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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Jim Power in Mutant Planet



Your name is Power, Jim Power!

Jim Power In Mutant Planet was released by Loriciel in 1992 where we play as a member of the Special Warfare Unit. These are in charge of the President's personal security and (of course) his daughter was kidnapped by evil beings who infest a Mutant Planet. So it is our mission to kill everything, rescue the girl, and save the day!!

I must admit, I don't recall seeing this advertised or reviewed back in the day. Did it ever make it across the channel to UK shores? I find it quite flabbergasting that such a platformer is unheard of (well, to me). I think the 1992 version of myself would have slobbered an Olympic swimming pool's worth of drool over this? Still, let's crack on...

Check out that skeleton artwork. This game is a looker alright and never fails to impress me!!


I think I love Mr Power!

We begin in a rather funky environment that reminded me a little of Enchanted Land and Flimbo's Quest. It's a strange world of whacky colours, creepy vegetation and lots of enemies out looking for blood. At first, I thought this was going to be an easy platformer, but it soon picks up the pace to become quite a challenge.

There are a total of five levels with two being shooters and even a few peculiar boss screens:

The platformer parts are easily the best with a cruel design that feature many pitfalls and near-countless enemies like mutated animals, birds, zombies, spiders and even spitting plants. Each level is absolutely huge with mini-bosses halfway through (dead easy to defeat) and then a mega-boss at the end.

The shoot 'em up levels are far weaker by comparison and they basically involve nothing more than trying to stay alive as you dodge or shoot anything that appears in your line of sight. The scrolling is fast, and the enemies are faster but I feel they often took far too many shots to be killed, which meant it felt unbalanced. However, I did enjoy the flappy bird-style part towards the end of level 4 which was a surprise!


Press and hold that fire button to unleash your fury and zap everything on-screen!


Gimme a gun and a spare hour

The controls always feel spritely and suit the game style perfectly. I love the way you can easily hop from platforms without ever feeling the uncertainty of plummetting to your death thanks to stodgy mechanics or a sluggish display. Dying allows you to restart from the nearest checkpoint which is a great idea that grants a few seconds of invincibility - this comes in handy for running past a difficult scene. Trust me, you will love this feature!

Thankfully, we're equipped with a gun that can be upgraded along the way by collecting the power-ups. We also have the limited option of using a smart bomb by pressing down the fire button but these are best left for the bosses or perhaps those trickier scenes? This smart bomb has a fantastic feature - the ability to carry it. Yes, you can carry this nuclear weapon and release it at the right moment you choose. A devastating skill.

Along with the power-ups, there are bonuses to collect which help provide a little help and can be earned by shooting a weird floating object or hidden in the backgrounds. The clock gives extra time, a shield should be obvious and 1Up's are always a great find. Never leave a key behind unless you enjoy the fun of backtracking...


The first level is varied and full of traps - and an animal which makes me think Strider!


Aesthetics

Loriciel mocks the supposed hardware limitations with ease for a colour-galore platformer. Each level looks superb with stunning landscapes and super-duper sprites - some reminded me of a Strider-style. Throughout, the scrolling is fast and pretty smooth so it puts to shame Psygnosis and their excuses. The bosses are ginormous beasts taking up the entire screen, and sometimes more, so it's impressive how well everything moves.

Sadly, I'm a bit miffed that the might Loriciel didn't bother to use the Atari STe enhancements :/

The audio will not dishearten thanks to the amazing talents of Chris Hülsbeck who provides a thumping title tune and stunning in-game chiptunes. We have an option to hear sound effects instead, but I really wouldn't bother with that afterthought as I personally thought they weren't nearly as ace compared to the boppin' chipmusic!


The second level's colours might look odd in a screenshot but it's much better when playing!


The CryptO'pinion?

Jim Power is excellent but it's not perfect. Whilst the first level is fantastic, later levels suffer some infuriating mechanics which make them impossible without a trainer for extra lives. The shoot 'em up stages are a bit rubbish and felt nothing more than a stocking filler. Finally, there is no support for the enhanced hardware lurking unused inside the Atari STe which is a shame because this would have been a great opportunity to shine.

As a platformer, it's quite unoriginal yet fantastic and a bundle of fun. Personally, it blows me away how much effort Loriciel devoted to making this as good as possible - this ain't no lame port. Ultimately, ask yourself if you need a platformer that is fast, fun and very addictive? Guess what, you have it all right here. And a shooter too ;)

Download for Hard drive or Floppy.

3 comments:

  1. Whatever the version, Jim power is a beautiful game indeed. Everything in it breathes quality. It's full of colours. But for a platform game, it is too difficult for an average player in some levels unless, as you noticed, the trainer is turned on to ease the difficulty. On the whole this game is great achievement.

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    1. Typical 16-bit game? Hmm I think so, but in the sense that you need God-like gaming skills! hehe

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  2. Another GEM. It's difficult, but fun.

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