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Mullet Mad Jack

Mullet Mad Jack

Hockey haircut, giant neon yellow laser puff, leather vest and 600,000 murderous death robots standing in your way.

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An evil robot billionaire has snatched Jack's girlfriend, locked her up on the top floor of the high-tech skyscraper Nakamura Plaza and it is now up to our hockey hairstyle-adorned superhero to blast his way through ten levels of roaring death robots to free her. Mullet Mad Jack is developed by the four-man studio Hammer 95 and here they mix freshly of all sorts of ingredients to ultimately offer a great soup to adrenaline-fuelled action cavalcade. Two decilitres of Doom 2, a tablespoon of Hades, a pint of any retro anime and 300 grams of Hotline Miami. Into the oven for two years and voila! A neon pink mullet is born.

Mullet Mad Jack

Mullet Mad Jack is a retro FPS with roguelike qualities which means you will die and you will die often, a lot. When you die, you fall back to the start of the floor you're on, and all the upgrades and weapons you've accumulated are gone. Mad Jack has only ten seconds of dopamine production to live on, which means that you as a player never have time to stop, never have time to think, but must constantly rely on lightning-fast reflexes and a good aim. To extend or renew your ten seconds of dopamine, the robots in front of you must all be dead and only then will the next gameplay loop start. If you take too much of a beating from the enemies, you'll be thrown back to the start. If you run out of time? Same thing. Like other games in this increasingly popular sub-genre, this is all about dithering. Trial and error, as a game idea. Something I'm not usually too keen on.

Mullet Mad Jack

I don't really like falling back to the start when I die. Hades was great and at first I had quite a lot of fun with Deathloop but at the same time it gets quite tiresome for me to do the same thing, time after time after time instead of moving on, seeing something new. I think that a lot of my somewhat dismissive attitude towards roguelikes has to do with the fact that I got tired of that setup as a nine-year-old, too. In games like Black Belt (Master System), Battletoads (NES), Turtles (NES), Mega Man 2 (NES) and Trojan (NES), I did exactly this for several years and I think I unfortunately tragged parts of my gaming patience, there and then. I died, died, died, died, died and died again - thousands of times in all these games, for several years. Today, I'd rather do something else when I play even though I can absolutely appreciate high difficulty.

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Mullet Mad Jack

Mullet Mad Jack manages to balance the principle of penalising the player with a quick restart with a reward system that is so lightning fast and fun that sometimes you can't help but laugh. Bullets, lasers, explosions, grenades - the environments are often drenched in flashing neon colours and the animations are so delightfully, deliberately, bad. Design-wise, this is as much a love letter to Wolfenstein, Duke Nukem 3D and Doom as it is a kiss to the most absurd Japanese cartoons of the 80s and I really like the way this looks. The music matches the design perfectly and the tone, humour, pacing and game mechanics work in a near-perfect balance that means it rarely feels too tedious to start from scratch again.

Mullet Mad Jack

It gets pretty monotonous after about 90 minutes though, I'll readily admit. It took me about four hours to play through Mullet Mad Jack and after about half of my playing time, I felt pretty fed up with the monotonous environments and the corridors that everything takes place in. It must be said, however, that this is worth buying especially for all us old foxes who grew up with Duke Nukem, Akira and everything in between.

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07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
+
Hysterical pace, hilarious design, meaty game mechanics, great 80s music
-
Sloppy organisation, monotonous environments, short
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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Mullet Mad Jack

REVIEW. Written by Petter Hegevall

Hockey haircut, giant neon yellow laser puff, leather vest and 600,000 murderous death robots standing in your way.



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