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Pinobee: Wings of Adventure

Preview By: Siou Choy

Developer:   Hudson Soft
Publisher:   Activision
Genre:   Platformer
Est. Release:   June 11, 2001
Posted:   June 7, 2001

That cheesy old children's favorite Pinocchio will be getting a new twist this summer in Activision's Pinobee: Wings of Adventure, for the Game Boy Advance. Instead of the puppet that becomes a boy you'll play as a robot bee that dreams to become a real one (and they say us slackers have no aspirations). And remember, kids, it's only with your help that Pinobee will be able to fulfill his fondest wish in this side-scrolling platform game from members of the team that created Sonic and Nights for Sega.

The deep and involving story of the game? "Genius robotics engineer", Grandpa Bee (and isn't everyone's grandpa a genius robotics engineer?), is putting together a robot bee (our hero, natch). But wait - before he can put a heart into his masterpiece (here's the dramatic tension), Grandpa Bee is (gasp) kidnapped! Of course, Pinobee sets out to rescue him. And gee, I guess it's just a given that the end of the story involves the ostensibly heartless Pinobee being shown that his act of courage on Grandpa's behalf means (come on, everybody, all together now) he already has a heart (awwwww). Okay, I know, the story sucks. But so did Pinocchio, and people still read it to their kids. But let's get back to the game itself (because I doubt anyone over the age of 3 will actually pick this one up for its profound and insightful storyline).

Given that this is a more or less traditional side-scroller, you'll have to maneuver Pinobee in a strictly linear manner to complete each level - no real exploration here, folks. The usual assortment of extraneous items and power-ups are to be found in each level, helping to refill Pinobee's health meter as he takes on damage in the game. Pinobee has a few tricks up his sleeve to deal with enemies: either by collecting items to use against them, performing butt-stomps with his stinger, or by jumping (sometimes triple jumping) on enemies, similar to Super Mario Bros. New moves, and the ability to fly for longer spurts, become available to Pinobee as you progress through the game - for example, Pinobee will eventually gain a protective shield along the lines of the one Sonic surrounds himself with during dashes.

The characters in the game, like those of the GBA's Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2, will be sprites created from pre-rendered 3D models. Pinobee himself has somewhat of an anime look to him. The game has a bright, colorful, vibrant feel to it, noticeable in both the backgrounds and characters throughout the game. The background will be painted and multi-layered to give the impression of depth.

From all indications, Pinobee looks to be a short game, and relatively easy to complete at that. One small, but welcome upgrade not found in the old games is the option to re-enter completed levels to collect items that may have been missed. Doing this, of course, will affect the outcome of the game.

In direct contrast to the standard output of home based consoles over the past decade, side-scrolling platformers seem to be the norm, rather than the exception on the GBA; so only time will tell whether Pinobee: Wings of Adventure will wind up lost in the crowd on it's June 11th release.

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