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Attack of the Mutant
by Keith Estanol
Once more .. in the face of cold defeat and the approaching
onslaught of corporate games, another screaming warrior
representing creativity, awesome graphics and excellent gameplay
is thrown into the fray. Attack of the Mutant Penguins has
arrived and invasion is nigh! This time they don't even make the
pretense of a good plot, just some head-bangin' action and plenty
of laughs! In this game, a horde of aliens disguising themselves
as what they think the earth's dominant species is (penguins)
invade the earth and threaten to blow it to bits with a doomsday
device. This causes some concern amongst the real penguins and
they catch the attention of Rodney and Bernard, the Galaxy's
foremost do-gooders. Rodney's armed with a frying pan and
Bernard's armed with a baseball bat. Seems unlikely to stop a
horde of aliens? Think again!
- Opening Screens and Intros:
- The very first opening screens aren't so good,
with nothing else but the title and instructions
for going into the game (press A B or C and such
drek). However .. the screen for picking which
character you want to play is VERY good. The
background for this screen looks like it's True
Color and the animations of the characters as you
rotate them is very smooth and fluid. The
characters themselves look very detailed and well
done. When selecting a character, they loom up
close to the screen and do the pixellation bit.
At this point though, who cares?
- In Game Backgrounds:
- The in-game playing area and backgrounds are
small at first but get bigger. All in all, these
are AWESOME! Not as good as Highlander's
backgrounds, but they come pretty darned close.
They're very detailed with many different types
of textures on them. The 3D playing field
contrasts nicely with the flat background and
there is very nice movement on all the planes
that the playing field occupies.
- In Game Character Graphics:
- The character sprites are excellently drawn and
animated. The fake penguins and the real penguins
all move like what you'd expect, that is,
waddling around. Rodney and Bernard are both
drawn very well, and move excellently. However,
when you stop movement, wether you were moving
diagnoal or straight, your character would stop
in one of the 4 cardinal directions. A quirck
that I didn't mind much.
- Bonus Games Backgrounds:
- Game bonuses backgrounds are very nicely done,
although not as good as the in-game backgrounds.
The color choices contrast nicely with the guns,
water, and/or invading ships.
- Bonus Games Character Graphics:
- All character movements in the bonus games are
smooth and fluid. The sprites for the characters
themselves are very good, even if only 1 out of 3
are 3D while 2 are 2D. All in all, very good
- In Game Music:
- For the most part, there is no in-game music.
There was someone who said that this might be due
to the limitations in bandwidth. I thought so too
until I played a level where you could put a coin
in the jukebox and music played while the sound
effects kept coming and I kept bopping the mutant
penguins. So now I think that the lack of music
in most of the game may be due to game design and
not a limitation in bandwidth. If the game were
designed so that some of the machines produced
music, then it would be really hard to integrate
in game music with that in mind.
- In Game Sound Effects:
- Very crisp sounding! The heavy breathing of the
doom device sounds like it's in stereo. Each is
appropriate to the task, and there is a lot of
humor kept in mind for this game.
- Bonus Games Music:
- None here, although game design wouldn't
necessarily disallow music at this point .. Hmm
- Bonus Games Sound Effects:
- Same as in-game sound effects.
- The gameplay is what RULED about this game! What you do
as either Rodney or Bernard is to stop the doomsday
machine from blowing up the earth. You have a variety of
playfields to get through to do this. How do you do it?
You find gremlins and use them to drop into machines
which can kill the alien penguins, dropping them into
treasure chests which give you either the parts to your
weapon or other goodies such as powerups, extra gremlins,
extra penguins, etc etc. Your goal is to prevent the
alien penguins from getting to the other side of the
scale of the doomsday machine and to get the good
penguins on your side of the doomsday machine. If too
many alien penguins get on their side of the scale, the
machine goes off and you are hosed. You can prevent them
from getting there and bopping them with your weapon,
blowing them up with the dynamite or activating a machine
to do your killing for you. The thing with the weapons is
that you can't kill them right away, you have to grab the
powerups to power your weapon to 'killing mode', which
can kill both good and evil penguins so you have to be
really careful. The other weird thing is that your
character can't use the 3D constructs in the playing
field, but the other characters can. Your character can
use the teleporters to get from place to place though. As
the game progresses, you get different, bigger, and more
complex playing fields, as well as better machines,
different powerups (the samurai powerup comes to mind).
There are a number of good solutions in each playing
field so you have a choice as to what you can do. Do you
powerup all the machines first or do you open all the
treasure boxes? Should you open this switch to release
all the good penguins or wait until later? Ahh ..the
power of choice. Make the wrong one and it's one toasty
- Bonus Games!!!
- There are 3 bonus games that go in between the
playing fields. When you finish a stage, you get
to a bonus game, which consists of: Penguin
Range, Penguin Attack and Penguin Control.
- Penguin Range consists
of a crosshair and two guns which fire at
wherever you target. These targets are
various baddies, which include penguins
or other things.
- Penguin Attack is your
basic space invaders clone, and you get
three lives to complete it.
- Penguin Control is where
you get 3 guns which have various ranges
and you lob balls at either long,
mid-range, or short-range targets. Your
score determines the amount of extra
penguins you get for the next round.
What I liked:
- The graphics!
- The sound!
- The gameplay!
- The innovation!
What I didn't like:
- The fact that there are some areas that your character
can walk into and disappears into. Oh well, tough
cookies. You didn't sign up for a picnic.
--Keith C. Estanol
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