DR CHAOS - JIGOKU NO TOBIRA
Game Cover
Game Disk
ドクター・カオス 地獄の扉
©1987 Pony
Release: 1986-06-19 (¥2900)
DiskCard PNF-DRC
Action/Adventure game

American Version
country
Released in America as
DR CHAOS
( NES-DC-USA )
Dr. Chaos is a side-scrolling action adventure developped by Marionette and published by Pony Canyon. The genius scientist Dr Ginn Chaos has gone missing. Before his disappearance, he was actively working in his large mansion on a device allowing access to alternate dimensions. Armed only with a knife, his brother decides to look for him and ultimately unveil the mystery behind the incident. Something obviously went terribly wrong with Dr. Chaos's experiment, and the goal of the game is to locate all the eleven dimensional warp-zones hidden within the mansion, as well as assembling a powerful laser gun, the only weapon capable of taking down the last boss. The house is deceptively large and filled with rooms and eerie creatures. Although most of the exploration takes place in a side-scrolling fashion, the screen switches to a first-person view as soon as the player enters a room. There, a menu allows the player to open doors, windows, drawers or closets in order to find new weapons (gun, machine gun, grenade, ammo) or life saving items (mainly health potions). Rooms lie at the heart of the gameplay and hide many secrets - for instance, hitting a wall can reveal secret passageways or release special items. The dimensional zones can only be accessed from these rooms, and they all follow a traditional side-scrolling structure, each ending with a boss. Defeating them reward the player with a piece of the laser gun, as well as some special items, such as the Zone Detector (which helps in locating the remaining zones).
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It seems that the story plot was slightly changed between the American and Japanese versions. The original game is called 'Dr. Chaos Jigoku no Tobira', which translates as 'Dr. Chaos The gate of Hell' - which makes a lot of sense, and the more you play the game, the more you find it related to classic movies such as House or Evil Dead. The American version removed all the references to Hell, and describes the events in Dr Ginn Chaos's journal as "the effect of warp zones on living organisms [...] that have grown so big that they began to take over my house".

Teaser text from the American version:
Nichael must rescue his brother, Dr. Chaos, from the world results of a scientific experiment gone haywire. But the haunted house is filled with bloodthirsty creatures, booby traps, and life force challenges. They try to prevent Michael from finding the special weapon and vials of secret strength he needs to save Dr. Chaos and himself.

Game Staff (Copied from the American version's end credits) :

Producer
Kunihiko Kagawa
Designer
Seishi Yokota
Music Composer
Ponii Ichinen
Programmer
Yoshiaki Sakaguchi
Takayuki Onodera
Assistant
Alex Hikonori
Punk Tadokoro
Game designed by
S.R.S. incorporation
Computer designed by
Marionette co., ltd.
Presented by
Pony Canyon inc.
©1988
FCI/PONY CANYON


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Japanese Guidebook
Japanese Guidebook


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Dr Chaos manual
Click on picture to enlarge

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Dr. Chaos is a truly unique game, but it can be a little disorienting and confusing at first. To begin with, when you start the game, you have no idea what you're supposed to be doing. Finding all the warp-zones is really tricky, and you have to hit walls in just the right spot to reveal the passageways that lead to them. The game is completely non-linear, and it seems that you can explore the warp-zones in any order you want. However, some items are essential and required to access some zones, and figuring out the order in which you should tackle the levels is rather tricky. Then, the first person exploration phases feature cumbersome controls - you have to hold down B to switch actions, and sometimes it feels very unnecessary - why can't you open a closet and collect whatever item stored in it with the same action ? On the bright side, Dr. Chaos cleverly combines two genres and some parts can be quite "scary" - I'm not ashamed to say that I jumping out of my seat the first time I saw that blue yeti monster coming out of a closet. All in all, Dr. Chaos is an unique and atmospheric game once you understand how it works, but the exploration can be very frustrating without a guide, and the game becomes really repetitive after a while.




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