A review by André 27th August 2002
Whether the comic adventure "Mutation of J. B." fell into oblivion, because it was actually conceived for DOS or if it's connected with the very cute but childlike graphics, I don't know. I played the game with my Pentium 1 under Windows 95 problem-free and was in no way disappointed. Because "Mutation of J. B." turned out to be an unexpected highlight which plays with the childlike graphics, in order to let then the nasty scenes look even meaner.
"Mutation of J. B." is a classic comic adventure in 3rd-person-perspective. According to the age of the game and requiring getting used to, one sees only individual scenes. Additionally also the music breaks off and starts again with each scene change. From today's view this looks a bit ill-assorted. There are also no scolling transitions in the whole game, but that isn't disturbing. One notices fast that "Mutation of J. B." is designed with much love for details. I don't like to compare J. B. with other games regarding the style, since it is very independent. But for your orientation: regarding the graphics quality J. B. can be compared with "Bud Tucker" or "3 Skulls of the Toltecs" for instance. As already mentioned the graphics are colorful and the animations are really cute and when the little piggy only dressed in a shirt runs, alway shaking its head from right to the left (or from left to the right?), that looks quite nice, but like so often (e.g. with "Toonstruck") appearances are deceptive, because.....
...... "Mutation of J. B." is as sly as they come. I don't want to betray too much and so I only give a brief description of the basic situation: Johnny Burger wants to visit his cousin after a long time, doens't find him at home, but meets a professor, who wants to carry out an experiment with the cousin. The professor, who is already interested observed for some time by aliens, asks Johnny instead to take the place of th missing cousin as guinea pigs. During the test a disaster happens - caused by the aliens - and Johnny is transformed into a mutation with human body and pig head. So far the start situation and more is not betrayed!
Only this: humor is partly quite crude and macabre! The jokes work however very puristic and non-artificial. On the homepage they speek of a surprising turn, what I can only confirm. In any case there are neverending funny ideas and you can feel, that the developer team did their job with much fun and enthusiasm. Only the end sequence could have been somewhat longer.
"Mutation of J. B." has German speech, however unfortunately I could only play the game under Windows 95 without speech, but that was not so dramatic, because the texts are well readable and integrated, so I forgot about that soon. Besides it is possible to select how long the texts are faded in and you can also click on text paragraphs that you're reading. The beautiful, almost exclusive electronic music let me fast forget the missing speech. It's often quite lovely and strengthens the character of the game.
"Mutation of J. B." can be played completely with the mouse and shows as most older adventures the typical instructions like "take" and "go" at the bottom of the screen. They are arranged very clearly and the most important is: The whole game can be played with only five verbs. While you must laboriously select the correct verb out of 10 or more with many older adventures, the command selection here works very fast. Besides the left and right mouse buttons are already occupied with 2 commands - "go" and "look". During the game a lot of objects have to be collected and after some time it gets somewhat nerving to click through the inventory, in order to find the appropriate item. Fortunately the inventory empties itself when half the game is done, and afterwards there are not so much objects any more.
As often with older adventures also "Mutation of J. B." runs rather smooth. Maybe this is because of the fact that these games are not yet as complex as the newer 3D-adventures. On the other hand it was simply not yet usual that the players were abused as beta testers in the degree , as it often happens today. Nevertheless you should frequently save (actually like in each adventure game), because there are some few errors nevertheless. If I for example visit the naked Mrs. Fisher in the bath unmasked and deservedly get kicked out, our hero transforms into a pixel mash.
In the course of the game Johnny two times has to get water with a bucket from a river. I however made it a third time, what crashed the whole game. But that's all, up to two other small bugs. There seem to be no dead ends.
The game is not linear, so that one can look here there whether you can get ahead, so that afterwards everything results in a "logical" sense. That has besides the advantage that the player can repeatedly score small successes, what helps motivation and increases the game flow.
Alltogether nearly all puzzles are built in such a way, that they can be solved with a little fantasy. Therefore you sometimes must combine the most unusual items (also within the inventory), what is - like so often - a part of the attraction (and fun) with comic adventures however. Finally I solved most puzzles of my own, looking up however the one or other in the walkthrough. Sometimes I only missed a well hidden object, but sometimes the puzzles also became quite difficult.
Most puzzles can be solved by combining items. The conversations serve mainly to advance within the story or simply amuse the gamer. You should however carefully listen (and read), because the conversations often contain good clues.
I find it likewise positive that one cannot die in the game. And you will also search the for me unpopular timed puzzles and mazes in vain in this game.
Unfortunately I haven't done the timing, but an advantage of older adventures opposite to most today's is their length. And so you're busy with J. B. some evenings too, until it is unfortunately finished. I would indicate a bit inaccurate 5 - 6 longer gaming evenings.
J. B. is a totally well succeeded adventure game with a great, fast developing story, and gets along nearly without downers and weaknesses. Since both, the puzzles and the story are really original, it can be recommended without hesitation to every gamer, who likes funny and colourful comic adventures and somewhat older graphics. J. B. pleases me better than many of the newer ones and belongs to the unexpected highlights! Therefore I did not consider the age of the graphics for rating.
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
Minimal system requirements:
- DOS 6.0
- IBM compatible system with 386 processor
- Memory: 520 KB conventionel and 2 MB EMS
- Hard disk space: 50 MB
- Double-speed CD-ROM drive
- Windows 95
- Pentium 1
- 32 MB RAM
- Soundblaster 16
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