Bad Mojo

Bad Mojo can and will disgust you. In a good way.

Breaking out of the Myst mold and drawing more than a little inspiration from Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis,” Bad Mojo casts you in the part of Dr. Roger Samms, the 32 year-old head of California University at Barbary Coast’s prestigious entomology department, who has been magically transformed into one of the most lowly, despicable forms of life on earth.

5In what could unquestionably be called the world’s first Cockroach Simulator, you guide the form of Cucaracha/ Roger under, over and through some of the most photorealistically disgusting scenery ever committed to CD-ROM. Disturbing images of filth and decay, dead and dying creatures, leftover dinners and vile garbage are all rendered with clarity and immaculate attention to detail, with a throbbing John Carpenter-style score and ambient sound. It’s all wrapped in a very attractive aesthetic despite its repulsiveness.

The Roach Game

As the game begins, a miserable and slightly neurotic Roger is packing his bags and preparing to skip town with the $1 million he’s been granted to develop a new pesticide that will finally put cockroaches on the endangered species list. After a brief and unpleasant encounter with his landlord, Roger lapses into an inconvenient coma, and his soul enters the body of a lowly roach. The entire game world is a run-down two-story apartment building. Although the action takes place in only six rooms, each of those rooms contains dozens — sometimes hundreds — of individual screens.

Bad Mojo is essentially a game of exploration and discovery. As you navigate through its dismal domain using only the four cursor keys, you’ll find your movement blocked by boundaries both benign (water, wet paint, assorted slime) and lethal (glue traps, rats, a cat named Franz). Some of these boundaries seem a bit arbitrary; in one scene you can walk (or scurry, actually) right over freshly chopped chunks of meat, while in another you get hopelessly mired in a TV dinner. There are no real dead ends, though, and often you’ll be able to push some innocuous object into a helpful bridge-like position. The puzzles are fairly logical, although some do require tedious backtracking.

Bug Simulator


Control your alter-ego from a top-down view.

The biggest issue here is that it’s downright buggy (pun intended). The installer is very picky at what bit color depth you start it in (it has to be exactly 256 colors) and the game itself is prone to crashing, especially if you enable some of the more advanced audio effects. Possibly due to running it on Windows 98 or mayhaps it’s the game code itself, Bad Mojo was more than a little aggravating to play at times. Thank goodness you can buy the more stable re-released version, Bad Mojo Redux (2004). Well-conceived and executed, and never frustrating for very long, Bad Mojo can be very entertaining, although you’ll need a strong stomach and a thirst for the bizarre to enjoy it to its fullest.

System Requirements: 486/33 MHz, 8 MB RAM, 20 MB HDD, SVGA, Windows 3.1 / 95

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