The Roach Game Redux
||(Win98/Me/XP) (Retail Box) (BADMOJOPR)
Pulse Entertainment/ Got
3 1/2 (out of 4) stars from HomePC
4 stars from Computer Gaming
A- from PC Games
84% from PC Gamer
Gold - Strategy/Puzzle Game Title from New Media's 1996
Cult Classic Returns with Bonus
Play Bad Mojo for a few hours and you'll never look at a
cockroach the same way again. In fact, I'm not sure you'll look at anything in
quite the same way after you steer your sleek-bodied, chitinous little alter
ego over, under, around, and through some of the most visually disturbing,
nasty terrain this side of a New Jersey garbage scow.
In Bad Mojo, the creative yahoos at Pulse Entertainment
have taken Kafka's insect-metamorphosis concept and applied it to a
puzzle-laced, Myst-like adventure. They've dropped the whole thing into a
nauseatingly stunning landscape of dead rats, cigarette butts, rust, brackish
water, and used razor blades.
But once you get over that first queasy gagging reflex,
you're off on a remarkable and quite unique adventure. The game's artwork is
superbly realistic, right down to your roach's shifting shadow. And there are
plenty of good, solid puzzles, as well as an air of mystery that will totally
The action is set inside a dilapidated brick building along
San Francisco's waterfront. In an upstairs apartment, a rather agitated
entomologist named Roger Samms is packing a suitcase full of cash, preparing
for a hasty exit out of the country. But when he picks up an antique locket,
it's Bad Mojo time--a twisted spell suddenly transforms him into a cockroach.
That's all you've got to go on as you begin to explore six
different rooms in the grimy, garbage-ridden building. You're not quite sure
what you're supposed to do, but you are very sure that you don't like
being Roger the Roach.
Navigating as a roach through a rundown building offers an
entirely new perspective on life and all sorts of life threats, from aggressive
rats and spiders to a gas burner or a slab of flypaper. Roaches, on the whole,
may ultimately outlive all of humanity and inherit the earth, but
individual roaches lead nasty, solitary, brutal lives. Especially in Bad
Success in the game requires that you understand your
limitations. Your arms are too short to box with anybody, so don't look for any
Mortal Kombat-style combo attacks or finishing moves. You're a roach. About all
you can do is use your head...in more ways than one. In addition to thinking
creatively, you'll also have to push things around with your little noggin.
Useless bottle caps become bridges if pushed in the right direction. And just
imagine what you can do with a cigarette butt.
Part of Bad Mojo's appeal is being able to see the world
through different eyes. One of the ingenious elements throughout the game is
how the designers force you to think differently about your surrounding
environment. Rarely can you solve puzzles by obvious, human means.
Another engaging aspect of the game is the allure of the
mystery itself. Immediately there are the obvious questions--Why Roger? Why a
roach?--but soon, a larger mystery begins to unfold as you receive clues from
an oracle who helps you along the way. There are also a few kindred insect
spirits who provide other pieces of information.
But for the most part you'll be entertained by using your
little roach wits to figure out how to solve the various puzzles in each of the
six rooms. The puzzles are mostly very well constructed and fair. By this I
mean that you don't run into puzzles that are completely unsolvable or require
such arcane knowledge as the name of Jupiter's third moon. This isn't to say
that the puzzles are easy. But they're not impossible.
Clearly, some gamers are not going to enjoy Bad Mojo's
dirty, rundown, disgusting universe. And those who found Myst simply too static
and slow-moving to enjoy will feel the same way about Bad Mojo. But with its
exceptionally well-crafted artwork, the subtle complexities within its puzzles,
and its unique atmosphere of mystery, I found myself completely drawn in.
Give this little roach game a chance to work its mojo on
By Selby Bateman. Selby Bateman has been
writing about computer games and personal computers for over a dozen years. He
is the former editor of PC Gamer, Computer Entertainment News, CD-ROM Today,
Game Players, Compute, and several other technology magazines. He is also the
co-author of two computer-game strategy books.
System Requirements PC: 486/66, 8MB RAM, mouse, Sound
Blaster-compatible sound cards supported, 2X CD-ROM drive, 20MB disk space,
Mac: 68040, 8MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, System 7.0
Computer Gaming World, June
"A fascinating thing about Bad Mojo is the overhead
view of yourself as the cockroach scurrying about as you move using the four
arrow keys. The animation of the scuttling roach is remarkable. Its movements
are extremely life-like, especially when it scuffles and struggles through a
barrier, or when its legs are caught in something sticky. You aren't the only
bug around; there are plenty of other animated roaches scuttling around the
screen to keep you company. They don't interact with you, but provide an
excellent atmosphere. Passing their broken bodies scattered all over the
building gives a real sense of foreboding as you navigate through pest strips
and roach motels."
"Bad Mojo centers around exploration and discovery,
rather than action. There are puzzles, of course, but most of them aren't
lethal. Some puzzles test your survival skills like navigating around a roach
motel or killing a spider. Other puzzles are barrier problems, how do you get
from the paper towel dispenser to the floor, when wet paint covers the walls?
The rest just advance the plot and move you through your quest of finding a way
to change yourself back into a human being. Since you have no hands, you can't
manipulate objects in the usual way, but as a cockroach equipped with human
intelligence, you aren't exactly helpless. It's amazing how many puzzles can be
solved by pushing objects with your head.
"But there's more to this game than great graphics and
puzzles. It's also a story about discovery and enlightenment. As our hero
scurries from room to room, he quite practically gets a new perspective of
himself, of his environment..."
"All in all, Bad Mojo is just the thing for gamers
who truly hunger for something unique and totally off the beaten track. If
anyone does crave a comparison, oddly enough, I'd say that Bad Mojo
resembles Myst. Despite the difference in sensibilities, both games
involve puzzles and exploration against stunning visual backdrops."
HomePC, March 1996
"Welcome to the underside of a seedy waterfront building at
the base of San Francisco's Bay Bridge. And when we say underside, we mean it:
In Bad Mojo, you'll poke around a basement, a toilet and a maggot-infested
kitchen from the perspective of a cockroach.
"If that doesn't send you running for the Raid, and if you
can deal with photo-realistic dead rats and spiders, the game will carry you on
a joyous journey to the dark side. Bad Mojo means 'evil magic,' the sinister
force that transformed Dr. Roger Samms into a roach. It's your job to uncover
the power behind the spell and aid its unfortunate victim. (Aside form the
obvious, parallels to Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis are few: Samms' cat is named
Franz, and Roger Samms is almost an anagram for Gregor Samsa.)"
"Given the remarkable staying power of the average roach,
the game allows you to be 'killed' up to three times per screen before you're
tossed back tot he beginning of the game. That said, save often - some puzzles
are less forgiving than the local exterminator."
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