We all know the classic story of Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, after all it is the basis for countless reinterpretations in all sorts of media, but did you know that it all started with an NES game in 1988? When Japanese film company Toho, best known for its kaiju movies, created the game, they knew that it was too bad to sell by its own merit, so they decided to create an elaborate backstory in an effort to sell the title to unsuspecting victims.
In 1987 Toho commissioned a book based on the games story, but they couldn’t let just anyone write it. Secrecy was paramount and so we meet Robert Louis Stevenson, the supposed “author” of what should become a stable of English literature. But who is Robert Louis Stevenson? If we take a closer look at his name, it becomes apparent: Robert Louis Stevenson is an anagram for Subservient Lone Torso and he was the first Cyborg in human history. Toho created him with the sole intention of writing a novelization of the game, never expecting that he would retain fragments of his former self which would manifest in his writing. We don’t know for sure who the human part of this Robert Louis Stevenson was, some say it was the torso of the recently deceased Liberace, some think it was Andy Warhol’s, but his tale of two souls in one body would act as reminder of the dangers of cybernetic engineering for generations.
And this is how we ended up with two very different works of fiction. One about a guy taking a slow stroll through a city filled with maniacs and demons, one about the struggle with dissociative identity disorder. While the novelization was a huge success, the game never made an impact and so it is no surprise that all reinterpretations were based on the book. This is going to change soon however, thanks to a certain James Rolfe, better known as The Angry Video Game Nerd. Not only was he responsible for uncovering this relic of awfulness, he is also currently working on the first movie based on the original version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, more than 25 years after it was released and we have the trailer for it:
Disclaimer: Everything I wrote is of course true, minus the movie thing. It’s a stand-alone trailer, no movie coming. Sorry everybody.