Mutant Night

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Mutant Night
Developer(s) UPL
Publisher(s) UPL
Platform(s) Arcade
Release date(s) 1987
Genre(s) Horizontal shooter
Mode(s) Up to 2 players alternately
Cabinet Upright

Mutant Night is an arcade platform shooter game released in 1987 by UPL.[1] The player controls a small white creature named Mutron-kun.[2] The creature has a large eye from which bubbles can be shot.[3]

These bubbles then kill the various and diverse enemies that attack, for example skeletal monkeys, space ships and spinning discs. Mutron-kun also has the ability to jump and remain floating for a period of time by the repeated pressing of the jump button.[3]

Gameplay[edit]

Mutant Night is a shoot'em up game of the "run & gun" type : the players controls a walking character shooting at enemies while avoiding their attacks.[4] Unlike most run&gun games, Mutant Night has almost no platform part and the character's shooting power is very limited : short range and not multi-directional, the bubble are always shot in the direction the character is facing.

The game is divided in various levels or acts and focuses on fast-paced action and memorization. The levels are very short and straightforward, with a level design relying only on enemies attack patterns and on the game's physics to challenge the player. Mutron-kun can walk left or right, shoot bubbles and jump, and hurries to reach a small trapdoor at the end of each level. The difficulty curve of the game increases significantly after the first level and can be somewhat unforgiving.

Power ups are available in the form of small pink pods on the ground which when shot release a coloured orb into the air, which can do one of the following: make Mutron-kun very large and invincible for a short period, transform Mutron-kun into multiple creatures, award extra points or grant increased fire power in a scatter shot pattern.[3]

The size changing bonus is one of the most notable feature of the game : the character grows into an invincible giant, destroying all enemies on its way. Similar bonuses appear in later games from various editors like Red Company's Bonk 3: Bonk's Big Adventure (1993) for the TurboGrafx 16 or New Super Mario Bros. (2006) for the Nintendo DS by Nintendo.

Another notable feature is the "cumulative jump" : by pressing the jump button multiple times while still in the air, Mutron-kun can chain several jumps, reach higher positions and float in the air. Doing so, Mutron-kun is however subject to a certain inertia which makes control more difficult. The game makes use of this feature by challenging the player to get the bonuses : colored orbs released from the pink pods immediately float away, forcing the player to jump higher to reach them. If the "cumulative jump" ability is limited in the three first levels, it becomes unlimited from level 4, allowing Mutron-kun to literally walk in the air for as long as wanted. In several of the following levels, the gameplay will make use of this feature : some levels have to be completed mostly air-walking, as touching the ground outside of a few safe spots means immediate death. While there's no limitation in time when using "air walking", after a long walk in the air Mutron-kun will need to rest for a few seconds after landing, making him very vulnerable to enemies attacks.

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame 2.5/5 stars[1]

Legacy[edit]

Mutant Night was only available as an arcade system and was never ported to any other system.

The game Atomic Robo-Kid from 1988, another side scrolling shoot'em up game by UPL, could be considered a sequel to Mutant Night as it bears interesting similarities :

  • same game designer,
  • both games feature weird cute main characters,
  • the graphic atmospheres are very close, one level in Atomic Robo-Kid even actually using graphics from a forest level from Mutant Night, only slightly enhanced,
  • levels are similarly named as "acts",
  • Atomic Robo-Kid also borrows elements from the "run & gun" genre, starting with a main character who can only walk. Flying capacity must be acquired.
  • the helping character "mini Doragon" (name credited in Atomic Robo-Kid's ending credits) appears in both games,
  • A nice detail in Mutant Night is the animated remaining lives icons (miniature mutron-kuns animating when a life is lost). The same idea is used in Atomic Robo-Kid.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Mutant Night Overview". Allgame. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ Character Design for Mobile Devices. June 2006. p. 12. 
  3. ^ a b c Alpert, Ron (March 1, 2010). "Retro Game of the Day! Mutant Night". Gamasutra. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Mutant Night". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 9 Nov 2013.