Dr. Chaos (NES)

Dr. Chaos Box Art

Dr. Chaos

System: NES

Release Date: November 1988

Developer: Marionette, SRS

Publisher: FCI

Genre: Platformer

Dr. Chaos is a specter from my younger days. Here is a game I didn’t have any idea in how to progress in. I’d start playing, dink around for a few minutes, get discouraged, and quit. You are Michael, brother of the titular Dr. Chaos. He’s been researching warp zones in his mansion in a remote village. He’s gone incommunicado and it’s up to Michael to save him.

You begin equipped with a knife, which is not super useful, but you have to make due. Jumping is activated with the A Button. Attacks happen when you press the B Button. The Select Button switches among the weapons you can find. You step into the mansion in a typical side scrolling platformer. Right away, other than the annoying rats, you see a door, so you enter.

This takes you into a first person view of the room. You can look at the north, south, east, and west walls. There you will find doors, windows, and cabinets that you can open. Sometimes, you’ll find an item, whether a pistol, SMG, grenade, or vitamin. Other times you’ll find nothing. These are just like the room sequences in Goonies II. There are many places you can hit the wall in order to unlock items or, better yet, open secret passageways. Doors to the mansion are always found on the south wall. If you reach a room that is at a dead end, that is a good sign that there will be a secret passage on the east or west wall. The north wall will hold the occasional hidden ladder, which I had never found before.

There are eleven hidden warp zones throughout the mansion. The first one you’re likely to come to that you can actually beat gives you a device that alerts you when you’re facing a wall with a warp zone in it. Then you choose to Go in every window or door until you find your way in. This takes you to another side scrolling portion, where you need to move your way to the right in order to face a boss. Once defeated, the boss will drop a piece of a laser, which you need to find ten pieces of.

The first few warp zones must be done in a certain order, because you need the diving helmet and the jump boots to move forward in a majority of the warp zones. Once I found the jump boots, a majority of my time in game was spent going through every room and replenishing my items and health. It would have been cool if there was an easier way to replenish life. Reaching the final boss with all pieces of laser results in a pretty easy battle and the reuniting of the brothers.

Graphics: 1.5

The graphics look alright, but when you start moving, it gets really choppy.

Sound: 1.0

The music is shrill and it changes so often, it’s annoying.

Gameplay: 2.5

Everything mostly works, but you don’t really get a whole lot of direction on what to do.

Difficulty: 2.0

Once you realize you find the first warp zone by accident, it’s just a matter of time and hitting every section of wall there is.

Fun Factor: 1.0

I had very little fun with this, but I finally beat it after 30+ years, so that’s a win.

Overall Grade: 1.6

Dr. Chaos earns a C-. This isn’t a particularly good game, but it’s competent.

Dr. Chaos Video Review on YouTube