Maternal Instinct is quite an unusual name for a game. Perhaps it is about a mother’s love and tenderness? Maybe a mom saves the world from destruction? Unfortunately, neither statement is the case here. You play as Johnny, who decides to adventure out into the world to find his lost mother. Along the way, you hear of two nations at war with each other, and think that your mother may be in the midst of it. Being the courageous young man that you are, you team up with various allies across the globe to get to the bottom of it and ultimately find your mother.
I don’t know Johan or his mother, but there is something wrong here. Apparently, the author has a bone to pick with “mom” because you eventually discover that she caused the ruckus between the nations. On top of that, she wants to kill you and the entire planet with the mighty magic “Meteor”. In the end, you destroy a grotesque portrait of “mom” and save the world. I don’t know what is more disturbing; the fact that the game is called Maternal Instinct or that the final boss is Alfred E. Neuman.
The whole game is just a big, sloppy mess. There is not a single redeeming quality to be found within it. The dialogue is plagued with spelling and grammatical errors, and has more foul and provocative language than you can shake a stick at. Townspeople generally have nothing important to say. In fact, the first person that you meet in the game is the town whore, who gives you her undies, which you can wear for increased stats (which is kind of disturbing in itself). Thank goodness the paths are linear, because nobody really tells you where to go and the vast majority of signs around the world are worthless. Overall, the dialogue and storyline are just plain terrible.
You will immediately notice that the author ripped at least 50% of the graphics, much of it resembling Final Fantasy maptiles and sprites. On top of that, 90% of said graphics are poorly imported and palletized. It is one thing to rip graphics, and another thing to butcher them by improperly implementing them. Johan claims that all of the graphics were made by him, but I don’t think that he is fooling anyone. If you want to count ripping a Final Fantasy sprite, making them gain 300 pounds and giving them seizure face walkabouts, then go for it. Unfortunately, it gets worse as the game nears the end. Some of the interior castle tiles, such as the pillars, may leave you feeling a bit dazed. With that being said, it is safe to say that cosmetically, the game is just plain terrible too.
If you don’t like Beethoven’s Fur Elise, then be prepared to mute the sound. Fur Elise acts as Maternal Instinct’s universal score, being used for towns, villages, normal fights, boss fights, victory music, and so on. Later on in the game, it isn’t used as much. Instead, you hear silence, which most will welcome with open arms after hearing freaking Beethoven for five hours.
Maternal Instinct plays like your generic console-style RPG, and offers nothing fresh or exciting in the process. In fact, all it has to offer are gimped battles, poor itemization, and lackluster abilities. There are probably one or two fights that are challenging while the rest are simple. However, because of the speed of combat, the two challenging fights should be fairly simple to overcome if you are not an idiot. You could literally attack, go make a sandwich, take a dump, and then come back and still have time to think about your move.
There was not much thought put into the items, and many of them serve no purpose whatsoever. There are even a couple of treasure chests that never expire, meaning you have an unlimited supply of certain items. Come to find out, Johan did this on purpose. Why? I’m not sure, because you towards the end of the game, you can kill Ostriches in a single hit; netting you 8000 experience (at least one level per fight) and a heap of gold. Needless to say, the gameplay and structure is an absolute mess and not attractive by any means.
I hate to be so blunt about it, but this game just sucks. Johan must be proud of his work; why else would he give you a password upon completing the game that unlocks special credits and secret information? To think that the author is proud of this game sickens me. It is safe to say that Maternal Instinct is a solid example of a terrible game. If you ever want to know what NOT to do when creating a game, just do the opposite of whatever you see in Maternal Instinct.
I don’t know if a bad childhood is to blame here, but Johan obviously has it out for his mother. I wonder if his mother is aware of this hatred? Growing up, my mother somehow knew everything that I did, good and bad. You should probably watch your back, Johan. Like Bill Cosby once said about parents, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!”