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Monsters, Inc.

Review By:  Jared Black

Developer:  THQ
Publisher:  THQ
# of Players:  1
Genre:  Platform
ESRB:  Everyone
Date Posted:  11-14-01

Címon, you knew this was coming. With every major movie release, a video game tie-in is expected. With every major movie release aimed at children, a video game based on the movie is practically required by law. So here we are with Monsters, Inc. the video game, and itís pretty much what youíd expect.

As it should be, the story is really simple. Randall (the evil lizard thing) has shredded Booís (the innocent girl) door, and itís up to Sulley (the big bear thing) to find the door pieces and get Boo back home safely. Obviously, thereís only one type of game you can get out of that: a platform game. And Monsters, Inc. is your standard platform game in almost every way. As Sulley, youíll traverse over 20 levels (through five different worlds) trying to get Boo back home. Along the way, youíll collect a variety of things including candies (allows Sulley to perform a Roar Attack), hearts (red and green providing different amounts of health), laugh canisters (allows Sulley to use the Laugh Cannon), door pieces (to put the door back together), and a variety of other items. Along the way, youíll have to avoid agents of the CDA (Child Detection Agency). Since they canít be killed (this is a childís game after all), youíll have to avoid them and stun them with attacks. Unfortunately, theyíre practically the only enemy youíll face the entire game and get old rather quickly. One good feature is that the map is randomly generated with each new game, although the inclusion of a map of each level (along with item locations) doesnít make it any more challenging. Fortunately, the "Hard" level negates this by only showing rooms youíve discovered.

This platform action is broken up occasionally by two mini-games: a downhill skiing game and a door puzzle. After collecting the door pieces in each level, Sulley will then have to fit them into the broken door. This is just a simple puzzle involving the rotating and placing of pieces, and once the door is made whole again the boss area for each world will be opened. The downhill skiing game gives the player a chance to collect extra candies, health, etc. This game is accessed by finding the Bonus level warp within different levels, and the playerís performance can be enhanced by finding different collectible vehicles in the level where the warp is located. If the special vehicle isnít located before entering the warp, then the level will be played out using a homemade sled (which is slower and harder to maneuver).

The graphics, as theyíve always been with Pixar-based games, are excellent. Each world has a distinct look to it, with a bright color palette (essential for a GBA game) and lots of detail everywhere. Every sprite model is very well animated, right down to Sulleyís fur when jumping. The childish look of the game limits the overall graphical impact somewhat, but itís still a pretty GBA game thatíll look great in a little kidís eyes.

The sound is also excellent. There are plenty of sound effects, and the music is catchy. While it does loop a bit too much, the music is done well enough (and the music changes often enough) that it doesnít ever get too annoying.

Highs:

  • Great graphics with a bright color palette and excellent character animation.
  • Randomly generated map each time makes it a somewhat different experience.
  • The music isnít annoying, as is the case with most games of this type.

Lows:

  • Pretty standard platform action. Thereís nothing we havenít seen before, or isnít done better in other GBA platformers.
  • Since the 2D paths are fairly deep, it can be difficult at times to line up things properly.

Final Verdict:

Although I enjoy a good animated movie probably more than any adult should, this game clearly wasnít aimed at me. This game is aimed squarely at the 5-12 yr. old crowd. If youíve got a young kid on your shopping list that enjoyed the movie, then this game is solid and playable enough to make a great Christmas gift. For most of us, its average gameplay will get old fast.

Overall Score: 6.0

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