Ever try getting rid of a cockroach infestation? It ain't happening. It's like hopelessly fighting an insect Hydra, with one group springing up as you cut another down. Or how about just killing an individual roach? Even that is darn near impossible, because those elusive little suckers have had 350 million years of evolution honing them into perfect survivors, while we've spent two million years just trying to figure out what to do with opposable thumbs.
It's really no wonder, then, that a game about a cockroach should be equally resilient and indestructible, re-emerging from the shadows almost a decade after last making its appearance. Just when you thought it was dead and gone forever... out crawls... Bad Mojo Redux!!
Yes, indeed, the "roach game" is back, courtesy of Got Game Entertainment, and it's prowling for any attention it can scavenge. Fortunately, unlike the creepy critters themselves, the return of Bad Mojo is wonderfully welcome news for adventure gamers. The original version had already reached cult classic status, and with the redux release, the game is now bigger and better than ever. Figuratively speaking, the cobwebs have been brushed off, the dirt swept aside, the filth scoured, and the dim lights brightened, making an already worthy gaming experience even more remarkable. So quit using those opposable thumbs to kill bugs, and start using them to become one.
If you need some convincing, I'll have to back up a bit. Bad Mojo was developed by Pulse Entertainment and originally released in 1996. The game's premise was as shocking as it was unique; as disgusting as it was compelling; as unnerving as it was unforgettable. Rather than love it or hate it, the game created more of a "love it or fear it" mindset, and it's sure to have the same effect on gamers today. The reason? It's a photo-realistic adventure played entirely as a cockroach.
As Bad Mojo Redux makes absolutely no changes to the gameplay content, please read our original review to understand why this game so deserved to be updated and republished. Consider this more a companion piece or "redux review", intended not to cover familiar ground, but to highlight the upgrades provided in the new release.
The most important benefit of the redux version (besides making a rare game available again) is its technical stability for PC users. Over time, the only possible deal-breaker in the original game became its reliance on ancient versions of QuickTime. As newer operating systems and QuickTime versions replaced those used in 1996, backwards compatibility became a serious issue for many players, resulting in a terribly erratic experience with the many FMV sequences. No more! Though the game still uses QuickTime, it now runs on the most current version, and provides a smooth, flawless performance. THIS is how Bad Mojo was meant to be played.
There's even good news for oft-neglected Mac users. Like its predecessor, Bad Mojo Redux is a cross-platform release (on a single CD-ROM), though it should be noted for those using OS X that the game runs in Classic mode.
You'd think the graphics in an eight year old title would be a sore point, but the original game stood the test of time surprisingly well in the visual department. This is fortunate, because the facelift given in the re-release is somewhat limited. The older version ran in a window using 640x480 resolution with 256 colours. The redux increases the size of the default game screen in Windows XP, though users of previous operating systems will have to manually configure their display properties. While the game still uses the same resolution, the FMV movies are now larger and displayed in millions of colours, making them appear much richer than their counterparts in the original. The improvements are certainly appreciable, but the graphical enhancements remain somewhat incidental--a nice bonus, but not quite enough to make you forget you're playing an older game, so set your expectations accordingly.
In addition to the improvements made to the game itself, Bad Mojo Redux also includes a bonus DVD with special features. The DVD includes a very entertaining "making of" segment (complete with original behind-the-scenes film footage), developer commentaries, concept art, storyboards, and a narrated visual hint guide for the game. Although running only a little over an hour in length, covering all available features, it's certainly nice to get a personalized glimpse into one of the most recognizable games the genre has ever produced. Best of all is that you can kick back and enjoy it on your TV if you wish, as the disc is compatible with standard DVD players and operated by remote control--more opposable thumb use!
While the upgrades offered by Bad Mojo Redux are not substantial, what they do is add even more value to a significant re-release in its own right. To this day, the game is a triumph of visionary design, successfully combining surreal atmosphere, dramatic storyline, organic challenge, and of course, an audacious premise. Had Got Game done nothing more than a new production run of the original, I'd still have been praising the move. As it is, they've teamed with the key original developers to offer something even better--an enhanced, more accessible version, optimized for today's technology, all at a budget price. Great game, new and improved, low price... deals don't come much sweeter than that.
With the exception of those desperately trying to swat the screenshot thumbnails from their monitor, there should ideally be only two types of adventure gamers in the world: those that own and have played Bad Mojo, and those who eagerly want to but haven't had the chance. If you're one of the many in the second group, this re-release provides an unexpected second chance at a one-of-a-kind experience. Don't miss it this time.