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Hugo: The Evil Mirror Package Art
 GENRE
  Action-Puzzle
 DEVELOPER
  ITE
 PUBLISHER
  Namco
 NUMBER OF PLAYERS
  1
 CONNECTIVITY
  No
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Hugo: The Evil Mirror

From Denmark with love, Namco presents the first of two Hugo games they plan on localizing for a Game Boy Advance release. Enter The Evil Mirror. The average person might not realize that Namco’s Hugo: The Evil Mirror did in fact have a small history behind it. This state of aloofness can be further exacerbated, however, in knowing that Namco’s American wing hasn’t released any self-published Game Boy Advance software in some time; Hugo is not Namco’s baby at all, but instead a series created by European developer ITE.

To classify this title as any one genre would be difficult; to give it two is far easier. An action/puzzle game by nature, Evil Mirror lacks any real brain busters. As such, one might even throw around the term “platform” when verbalizing the inherent nature of Hugo’s latest romp.

In Hugo: The Evil Mirror, the rest of his family is equipped with a freeze-gun that shoots beams of ice to freeze foes and generators scattered about each of the 60 stages that produce additional enemies as the clock ticks. In each level, the layout changes, and you’ll have to find a way (this is where the supposed puzzle element takes hold) to reach the generators/baddies and freeze them all wholesale. Once frozen, you can go to town by breaking their cubic form in one of three ways: pushing it off a ledge with your beam, pounding on it while airborne, or picking it up and dropping it in mid-air. The player will have to decide which form of destruction is best suited (or even possible) in each separate case, as sometimes platforms will obstruct your path. This entertaining bit of mayhem takes place throughout three separate “worlds”, distinguished via the type of foe that you face off against. Beavers, squirrels, and Vikings, oh my!

Aside from beating the game, your objective should always be to garner the most points as possible during gameplay. Different items dropped by enemies will give you power-ups, more time, or miscellaneous confetti (fruits, flowers, etc.) that give you points when collected. You can double up ice cubes to make them bigger and drop something more noteworthy than a single cube. Or, as is sometimes required, you will need to create and carry a frozen opponent to act as a makeshift platform.

In between worlds, which shift every 20 levels or so, you’ll fight bosses that appear to be composed entirely of ice. Funnily enough, the way you defeat them is through continuous blasts with your freeze-gun. Likewise, one can only assume that the laws of physics in Hugo’s world are vastly different than our own.

For a title aimed squarely at young children, you’d be surprised at the level of depth Evil Mirror seems to offer.

visuals

One is very pleasantly surprised by a full, two-to-three-minute FMV sequence that plays automatically after the initial company logos. This FMV, which I now realize must have been ported directly from the 1998 PlayStation release, shows an evil witch Scylla and her sidekick Don Croco up to some rather nefarious deeds. Invading Hugo’s pad without invite, the wicked witch busts out an evil mirror and traps our protagonist in said mirror via one of her spells. Long story short, she shatters it, throws the pieces about the “Tricky Troll Forest”, and we have a nice little narrative tailored to the younger demographic that comprises the bulk of the GBA’s user-base.

Following that full-motion video, colorful sprites and pixels take over to paint a modestly impressive image of Hugo’s 2-D world.

audio

The main menu actually carried a tune not dissimilar to that of a Castlevania game. The aforementioned FMV, whose audio was relegated to the tiny little speakers of the Game Boy Advance, sounded awfully fuzzy.

David Filskov and Thomas Bendt, who implemented all the sound effects and music, did a fantastic job capturing the aural effects one imagines would apply to a freshly frozen beaver or typical angry viking. The crackling sensation emitted by the freeze-gun is, as well, right on the dot. Most all motions or actions of some kind have an accompanying note for the ear to pick up on, playing full circle with the perky musical score that is neither memorable nor intrusive.

gameplay

Before time runs out, you best freeze and annihilate all manner of beaver, squirrel, or viking that approaches you in your quest to rescue Hugo. Only through tact and quick thinking can you succeed, as every area is laid out in such a fashion that one must maneuver specifically and carefully. Pausing the game and planning your route also gives the player more time to collect the largest amount of points as he or she works their way up the sixty-level ladder.

Three varying levels of difficulty are available to suit the equally varying ages of kids that plan to play Evil Mirror, which Namco outright states is aimed at the 6-12 year old bracket.

multiplayer

N/A

overall

From a seasoned gamer’s standpoint, Hugo: The Evil Mirror finds itself in a somewhat precarious position. It has some new twists unfamiliar to puzzle enthusiasts, but nothing so raw or innovative as to really put it a cut above its brethren. It is superior to mediocre, which is certainly a plus. That said, the software does not offer enough thrills that I can recommend a purchase to the 18-year-plus Nintendo fan. But, being a game deliberately marketed to a much younger audience and priced at only $14.99, Hugo soars. In either case, replayability is an issue that has not been resolved with this Game Boy Advance port.

final score 5.7/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar William Jacques
Staff Profile | Email
"Oh oblivious, naïve Humanity... How ignorant we really are - safe only in our blind "superior" view of the world."


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