|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, Macintosh|
Bad Mojo is an adventure video game by Pulse Entertainment, released in 1996. The player is cast as Roger Samms, an entomologist planning to embezzle money from a research grant to escape his sordid life above an abandoned bar. An accident with his mother's enchanted locket unleashes the bad mojo, turning him into a cockroach. The storyline in Bad Mojo is loosely based on Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis. In the game, the cat's name is Franz and the main character Roger Samms is a play on the lead character in Metamorphosis (Gregor Samsa).The gameplay consists of guiding the cockroach through a series of puzzles.
Got Game Entertainment re-released the game in December 2004 as Bad Mojo Redux, packaging it with a DVD containing a variety of extra material.
The story takes place in a filthy bar owned by Eddie Battito. Roger, one of Eddie's tenants, has stolen a million dollars worth of loan money from a science corporation he had previously worked for and is planning to leave for Mexico City to start a new life. But after a small argument with Eddie, he remembers a little trinket that he had gotten in his early childhood: a cockroach-patterned locket that belonged to his dead mother, Angelina. Upon its discovery, the locket transforms Roger's soul into a cockroach, and transports him to a mysterious sewer system connected to every section of the bar. His adventure takes him to the basement (which is also Eddie's bedroom), the bathroom, the kitchen, the bar room, Roger's room and finally his research room. As the roach (Roger) explores a world filled with danger at every turn, including rats, garbage disposals, and his own pet cat, Franz, he is constantly being guided by his mother's spirit, who serves as an oracle.
The game explores the sad past of both Roger and Eddie, revealing that Roger had been abandoned to an abusive nun, was the center of bullying as a young man, and was never taken seriously by his superiors. Eddie has had just as bad a life, having his beloved wife die during childbirth and giving up his son out of grief. Eddie does not realize that his wife, Angelina, was Roger's mother, nor does Roger know that Angelina was Eddie's wife. During Roger's exploration, he is forced to extinguish the pilot light to a gas stove in the kitchen to save a baby cockroach that, in turn, assists him in jamming the garbage disposal with a spoon. This act eventually causes the whole bar to be filled with gas. Roger must then set off a smoke detector to wake Eddie and then finally reach the locket in his own unconscious body's hand. With both men safely out of the bar when it explodes, Roger and Eddie discover that they are, in fact, father and son, which was exactly as the oracle planned.
There are four possible endings to the storyline. If Eddie makes it out and Roger doesn't (if Eddie is warned of the fire but Roger is left on the floor), Eddie ends up as a homeless drunk. If Roger makes it out and Eddie doesn't, Roger tries to flee the country but is caught, charged with Eddie's murder, and remanded to an asylum for the criminally insane. If neither make it out, the ghost of Angelina narrates, telling of the death of both men, the destruction of the bar for urban renewal and that the ghosts of all three souls haunt the area where their dreams died. If both of them make it out, Eddie recognizes the cockroach locket (that contains a photo of Angelina) and they reconcile as re-united father and son before both reveal the truth about their past. The family is reunited and they travel together to Belize with the embezzled money, which Eddie uses to buy a new bar while Roger sets up a small lab to study roaches.
The game features a substantial electronic music soundtrack composed and performed by the American electro-industrial artist Xorcist, which has also written soundtracks for other CD-ROM games, notably Iron Helix.
According to co-producer Alex Louie, the original 1996 release of Bad Mojo was commercially successful. Following the game's launch, Macworld reported that it was "selling steadily." By February 1997, roughly 12 months after its release, its sales had reached 175,000 units. Louie said in 2004 that he was "pretty sure we sold over 200,000 units" by the end of Bad Mojo's shelf life. It also received accolades from critics.
Arinn Dembo, writing for Computer Gaming World, gave the game 4 stars. MacAddict magazine gave the game its highest rating of "Freakin' Awesome", with reviewer Kathy Tafel praising the game's world as "rich" and saying that it was "both amusing and disgusting." A reviewer for Maximum gave the game three out of five stars. He opined that the game's unique and eerie story and presentation make it a compelling experience in spite of the limited gameplay. However, he felt that the lack of longevity was a major downside. A reviewer for Next Generation scored it three out of five stars, commenting that, "Bad Mojo isn't the best graphic adventure, but it's got something that counts a long ways - peculiarity. ... no other adventure has been as willing to show the savage gruesomeness of mankind's sloth."
Inside Mac Games nominated Bad Mojo as its pick for 1996's best adventure game, but ultimately gave the award to Titanic: Adventure Out of Time. Conversely, the editors of Macworld gave Bad Mojo their 1996 "Best Role-Playing Game" award. Steven Levy of the magazine called it "an amazing experience".
Got Game Entertainment re-released the game in December 2004 as Bad Mojo Redux. All in-game videos were remastered from original footage. Redux runs in truecolor only, opposed to the 1996 release which required only 256-color mode. This change makes the videos clearer and more colorful. The re-release also came with a bonus DVD, which contained a making-of, art galleries and other bonuses. This DVD was omitted from the UK release.
The editors of PC Gamer US presented Bad Mojo Redux with their "Best Adventure Game 2004" award. Chuck Osborn of the magazine wrote that it "remains as inventive and resourceful as ever — and [is] ultimately better than any other adventure released this year."
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