Dr. Muto (PS2)

Review

posted 12/17/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
You’ve got to hand it to Midway, they have a great knack of taking well-established genres and injecting their own flair and style into them. While Midway has been known for creating some impressive over the top titles (NHL Hitz, Mortal Kombat) they’re not exactly the foremost authority when it comes to 3D platformers. This is all about to change.

The game’s namesake refers to the main protagonist, a mad scientist whose invention inadvertently blows up his planet into a million pieces. Beginning with an excellently rendered cutscene (not to mention hilarious), this game gets off to a running start. You’ll immediately notice that the emphasis of the game has been placed on the more twisted side of the spectrum. Your main goal is to reunite the chunks of your planet and prove once and for all that you’re not the demented loser that the rest of the world thinks you are. How are you going to do this, you ask? By traveling to other planets and stealing parts for your new contraption of course.

You’ll start out controlling the human form of Dr. Muto but as you progress, you’ll soon realize the game’s main attraction, morphing. By utilizing a remote control, you can transform Muto into creatures resembling a rat, a gorilla, a spider and more. Each of them, in addition to being a fun and unique experience, serve a specific purpose. Early on you’ll need to transform into a rat so that you can enter a sewer duct to retrieve an object.

In order to gain new transformations you’ll have to capture DNA from various creatures that are scattered across the land. Some of them (such as the gorilla) require only a few DNA samples while others require a significantly higher number. While it can be said that the gamer is being rewarded for their hard work, I felt that this makes the game more tedious than it should have been. It’s very akin to the unlocking of new vehicles in racing games, it’s an un-necessary artificial boundary that seems to artificially manufacture gameplay.

I really enjoyed my time with the game as it features some of the best level designs that I’ve seen in a platforming game this year. The level designers managed to avoid a pitfall that seems to plague most 3D platformers. By providing levels that are constantly attractive and entertaining, it makes the game worth playing. Most times you’ll see a developer blow their entire load in their first few levels and fill in the rest of the world with uninspired lands, this simply isn’t the case here. Each level is fun and you’ll be curious to find out what awaits you next.
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