Ah, the late 80s...
A vigorous constitutional, you will take.
DEVELOPER: Advance Communication Company
GENRE: It's somethin'
RELEASE DATE: April 1989
What a horrible night to have a curse, indeed. I'm not sure whether to call this game an abominable pile of excrement, a meditation on the torment in controlling one's dual nature, or an insight into the hypocrisy of the wealthy and powerful. Perhaps it's all of the above, but let's not draw conclusions just yet. What say we begin in reverse order, eh wot! To the parlor room for a cigar and some brandy!
Insight into Hypocrisy: Dr. Jekyll's goal for the afternoon is to take his daily constitutional through the town, the cemetery, the park, and the street. He has his humble walking cane about him and he can jab it at people and animals, but he doesn't wish to bring harm upon anyone, so he keeps it by his side. However, the townsfolk, who are all very well-to-do, wish to do harm to Jekyll and enrage him, so that he will turn into Mr. Hyde. Case in point: the gentleman with the top hat - who may or may not be a Bolshevik revolutionary disguised as a dignitary – leaving bombs next to the good doctor. He does it over and over again, and yet, does anyone enforce the law in the town? Supposedly decent women ensconced in ruffles and topped off with a parasol snicker and pass the doctor while the offense is occurring, as if nothing is happening. Should Jekyll decide to raise his cane and defend himself, he should suffer the consequences and slowly turn into Mr. Hyde. Fair? Reasonable? Impropriety, as my shirt is stuffed!
Meditation in Dual Nature Control and All That
There comes a point during Dr. Jekyll's engagement with the cobblestone where the enemies simply disappear. The young rapscallions that were shooting rocks at him cease their war cries. Dogs decide he isn't worth the effort to bite. Crows realize there are other places to defecate than on a man's head. Then, and only then, is Dr. Jekyll's walk a tranquil one. He is free to take in the surprisingly detailed backgrounds of the town where he has lived and practiced "medicine" for the past twenty-five years; a town where, until recently, he believed he had friends. Yes, the backgrounds of the town and the cemetery are varied and colorful, and when taken as a simple visual construct, are impressive. Having this spare time also allows you to reflect on your unfortunate nature. Perhaps the townspeople know of your fate and are trying to destroy you in a very public and boorish spectacle. However, that wouldn't be very proper. How best to fix your untimely and ill-begotten curse? Once you begin to devise a plan, your walk will be interrupted. The Bolsheviks never hold back their bombs for long.
Is This Pile of Confusion Really Supposed to be a Game?
You don't actually do anything in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You don't have an attack, you just avoid everything. Getting hit by a bomb is the worst because it will automatically reduce you to Hyde status. Once in Hyde status, the scenic world as you know changes into an obscene hellhole. The Snooty McSnootersteins are revealed for the misshapen ghouls they really were, but hey, you can punch them now without fear of reprisal. Once you progress to the place you were as Jekyll as Hyde, the game ends and Hyde collapses on the ground, dead. What?! I wanted to play a game, not input a bunch of my own useless subtext. Still, the fact that I inferred all of that tripe is kind of impressive. I also admire the chutzpah this game has, where the goal is to do absolutely nothing across six demented stages. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde might be one of the the lamest, most useless games ever created, but it got me thinking and wondering and questioning. Much like the game's namesake(s), I'm conflicted.