AGH Atari 7800 Review:

by Atari

Midnight Mutants was made in the waning days of the 7800's existance, and as a result was a more advanced game than the earlier arcade ports and 2600 upgrades. It is also a fairly obscure game to most, which is a shame because it is one of the best on the system.

The plot, in typical 80's video game style, makes little sense. You are Grandpa's (from the munsters . . . how's that for licensing?) grandson, and he has been trapped in a Plasmic Pumpkin by the sinister Dr. Evil. Ooohhh . . . EVIL . . . anyways, it's your job to save his life and free him from the pumpkin. At your disposal are various weapons and powerups, ranging from a lame-o dagger to the ever sweet super blaster. Also, you get to tote around health upgrades and various tools, like crosses and lanterns. All is not beer and skittles however, since Dr. Evil has amassed his forces against you. You will have to do battle with zombies, bats, werewolf things, and some wierd green thing with legs. Grandpa is also there to help, providing hints, clues, and really wierd biographies of the bosses (a feared optometrist? Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall during Atari's game planning sessions?)

What makes this game neat is that it kind of plays like Zelda. There are numerous screens and areas to visit, like graveyards, mansions, woods, etc, and the isometric perspective seperates it from the standard platform games of the time. It also is very non-linear, which makes for an enjoyable game, since it doesn't get stale all that quickly.

The difficulty level isn't very high once you get the big guns, but the game is still enjoyable, and hey, it's got Plasmic Pumpkins (What the heck is a plasmic pumpkin, anyways?)!!

Graphics- Graphics are good. There are many various screens, all drawn well, and the bosses are very impressive looking (especially the first boss.) Grandpa looks his usual sexy self, which I'm sure will please the ladies . . . he he he. A few quibbles, though. The effect used when you kill a boss is just ugly. It basically re-arranges the pixels for what feels like five minutes while your character stands around. Icky. Also, the isometric perspective makes it hard to move around and dodge enemies some time, but once you get used to that, it's easy. Well done. And the zombies blow up real good, too.

Sound- as in most 7800 games, the sound here is rather weak. The heartbeat in the opening movie sounds like static, and the in game tunes are nothing special, although some are a little catchy. Sound effects are barely noticable.

Gameplay- This is where the game struts around, flexing its massive calves. The inventory system, viewpoint, and variety give it a great adventure feel, and the enemies are plentiful enough for some good violence. Once you get the super blaster and all the health upgrades and proceed to kill everything without any worries, you'll feel like Burt Reynolds and appreciate the beauty of this game.

Title Midnight Mutants
Publisher Atari
System Atari 7800
Graphics 8
Sound 4
Gameplay 8
Overall 8
Reviewer Matthew Lippart

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