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Midnight Mutants!

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. Poor Atari.

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.

Moving on...

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 indeed.

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 the screen.

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...

Oh my.

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!

Alright, AWESOME 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 pumpkin patch.

You'd better have some candy for me, old man.

-Dr. Boogie
 


[Download Midnight Mutants - The Atari 7800 Game!]

[Download 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!

AND


A Nightmare On Elm Street:
Freddy's Forgotten PC Game!


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