Muppet Monster Adventure
"Muppet Monster Adventure": An incredibly memorable licensed game
The Muppets are a pop culture hit that have been able to stand the test of time. In this 2000 game developed by Magenta Software and Jim Henson Interactive, the Muppets are captured and transformed into hideous monsters, and it’s up to Robin the Frog to save the day. A small gem that uses it source material for a simple premise, yet I can still remember so much fun it was playing through its well-crafted design.
Super Muppet 64
This platformer clearly took notes from classics like “Spyro,” “Super Mario 64,” and even “Banjo Kazooie.” Like all collect-a-thon platforms of the time, players will enter different areas and collect evil energy in the shape of cute stars, as well as Muppet tokens and amulets. Evil energy and tokens would allow players to progress through more levels, but only collecting enough tokens will players be able to face off the boss of each three levels. Throughout each level, players may encounter amulets. When these amulets are collected, Robin can transform into several of the Muppet monsters, which give abilities like diving underwater or gliding in the air. Robin’s own attacks include a power glove that is a medium range knockout attack, and a Crash Bandicoot-spin attack. For veterans of the platforming genre, many of these recycled gimmicks or tropes may make the game a lot easier. However, health was limited in some levels and in order to fully complete the game, backtracking and using powers obtained in older levels was more satisfying than expected. Enemies in later levels were also very clever in using long distance attacks to strike Robin down during critical on the edge situations. The level design also really helped make trekking through levels very enjoyable and relaxing, which is accentuated through the game’s soundtrack. Peacock Purgatory’s theme is forever strung into my brain. It is no surprise considering the sound designer, Michael Gollom, also did work for “Spyro.” Every amulet pick-up and even collecting those evil energy stars felt satisfying because of the noises implemented into the game. It is a shame that past critics considered the game a been-there-done-that kind of game, especially considering that so much effort was put into a licensed game like this.
A monster’s heart
Much of what makes the game really fun are the levels. Each one had a spooky Halloween feel to it, making it a fun light-hearted game to play during the season. Enemies were also very Spyro-esque, from beefed up knights with swords that would grunt as you got closer, to some very annoying witches with bulbous noses. Some levels also had their own flow. Peacock Purgatory was the perfect tutorial level because not only was everything very easy to locate, but would basically be a training ground where players can try out all their newly acquired amulet abilities from later levels. Some typical tasks to do in every level also stayed fresh, while the more common ones like catching Ritzo or using Beaker strapped to a jetpack to open up news parts of a level were rewarding, not to mention a good use of the source material and Muppet humor. What was more impressive is how a game like this was able to get many voice actors of the Muppets themselves, such as Frank Oz, Bill Barretta, Kevin Clash and Jerry Nelson. Muppet fans and those wanting to get into a simple platformer should look no further at this little monster masterpiece.
Video by John GodGames
Written by Jarek Martinez