One of the more interesting games to be released for
the PC in some time, Jekyll & Hyde takes the Horror/Fantasy gaming genre
onto a strange and intriguing path through the dark and seedy underbelly of 19th
century London. Based loosely upon the classic Robert Lewis Stevenson novel ‘Dr.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’, the latest release from In Utero and Dreamcatcher Games
pays homage to the classic horror-esque writings with its own brilliant scripted
storylines and plot, as well as with its captivating set of graphics and
animation. Playing Jekyll & Hyde is truly a unique gaming experience that
should entertain those looking for something different slightly darker and
foreboding in their gameplay.
Based upon the classic horror novel ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ by famed author and adventurer Robert Lewis Stevenson, Jekyll & Hyde (the game) is an action based 3rd person Horror/Fantasy noir thriller set in the dark underbelly of late 19th century London. Many years have passed since Dr. Henry Jekyll’s now infamous experiments with human duality in regards to good and evil, with his focus now centered around the care of his beloved young daughter as well as the day to day operations of a London Asylum as its chief director. One dark and stormy night will change the doctors life as a mysterious and insane patient escapes captivity and kidnaps Jekyll’s daughter, forcing the doctor to once again return to his clandestine experiments and resurrect the evil that resides within himself: the notorious Mr. Hyde. Now, both sides of Jekyll’s nature must descend into bowels of 19th century England as well as push the boundaries of his own sanity in order to rescue his daughter and solve the greater mystery afoot that threatens all of Victorian London.
The gameplay of Jekyll & Hyde is not unlike other 3rd person action/adventure games that have proceeded it, utilizing the 3-D rotating world aspect in order to control the main character’s positioning and overall direction. It also utilizes an independent control feature that gives the player the ability to rotate the surrounding world to help pinpoint the direction of your character more precisely. Awkward and difficult to master at first, this form of character control does come in handy during trickier moments of play when precise control over the Jekyll or Hyde is needed. Various camera angles used throughout the game in different levels also make this atypical form of control a much appreciated addition.
After learning how to control the character, Jekyll & Hyde becomes relatively a relatively easy to jump into and play, not to mention appreciate. As the title of the game suggest, all of the action and adventure surround the dual characters of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as he/they journey through the course of the game. The character of Jekyll is needed for certain types of gameplay that happens to be more articulate in nature, utilizing the inventory of items that can be obtained during Jekyll & Hyde. The doctor’s character can manipulate items, objects, and the environment with much more accuracy, and is needed during certain aspects of the game. At other times, the character of Mr. Hyde becomes useful as well a necessity: his brute strength, fighting prowess, and overall nasty demeanor can be a means to an end, and help you out of many situation during the game. The ability to change from one persona to the other isn’t dictated by the player, however, but instead by the game’s situation and overall environment. If the need arises, the player will find the means to transform into one character or the other…if he or she pays enough attention to the subtleties found within the game.
Jekyll & Hyde may be similar to other 3rd person games when it comes to overall gameplay, what makes it truly stand out and shine among the competition is the aesthetics and production values involved in its development. For starters, the artwork and rendering involved with the character and environments goes well beyond the bounderies for creativity and originality in this reviewer’s opinion. The game creators at In Utero and Cryo have opted out of the traditional ‘true to life’ modeling found in other similar games, and instead have used a more surreal and animated approach to
Jekyll & Hyde. The in-game characters each have their own unique physical traits and characteristics that may seem odd to view at first, but grow on you in time: very similar to the ‘new-school’ philosophy of exaggerated animation found in such cartoon TV series of late, such as Power-Puff Girls, Samurai Jack, and Ren &Stimpy. The background artwork for the various environments used within the game are also highly detailed and beautifully rendered, yet still have a nightmarish and surreal quality to them that really has no comparison to base upon. It’s just simply stunning to view while playing the game.
High caliber voice acting and a well orchestrated soundtrack are also positive traits of Jekyll & Hyde’s production. The people used to voiceover the major characters found within the many cinematics of the game were not only well trained and believable as British actors, but also had an extremely well written script to work with throughout the game. The eerie mood of the game was also helped out significantly with the addition of an extremely well produced soundtrack that accompanied the action and cutscenes hand and hand throughout the entirety of Jekyll & Hyde. Proof again that the developers of the game went to great lengths to produce a quality game well above the others.
As a complete package, Jekyll & Hyde proved itself to be a quality title worthy to any fan of the 3rd Person Action/Horror genre. If the intricate detail and uniqueness of the surreal characters/bosses and environments found within the game do not win you over immediately, the numerous and varied in-game levels (which turn out to be almost 50 hours of continuous gaming time) along with a base MSRP of $19.99 should be enough to change anyone’s mind about giving this special title a try.