Hey, you remember the
Atari? Of course you do. Heck, the average reader of I-Mockery is
old enough to remember all of the Atari systems, even the
oft-forgotten Atari 7800. It was a pretty neat system, I must say.
Unfortunately, its chief competitor, the NES, was also a pretty neat
system, and it had a lot more games, was easier to find, and so on.
Anyway, the 7800 had some decent games, too (including the infamous
Ninja Golf). Most couldn't really compete with standard NES
fare, but one exception to that rule is a delightful bit of
Halloween gaming fun called Midnight Mutants.
Your eyes do not
deceive you; Grandpa "Grampa" Munster appears on the cover of this
game. What's the connection, you ask? I don't know. Why is a single
Spaghetti-O dribbling out of his mouth? No idea. The brief
introductory cutscene to the game is of no help either.
So from the intro,
I've gathered that an evil man of some sort has returned from the
grave to wreak havoc. What's worse, he appears to have the power
transform pumpkins into vicious dogs and change old men back into
pumpkins! I believe him to be named Jack O' something. Anyway,
thanks to the wonders of the syllogism, I went into the game
assuming that it was my job to stop this man from using the elderly
to create an army of bloodthirsty hounds. Not so.
The game manual explains that the evil man in question is "Dr.
Evil", and he has risen from the grave to take revenge on those who
had him burned at the stake. Since there aren't any of those people
left, he takes out his frustration on Grampa, trapping him in a "plasmic
pumpkin". You then take on the role of "Jimmy", a lad who must save
his granpappy by paying Dr. Evil his ransom of...
"One million dollars!"
Seriously, though, you
have to stop him. He's a warlock, and you can't have people like
that running loose.
Let this be a lesson
for all of you: this is what happens when you don't have a Halloween
costume picked out and ready for the big night. Don't be a Jimmy!!
This all must be a little overwhelming for a young boy like Jimmy.
Luckily, he can communicate telepathically with his enpumpkined
grandfather. He'll steer you through what would otherwise be a
directionless exercise in futility. He'll also dispense personal
wisdom every now and then:
Ok, bad example.
You start out the game with nothing but your blue jeans and the
shirt on your back. Neither will protect you from the denizens of
the underworld as hell itself opens its great maw to swallow you
whole, so step one is to find yourself a weapon. Doing so is pretty
easy if you know where you're going, and why wouldn't you? Grampa
clearly explains that there's a knife "in the west of the mansion,"
so head in that direction, and don't go snooping around. You're a
defenseless child, and the consequences for dawdling are dire
I don't need to tell
you that it's very difficult to make a comeback from being tackled
and devoured by a dog. Furthermore, in addition to your health,
you'll also need to keep an eye on your blood "purity". Sure, a
zombie ripping your head off is hazardous to your health, but so is
a scratch from an angry crow, just in a different way.
As you move from scene to scene, you'll also be given snippets of
the plot in no particular order by way of the info bar at the top of
Who are these
occult-sounding people the bar keeps mentioning? You won't have any
idea early on in the game, though if you play long enough, you'll
start to get a vague picture of what's going on with these people.
Not much of a narrative device, if you ask me. Fortunately, Grampa
chimes in at the appropriate moment to fill in the rest of the
details as they become most relevant, namely just before you have to
fight that person.
Genetic experiments on
rams? And now this Yagermeister fellow has turned into the skull of
a vampiric were-ram? Awesome. I suppose a ram's skull could be
somewhat deadly, even though it's not that big or...
And that's just the ram doctor. Things really get rough when you
have to face off with Damon Mohler, the evil optometrist who died
after receiving an eye transplant using a pair of eyes from his
collection of eyeballs soaking in a container full of blood.
I've got to say,
Grampa Munster doesn't seem like a really useful guy, but he is a
regular historian when it comes to homicidal maniacs. Still, I'll
bet he wishes he'd skipped that book on murderous scientists and
read that other book on carving man-sized holes into pumpkins from
the inside. Hindsight is 20/20, I guess.
Giant skulls are only a warm-up, however, for the final
confrontation with the M.D. of Villainy, Dr. Evil.
Now, I expected this
to be a tough fight, and I wasn't disappointed there. The thing is,
the info bar had said that the good doctor could summon the undead
at will, and yet the enormous bust of the doctor uses only one
attack: he fires squids and locusts from his ears. I'm sure they're
meant to be some kind of demons from hell, but even with that in
mind, they still come from his ears. And you have to shoot his ears
to kill him! The hell, you say? It's all in a day's work for Jimmy
the Mutant Slayer.
Once you've defeated Dr. Evil, Grampa will be free!
ending! I defeated the forces of darkness, and now I get to hang
around with my grandfather while he chants in the middle of a
You'd better have some candy for me, old man.
Midnight Mutants - The Atari 7800 Game!]
the game manual (comes in VERY handy)]
note: To play
the game you'll need to download the
appropriate emulator which can be found basically anywhere.
If you enjoyed this
piece, be sure to check out:
Chiller: The Arcade Game!
A Nightmare On Elm Street:
Freddy's Forgotten PC Game!