Bad Mojo Redux
If you are looking for the type of game, which is easy on
the eyes and ears, an adventure in which fluffy, happy little bunnies
frolic to and fro; a game which offers 3D arcade shooting sequences,
spiffy, intricate scenic dissolves,
puzzles which go absolutely nowhere and pretty eye candy
to revel in… this ain’t it. However, if traveling through the squalid,
gritty and vermin infested terrain of a dilapidated waterfront San
Francisco “dive” and then viewing said environment from the “ground” up as
a cockroach is something that might interest you … Man o’ Man, have I got
an adventure for you! Bad Mojo is so wonderfully creepy, so hideously
hilarious as you traverse its world through the eyes of one of the lowest
and oldest forms of existence all the while still retaining the powers of
human awareness. I guarantee you will feel like showering after every
There were times indeed while I was playing this
scrumptiously repulsive game that I became possessed by the “willies”. Oh…
I’m sorry...don’t know what the “willies” are? That’s that feeling you get
when the weather is so suffocatingly clammy out side that the ambiance
seems to creep indoors through every nook and cranny, almost like a steam
bath, and you could cut the atmosphere with a butter knife. You feel so
uncomfortable within your own body that your skin literally crawls upon
you, sending shivers of perspiration down your legs, very similar to the
eerie sensations of something small and wiggly creeping up your
extremities as its antennae gently graze against you warm moist skin. And
… oh, ok, ok! I’ll stop.
Bad Mojo Redux is the remake of a third person, keyboard driven Slide
Show Adventure, Bad Mojo that was originally created in 1996. Written and
directed by Vincent Carrella and produced by Vincent Carrella,
Phil Simon and Alex Louie.
It has not lost any of its punch over the years. Lavishly
sprinkled with those wonderfully theatrical FMV sequences at every turn,
especially when you are turning in the “sewer room” waiting for guidance
from the “Oracle” or crawling over one of the many “Eye Glyphs” strewn
throughout the gaming universe in hopes of a clue, this adventure still
holds fast in its tightness of invention and withstands the test of time.
I thought I’d start
here and get it out of the way so that we can get to the good stuff. The
Bad Mojo Redux version was a joy to install. Remember that it is still
very much the original game and still runs in 640X480 screen
resolution. The nice thing about it is you can keep your Main Screen
Resolution set to whatever you like if you have Windows XP. Just make
sure that your colors are set to at least 24bit color. Mine is set at
32bit and the game runs like magic after a few minor tweaks. Once you’ve
installed Bad Mojo simply Check the boxes in the Compatibility Tab
for the following: Display Setting: Run in 640X480 Screen Resolution
and Disable Text Services. In the Input Settings: Turn off Advanced
Text Services if you have it. Since I have DirectX9b I also turned
down my audio acceleration for Sound1 and Sound 2 to Basic Acceleration.
The Audio is much clearer for my system that way. No Patches are required
for this game. For a keyboard adventure (oh, stop groaning! That’s
right…don’t think I don’t know who you are...) Bad Mojo is a snap to
operate. Simple use of the directional keys is the default but if you are
left handed, just click on Preferences and you can change them to
IJKL or WASD as be suits your humor. The ESC key
will cut through the opening splash screens and movies if you like and the
SPACEBAR and ENTER keys will pause the game and bring you to
the Main Menu. Quite simple really. A+, guys, for not letting the
controls get in the way of this fascinating adventure.
The original version
used Quicktime 2.0.3; this newer Redux utilizes Quicktime 6.0 and comes
with the game. Lovely. Now we can view this virtually smelly, fetid
universe in a 20% larger screen. It just doesn’t get any better than this.
What a treat. I can almost taste that chili… Yum! … And the Bathroom … you
can just imagine the scintillating aroma wafting throughout the halls of
Eddie’s On The Waterfront …Bletch! (…Sorry.)
Even Better News
Apparently, a new Gold Master is in production that will
automatically allow the program to perform at full resolution for
WindowsXP. This means that XP’ers will have a choice to either set the
screen resolution to the original 640X480 via the Compatibility Tab on the
executable file if that is there wish, or do nothing and have it run like
a snap with their own systems default screen resolution. Who says Roach
Creators aren’t beautiful?
The Good Stuff
Plot Exposition …
It has to go somewhere
Why? The answer in
my mind is quite simple really. It’s the solid storyline and interesting
use of plot exposition and scenic design. Visually stunning in its
portrayal of a dilapidated old bar and grill at the bottom of a San
Francisco bridge known as “Eddie’s On The Waterfront”, Bad Mojo lures you
into it’s nightmare world of things you don’t see but know in the back of
your mind might be lurking, scuttling, creeping and crawling in the walls.
The plot exposition is absolutely everywhere you look. It’s waiting to be
discovered, whether it’s investigating an old trunk full of bittersweet
memorabilia, riding on the back of a moth or clamoring through the dirt
and grime of the burned and charred remains of old photographs, news
articles and lab reports through the porcelain precipices of an old
decaying bathtub. The story is there for you to find as you uncover Dr.
Roger Samms’ life and help him to unravel the truth about his past. Bad
Mojo possesses a much heavier story-based orientation rather than a
puzzle-based one thanks to the strong writing style of Vincent Carrella
and Phil Simon (Red Faction II 2002) who were inspired at
the time by a wild combination of Franz Kafka and David Lynch, which alone
makes it my kind of game.
Now, while there are
a few puzzles and conundrums along your journey, none of them are there
for the puzzles’ sake. All are logical and pertinent to the movement of
the storyline. Well done, I say. The tale itself harkens back to those
classic parables of overwhelming guilt, doubt and misplaced identity, with
characters who because their circumstances have caused them to have been
blinded by self pity, remorse and self-absorption are now the building
blocks of classic drama. We even have a “Greek Chorus” of sorts here
provided by a Spirit who is referred to only as “The Oracle”. I found the
story to be quite well written; it held my attention throughout the game.
Add to this, Peter Stone’s tensely brilliant off beat musical
underscore and the gritty, squalid artwork and virtual world of “Eddie’s
On the Waterfront” masterfully created by Art Directors Charlie Rose
and Larry Chandler, Designer/Producers Drew Huffman, Alex
Louie and Phil Simon, and executed by 3D Technical Director Dan
Meblin (I swear you could almost taste the smell of it) and you
have the makings of a first rate adventure game. Like the wonderfully
great theatrical pieces of yesteryear, such as Gold in the Hills
and Buster Keaton’s The General combined with the angst of Kafka
and mixed with the inspirational insanity of Lynch’s Blue Velvet,
we have the makings of Great Theatre here.
The Creepy Crawlies
Oh, come on… who hasn’t wondered as a child sitting on our
front stoop in our seersucker shorts and dirty white PF Flyers or Red Ball
high tops pushing at a black beetle or furry caterpillar with a small twig
wondering just what it was like to be one as the lazy skies of August
passed overhead? (Oh... my bad! That must have been me… heehee.)
Well, now here’s our chance…of sorts. We get to see the human environment
from the perspective of a bug. A cockroach to be precise, close up and
personal. There are many other critters, which abound throughout Bad
Mojo’s universe. From ants, spiders, silverfish and slugs to catfish, mice
and other vermin, this game is an exterminators delight.
As the “cockroach” we will travel from room to room, and
believe me this is a journey of epic proportions. But I will tell you,
it’s best to take the short cuts through the drains and into the sewer
when possible. Along the way, we’ll meet up with a plethora of others of
our own kind, similar to the human condition in the subway of
Manhattan at rush hour. A word of warning however, for we also will
occasionally come across other species of vermin which may or may not take
the view that we are higher up on the food chain than they are. So be
careful as you creep along your trek. Your life depends on it.
The human characters in
Bad Mojo are not to be missed either. While FMV or Full Motion Video
in many games have taken hard hits as cheesy, pitiful, embarrassingly poor
acting, and the like, it’s important to note the difference between “a
side of ham served up with rotten eggs” and “True Melodrama”. I was
pleased to find Bad Mojo contained the latter. This type of “over the top
stage acting” works well within the confines of the piece and is the
perfect foil for the ludicrously dark humor that the game evokes from the
player. It works so well with the all the other elements of the game, as
matter of fact, you come away satisfied in total and not just “whistling
the set” (sorry, couldn’t resist another theatrical term).
Dr. Roger Samms: A Young Entomologist who resides in a small apartment
located above a bar in
known as Eddie’s On The Waterfront. Roger seems to be one of those
unfortunate souls who have had the "Kick Me" sign permanently placed upon
him since his infancy. This isn't to say that his parents were actively
responsible for his series of unfortunate events, which ultimately shapes
his psyche. It's just that $%^& happens.
When we first meet
Roger, he seems angry, resentful, lonely and desperate. While an
Entomologist by trade with a special interest for cockroaches, he has no
love for them in "human" form. During the progression of the game, as the
plot narrative unfolds we’ll learn that Dr Samms has been the victim all
his life; a mother lost to him at childbirth, a father releasing his
parental rights, an abusive “Mother Superior” during his stay at the local
orphanage ...and while he feels in his heart that he has been "hard done
to...” Dr Samms still strives for success and recognition throughout his
adolescence and young adulthood through his fascination with the sciences,
“Entomology “ or the study of insects, cockroaches in particular.
As he grows into
manhood, he chooses this insect as his field of expertise. But loneliness
still eats away at him as his career climbs the buggy ladder. Dr Samms
discovers a new formula for a powerful pesticide, which could, in his
mind, very well revolutionize the industry but comes up against a brick
wall when his boss gives his project the old thumbs down. So, he decides
to show 'em all by absconding with $1,000,000.00 dollars in grant money
and wing his way southward to Mexico City. He’ll show ‘em, he’ll show ’em
When “Eddie”, Dr Samms’ landlord makes his appearance, it is clear that he
has “issues.” Now, if first impressions count for anything, one might
take an unfaltering dislike to Eddie as he comes across slovenly, gritty
and slightly aggressive towards Dr. Samms very much like the environment
we are about to be caught up in. But wait, for after a few scenes have
past, you’ll see more of his character through past and present situations
and come to realize why Eddie is the way he is and the motivations behind
his actions. He’s really a rather likable old coot. Well, at least Franz
seems to think so.
A spirit known only as The Oracle, being a sort of a full “Greek Chorus”
citing clues and offering directions to the beleaguered Roger as he makes
his way reduced to the simplest of terms scrambling and crawling
throughout his journey into his own self-discovery. She is also the
symbolic catalyst, which drives the story onward to each of its multiple
is Angelina, anyway? Ah haha! That would be telling, now wouldn’t it?
Suffice it to say that this particular character is actually the pinnacle
of the storyline. Angelina is somewhat of a poignant memory for both Roger
and Eddie to come to terms with.
The feline pet of
Roger’s, who because well, since cats are superb predators, becomes Dr
Samms’ nemesis during his life as a creepy-crawly. You can’t fault him for
it…it’s in his nature. There are some things which one has to accept.
While there are a
few other characters scattered throughout the story, these five are truly
the main characters through which most dramatic license occurs. And what
license they take!
A Few of My
“Don’t push me,
who has played much from character roles in Nash Bridges to
Mousehunt and Patch Adams, is wonderfully over the top with his
melodramatic style as the frazzled Dr. Roger Samms and also as another
character, which I can’t mention here for reasons that will become
apparent to you once you play Bad Mojo. You’ll see as he puts his entire
lanky body and soul into every piece of his portrayal as the self-absorbed
Entomologist. His very Chaplinesque style and its delivery was quite
hysterically entertaining to watch.
“Don’t forget to
lock it. Get it? Lock it! Mhuhaahaahaaaaa!”
should also be mentioned here as a definite plus to the talent pool for
the production. A veteran stage performer, most recently seen in episodes
of The Street (2000), Mike Gilliam adds much to the hubris of the
plot as he creates the tortured and guilt ridden Eddie Battito.
“Do not fear me,
rounds out the principal cast as Angelina Marie Battito, the loving Spirit
who haunts Eddie Battito. And also plays The Oracle. Her delivery is
smooth and even as the Oracle and as I mentioned earlier, this character
is symbolic of Roger’s suppressed knowledge and true identity. This comes
forth through the guise of “The Traditional Greek Chorus” reminiscent of
Antigone and Oedipus Rex and although I doubt very much that
the writers realized this at the time, it fits closely with this style of
The game play
technically as mentioned earlier is a true joy to operate for a keyboard
driven game. Just use the directional keys to move the cockroach along its
path. Very simple and never intrudes on the visual impact of the
surroundings. Well Done, gentleman, well done. As you progress further
into the inner workings and situations of Bad Mojo you’ll find that there
are a number of puzzles and riddles to solve. The clever thing of it here
is that while they may be varied in style, they still all make sense and
seem to have a cause and effect from one area to the next and of course
for the outcome of the game.
You’ll find many
different types of puzzles, all done from the cockroach’s point of view,
such as: The Spider Challenge, The Dance at the Roach Motel, The Attack of
the Electronic Whale, Avoiding Franz, Getting Rid Of Franz, Spiking
Eddie’s Beer, Where’s the Kitchen?, Fix the Radio, Meter Man!, The Garbage
Can Maze, The Refrigerator Conduit Maze, The Bad Mojo Sewer Room, The
Razor Jam, How ‘bout some Chili? And the infamous Let’s Make a Paper
Trail, just to name a few. All quite entertaining and highly addictive.
In addition to these various conundrums are the “Eye Glyphs” scattered
around various parts of the gaming world. These symbols are triggers to
either additional videos or riddles from the Oracle, all of which give
significant clues about Roger and his life. None should be missed.
The Companion DVD
This is a fantastic
idea. I for one, love when I purchase a DVD movie as I always look forward
to the “behind the scenes” background information which can be provided.
It’s great to see that Vincent Carrella and the rest of the Bad Mojo crew
had decided to follow suit with Bad Mojo Redux. It made the game that much
more exciting to play for me.
The DVD is
divided into three sections:
The Making of The
This section is jammed packed with
Videos on the background of the game itself, interviews with Vincent
Carrella, Phil Simon, Dan Meblin, Alex Louie and Larry Chandler.
Cockroach Encounters (absolutely hilarious!) Make sure that
you check out Drew Huffman’s family beach pictures. They are not to
be missed! There is even a clip from their promotional announcement of the
original game on Good Morning America.
This section is further subdivided into an
intriguing Commentary of the cut scenes with Vincent Carrella,
Phillip Simon and Alex Louie making the verbal observations.
Another section offers a look at the Conceptual Art, which went
into the production itself, and even includes maps and blueprints of the
games universe, splendidly interesting for those of you who absolutely
hate mazes! There’s a Storyboard section, which I found absolutely
intriguing. The Gallery also offers some excellent screenshots of
worthy note and of course here you will find The Credits as well.
This section subdivides the Bad Mojo’s universe into
various sections and offers an interesting visual walkthrough of how to
traverse the game without giving away the store.
Some gamers, I’m sure will tell you that because the
adventure does lean toward the linear there isn’t any replay value. I have
one word to say about that sort of comment: WRONG! This game has
multiple endings, and even if it didn’t, the replay value is there just
for the visuals and music alone. Speaking of multiple endings many people
think that there are only three endings, but I found a fourth, I hope you
find it as well.
I will tell you that while I do have the original version
of Bad Mojo I am forever grateful to Vincent Carrella, Phillip Simon and
the rest of the Production Team for creating Bad Mojo Redux. Both games
are keepers for me. My only wish is that that someday soon there will be
more like it.
I personally intend to always have this game loaded and ready to go, if
for nothing else, for the sheer fact that when my husband tells me that
the house just isn’t clean enough I can whip out this game and say,
enough, huh? … you want to see not clean enough, pal?… I’ll show you not
clean enough!!! Have a lookie see over here at this!”
can just imagine his face as he views Eddie’s kitchen.
Thank you, thank
you for this wild adventure!
Overall Grade A++
Windows XP Home Edition 2002 with Service Pack 1
Pentium 4 CPU 2.00GHz
512MB DDR Memory
Video: 64MBNVIDIA GeForce 2 MX/MX 400 AGP
Sound: Creative SB Live
DirectX Version: 9.0b
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