“WOCKA-WOCKA-WOOO!”- Robin using Fozzie Bear’s ability
- Genre- Platformer
- Platform- Playstation
- Developer- Magenta Software
- Publisher- Midway Games (NA), SCEE (EU)
- Release date- 20th October, 2000
Good evening, readers. Retroplayer here once again.
With the release of the latest Muppet film recently, I thought it might be fun to review a Muppet related game. We all love(d) the Muppets, right? There were a few games to choose from, but I settled with Muppet Monster Adventure, a rather obscure PS1 title. I expected a below par platformer with the Muppets themselves hastily shoe horned in, to be honest with you. However, what I found was actually quite surprising- it wasn’t just good, it was great. It’s a wonderful little title that also happens to be a blatant rip-ff of Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot. Read on, read on…
Developed by Magenta Software and published by Midway Games and SCEE, Muppet Monster Adventure is a game many would expect to fail. While the excellent writing of the source material and cast of incredible characters is a lot to start with, a game based on the Muppet franchise isn’t something I expected to work. I thought, unless Magenta captured the loveable, joyful, and whacky spirit of the Muppets, this game would fall to pieces. Thankfully though, they have done just that.
The story is rather simple. The Muppets have gone on vacation, but instead of visiting some faraway, distant land, they’ve come to the doorstep of a spooky castle. The castle is owned by Professor Honeydew’s late uncle, and the Muppets have accompanied the Professor to hear his uncle’s will. However after a ghost appears, Robin, Kermit’s young nephew, passes out. When he awakes he is greeted by Pepe, Beaker and Professor Honeydew. The Professor explains that while Robin was out the rest of the Muppets were ambushed by monsters. The monsters have transformed the Muppets into ghouls using “evil energy”. This evil energy is spreading throughout the castle and its nearby village. Using a nifty “Power Glove” that captures this evil energy, Robin must embark on a quest to save the Muppets, and destroy the ever growing evil force that emanates from inside the castle. The player enters different levels using a transportation machine, and further levels unlock in sequence when enough evil energy is captured. Each level can be revisited as there’s plenty of collectables to get for just one run through.
It plays like a typical PS1 third person platformer. Robin can run, sprint, jump, and has two attacks at his disposal- the spin attack and Power Glove. The spin attack is a quick attack best used on smaller enemies. It doesn’t capture evil energy, but it’s good for taking out foes that are covered in armour or using shields. In fact, the spin attack looks and sounds exactly like the spin attack in Crash Bandicoot. It’s actually rather shocking how much it seems lifted. The Power Glove is for larger enemies, and sends out a burst of energy in front of Robin. Both attacks only hurt certain enemies which keeps combat fresh and more than just a mindless routine. Sure, it’s not the inner workings of Street Fighter we’re talking here folks, but because each attack is worthless against particular enemies it keeps you on your toes. Bosses battles are also quite creative, if very simplistic and easy. Each of the Muppets, due to their contact with evil energy, have been transformed into monsters. These monsters are Muppet versions of classic monsters. For instance, Gonzo has been turned into “Noseferatu” while Fozzie the Bear is now “Wocka Wocka Wearbear”. Lovely.
Another enjoyable and fresh part of Muppet Monster Adventure is the extra abilities Robin can acquire throughout the game. By collecting certain Muppet themed tokens, Robin gains unique abilities that will help the player advance through the game. These range from Gonzo’s Noseferatu bat wings, which let the player glide in the air, to Ms.Piggy’s iconic Karate chop for destroying breakable doors. It’s quite a fun aspect to the game, and these unlockable Muppet abilities give the player a chance to find areas in past levels they didn’t even know existed. In fact, Muppet Monster Adventure is full of collectables that in turn expand the “galley”. The gallery, accessed from the main menu, can be used to view videos, hear audio, and view artwork (some of which was created by children across the world) of the Muppets. It’s a nice addition to the game that gives the player a good reason to check every nook and cranny for collectables.
Did you Know?- Michael Giacchino composed for The Muppets once again on the TV movie The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz in 2005.
Levels are quite varied from dark, haunted hallways to open, bright areas. The selection of levels at hand is really quite nice, and elevates Muppet Monster Adventure from being just a typical PS1 platformer to something else entirely. Perhaps the best part of Muppet Monster Adventure is its soundtrack. Composed by Michael Giacchino (Lost, Star Trek, Super 8), it’s a wonderfully lively selection of music that really does wonders for the pace of the game. While the game isn’t good solely because of the music, it would have suffered had the music not been so good. It’s filled with catchy tunes that you’ll often find yourself humming during loading screens.
Overall, Muppet Monster Adventure is a great game for children and adults alike. Many gamers will be put off, even insulted, but how much it looks like a rip-off of Spyro the Dragon. Level design is quite similar, it looks and feels like a Spyro game, and the sound effects, actually done by someone who worked on Spyro, makes it seem like a complete rip-off. However, as much as it does indeed bring back flashes of Spyro the Dragon, Muppet Monster Adventure needs to be judged on its own merit. Sure, it’s similar, but that’s it. It may not be a revelation of game design, but neither is it what it could have been- a cheap cash-in. It’s a fun, charming adventure with excellent writing and music to boot. If you’re looking for some classic PS1 action with a game you may not have even heard of, be sure to give Muppet Monster Adventure a whirl.
A fun, charming adventure for children and adults alike
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