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Review: Mr Stumps Dentures
Ahh, at last, the general public get the change to play Mr Stumps Dentures. A hotly-anticipated game since, well, since whenever it was announced, we wanted it more when we saw Aku beat Circy into little outlined pieces at the Click Convention (but only in the game, mind). But enough about that. (How many characters have I wasted now? 440? Okay, that's cool.)
The basic premise of the game is to find Mr Stump's dentures, lost after a drunken night out and some acid in a bottle. (Something I am sure Circy has gone through many times ) It's a bit stupid, since how can you replace your lost dentures unless he has false teeth, and if he has then why doesn't he get a new set, etc. And then I say 'It's only a game plot, it's just an excuse to travel through weird environments in the name of gaming, and how many characters left?'
Okay, the start. Presentation is slick, the menu is good although the now-stationary dentures look a little stupid on the 'Press Shift' screen. Level transitions are good, but the act introduction could be better than just cutting to the game...
Graphics are in Circy's patented (probably) style. i.e. limited palette and thick outlines. On everything. Even the pixels have outlines! Although I like the style and the graphics are very good and consistent, it's getting a little tired after so many games. If it wasn't for the large levels and lack of collectables I might as well be playing Zone Runner...
Which brings me to the gameplay. Simple. Very simple. (Oh no, I ran out of characters! My long introduction was wasted! ) Er, yeah. It plays a lot like Mario, except all you have is left, right and jump. Nothing else. No mushrooms, (or false teeth, in this context,) no special fireball weapons, nor question-mark boxes or TV sets. All you do is jump on enemies' heads, move a little, avoid some stuff, and get frustrated as you lose all your lives because of one annoying section. And no save points! Bad, bad Circy. I got to the second Manic Mineshaft act and stopped playing because the first few levels were so tedious... Another sore point is enemies appearing out of nowhere, but you quickly learn to watch out for dark sections in the walls.
The simplicity will be okay for some, but for a lot of people (myself included) it's just too basic and pointless. However, I will say that the engine is very solid (I had no problems with it), although a lot of that is due to the Platform Movement extension. Nevertheless, it works well and is intuitive, although apparently air resistance is severely reduced in snowy conditions - if you jump in the Arctic Snowdrop levels you'll slide as if you're on ice.
Now I come to sound and music. *takes a deep breath* At times like these, I wish they were separated. The music is nice, each act has different music and all fit nicely into the environment. The sound is essentially Circy typing numbers and spaces alternately into text files and renaming them to .WAV. I'd understand if this was Mr. Retro but it's not - people don't surprise you with a high-pitched square wave, they go 'Boo' or 'Flibbledobalobadob'. Get some decent samples, Circy!
At the end of the day, will you keep playing this? Not after you've finished it and played all the extras. The main game is an incredibly linear experience, and although you might play a two-player mode a few times this will quickly get deleted or neglected after completion. The lack of save points might seem like a cheap attempt to get people to play it for longer, but for me it's stopped me playing it.
Mr Stumps Dentures is a nice-looking game with a solid engine. Mr Stumps Dentures is not a forgiving game. Frustration will soon set in and, coupled with the tediously simple first few levels and lack of save points to bypass said levels, you will soon delete it. A shame, really - with a few improvements it could've been a much better game. I just hope that the feedback from MSD is listened to and that the new game Testimony will be much better as a result.
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