Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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"When Robert Louis Stevenson wrote his story about a doctor who makes a potion that exposes his inner evil, he didn't realize that the potion would become a reality. Not in the form of chemistry, but through a late 20th century interactive electronic apparatus. Awful music, dreadful graphics, unspeakable gameplay, deceptive enemies, unavoidable hazards, useless weaponry, all mixed together and calculated just right, THAT is a horrible concoction!"
The Angry Video Game Nerd
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
DrJekyllandMrHydeNES.jpg
"ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, you ruined my life!" - The Angry Video Game Nerd
Protagonist(s): Dr. Jekyll
Mr. Hyde
Genre(s): Action
Platform(s): Nintendo Entertainment System
Release date: JP: April 8, 1988
NA: April 1989
Developer(s): Advance Communication Co.
Publisher(s): JP: Toho
NA: Bandai
Made in: Japan
Franchise: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, known in Japan as Jekyll Hakase no Homa ga Toki (Jikiru hakase no Homa ga Toki, officially translated Dr. Jekyll's Hour Of The Wandering Monstrosity), is a 1988 video game developed by Advance Communications Company and published by Toho in Japan, and Bandai (who eventually merged with Namco in 2005 to form Bandai-Namco) in North America for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is based on the 1886 novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Plot

In Victorian London, Dr. Henry Jekyll makes a potion that has separated the good and evil aspects of his personality. He is also on his way to the church to marry Miss Millicent, but the townspeople, animals, and obstacles wants him dead. Should he get too stressed out from it, he becomes... MISTER HYDE!! and fights monsters in the world of demons. The game has two endings:

Good Ending

After Mister Edward Hyde kills all the monsters in the world of demons, he reaches the church, morphs back into Dr. Jekyll, and the townspeople, animals, and obstacles have disappeared. Jekyll eventually marries Miss Millicent (both slowly walk) as an 8-bit version of "The Wedding March" by Felix Mendelssohn starts playing and a wordmark saying "END" appears. Then, the screen fades to black and a lightning bolt, along with a dark picture of Hyde with a Christian cross on his back appear, and the music stops.

Bad Ending

After Jekyll avoids the townspeople, animals, and obstacles, makes his way to church, where he eventually marries Miss Millicent as an 8-bit version of "The Wedding March" by Felix Mendelssohn starts playing, and then the same END wordmark appears.

Why It Sucks

  1. Dr. Jekyll's cane has zero uses except for killing bees and defusing bombs; trying to hit anything else with the cane only increases his stress.
  2. When Jekyll becomes Edward Hyde he's able to punch and use the "psycho-wave" to kill enemies and get his stress down. However this projectile fires out in an unpredictable pattern, making it difficult to hit anything with, plus, Dr. Jekyll moves and jumps incredibly slow, making the game tedious to play.
  3. The Jekyll/Hyde mechanic isn't the least bit intuitive and will make players wonder why they keep dying almost as soon as the game starts until they realise how it works. The further into the level you are as Jekyll, the more space you have to get rid of your stress as Hyde, since when Hyde reaches the position where Jekyll transformed, he will be struck by lightning and die instantly (the manual says this is because evil is not supposed to overcome good).
  4. Every other seemingly innocent character in the game is out to kill Dr. Jekyll (given a weak justification that the slingshot kid named Billy Pones is also in love with Jekyll's wife-to-be and is jealous of him), the worst being a man dressed in purple simply named "The Bomb Maniac" who constantly rushes past you and drops deadly bombs.
  5. The blast radius of the bombs and how much damage/stress they give to Jekyll seems almost completely random. You can be on the other side of the screen and still take damage; in order to avoid this, run away from the bomb when it's dropped, then jump just before the bomb detonates.
  6. The barrels in level 6 are also completely random with little if any logical purpose.
  7. The game has poor and sluggish controls even worse than the ones from A Nightmare on Elm Street, making it very hard to hit enemies with Mr. Hyde's punch and also hard to dodge multiple enemies at once, especially without getting hit.
  8. Coins can only be collected when playing as Hyde (at least in the US version) and their only purpose in the game is to bribe the tone deaf Elena McCowen to shut up. (She is described as such in the manual, explaining why her singing causes Jekyll stress).
    • Using Jekyll's cane on Elena makes him instantly turn into Hyde.
  9. To get the real ending you have to become Hyde in the final level (his final level is completely different to the level you play as Jekyll) and fight a boss, after which Jekyll has to also walk through the final level which is now free of enemies.
  10. The only helpful NPC in the game (when you enter her house she restores your meter and gives you a huge amount of coins) was removed from the US version due to it being a reference to prostitution.
  11. The US version has fewer levels (two levels removed from the Japanese version were replaced with repeats of earlier levels) and the level order was shuffled around.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Michiharu Hasuya did a great job at fitting the soundtrack into the tone of this game.
    • The Wise Man's Chamber theme from Rygar returns here as the title screen theme, only in G major instead of A major. It's composed by the same person.
    • The intentionally awful Elena McCowen singing. - Not at all like the music we hear the whole fucking game! - AVGN
    • Hyde's theme has many long, very high-pitched, loud synth notes.
  2. Depending on your point of view, the graphics are okay for their time, as the color palette isn't too bad, and it shows decent and surprisingly good details.

Reception

Reception became more negative as time went on, e.g. a 19/40 score from Famitsu in 2004, and then Eurogamer's placing this as the #8 worst game of the 80s spot in 2018.

It is also well known for being The Angry Video Game Nerd's most hated game. In fact, it is James Rolfe's most hated game in real life. On his Shit Scale, this game is on a level of its own: red, between orange (severe, games that are so bad they can kill a person) and major code red (games that don't even qualify as games at all).

The game is #6 on the list of "Top 10 Super Kusoges of All-Time".

Videos

Trivia

  • In November 2015, the game was spoofed by Rolfe in a fake trailer.
  • The hand in the title screen of the game is serving as a favicon of this very wiki.

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