heavy guarded "Golden Railways" train. Your mission is to help Dr. Jekyll do whatever it takes to rescue his beloved daughter from the forces of evil even if it means to once again revive the dangerous and evil Mr. Hyde.

You’ll find that the game’s sound and music are pretty good. You might even get a little scared if you play it in the dark with all those strange background noises, sudden screams, shrieks, squeaking doors and creepy music. For the most part the voice acting is fairly descent, specially the one of Dr. Jekyll. What I found quite entertaining was Mr. Hyde’s Tarzan like talk and gorilla sounds that he makes when he walks and runs.

On the other hand, the graphics in this game are poorly detailed and the character models look bad and weak, mostly because they are disturbingly distorted. Everything in the game is portrayed in bizarre, sharp angles; with cartoony like graphics that just don’t fit in with the serious and dark tone of the game.

Another big minus is the hard to manage controls as the game was designed for gamepad or keyboard use only. There's no mouse support, so using the menu controls becomes quite frustrating. And most important, at the beginning of the game if you forget to load either your gamepad or keyboard controls you won’t be able to move at all.

The game includes numerous jumping puzzles that get very difficult when you play as Dr. Jekyll, but as Mr. Hyde; things are a bit better, because he can jump higher and farther. Other type of puzzles involve pulling levers, finding keys, and throwing rocks, where not much thinking is required to solve them.

During the game, you can run, jump, climb and fight, however, you’re not able to dodge or back up just forward-walk. Also your character turns and rotates too fast, which makes it quite difficult to walk on narrow beams any sudden move and you will drop. Trying to open a door is not an easy task either. It takes several tries until you find the right spot where to stand.

Camera angles tend to wander all over the place trying to reposition itself when they’re following your character. A lot of times your view gets completely blocked by a rock, a wall, or some other annoying object just when you’re trying to make a critical jump or fight an approaching enemy. Trying the camera-reposition feature doesn’t help at all as sometimes it is just not available, indicated by a camera icon with a big red cross on your bottom right corner screen.

The game doesn’t offer many weapons. As Dr. Jekyll, you’re only equipped with a walking stick and as Mr. Hyde just with your hairy hands. To transform into Mr. Hyde you’ll need a potion and pure water located in various locations during the game. First take the potion from your inventory, then go to the water container and press the action button.

Most of the characters that you'll encounter are Chinese guards, lunatics, vampires, and even robots. It doesn’t require much strategy to defeat them just run up, hit them with a few quick blows, and they’re down. However, the robot creatures don’t die so the only thing that you can do is whack them on the head which will stun them momentarily so that you can then run away.

Saving is a big problem in this game. You’re only able to save your game at certain checkpoints when a pocket watch appears briefly on the bottom left of the screen. Once you’re dead instead of re-appearing at your last saved location, you have to restart the entire level and you can’t by pass the cut scenes. That means you have to do certain sequences over and over again until you get all the parts right. Plus, you’re not allowed to name your saved games, and it only allows six saved game slots.

Overall, it was disappointing that an interesting plot that started out promising descended quickly into frustrating jumping puzzles, terrible game controls, and very annoying camera angles.

Overall Score: 65%

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