Dr. Mutoby Stephen Cameron
September 29, 2002
Midway is giving you yet another chance to dig deep into the silliness that is so unique to Dr. Muto. Muto looks like someone threw Heart of Darkness and Cats and Dogs into a blender for a freaky 3D smoothie that could start a cult following.
The level design and overall graphic look of Dr. Muto is not by any means a next generation phenomenon. It breaks no boundaries. So, super-frenzied lovers of the latest and newest in game design might simply give Muto’s the once-over and look to some newer game. But that's not Muto’s gig. What this game does so well, despite the game's strange 3D trappings, is create a fully immersive world in which you immediately like your character, their humor, their odd transformation, and...(must I say it?) their cuteness.
Muto belongs to the “simple gameplay” school of thought. In other words, you won’t have to memorize any joystick combinations like we have seen in other platform games. Players control different characters throughout the game. Of course, each particular character features his own unique attributes, be it strengths or weaknesses. The kicker is that, during the course of the game, players will need to take control of all the different characters in order to advance. It goes according to what obstacles lye ahead, it all works something like this: While controlling Dr. Muto, you find that no matter what you do, you simply can't fit threw the tiny little hole that lies at your feet, there for you will have to transform into the mouse to navigate threw the miniature obstacles. Because of this, particular areas of each level remain locked until the correct character is selected and going through the same level multiple times still delivers a fresh, original experience, which no doubt works wonders to extend the game's life. The idea is simple and it has been done before, but it’s always as addictive as the last attempt. But Midway has evidently figured a way around making this process completely less tedious and repetitive with a unique gadget that let’s you transform yourself at anytime during the game into a set of different animals, but in order to transform yourself into a particular animal you’ll have to collect some isotopes which will enable you to create different kinds of formulas (potions).
Characters are manipulated using a very simple setup. A button to jump, B button to manipulate objects with your gizmo, X button to shock enemies and Y to transform yourself into various animals. You can center the camera by pressing the black button and you will be able to circle you character using the right thumbstick. The animation routines in Dr. Muto are certainly some of Midway’s best. Everything flows seamlessly with top fluidity and smoothness. It really looks spectacular.
The biggest difficulty gamers will have to overcome in this game, is the camera system. While not a completely static camera, you can’t control the angle at which you view the action at all times. This could lead to missing important power-ups or being unable to see an incoming enemy attack (missing platforms and landing in the toxic waste below is also a bit frustrating).
If you still like platform games, you will not be disappointed when Dr. Muto comes out later this year. It plays very well and has raised the bar for the genre with a very involving one-player experience.