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The Powerpuff Girls: Mojo Jojo-A-Go-Go

Review By:  Jared Black

Developer:  Sennari
Publisher:  BAM!
# of Players:  1-3
Genre:  Shooter
GCN Link:  No
ESRB:  Everyone
Date Posted:  1-24-02

If you were in charge of producing the latest Powerpuff Girls game, what kind of game would you make it? A platform game? What about a puzzle game (Super Hyper Turbo Powerpuff Girls Puzzle)? How about an old-school shooter in the vein of Life Force and Gradius? That’s right, developer Sennari has forged an seemingly odd pairing in combining the Powerpuff Girls license with an old-school shooter reminiscent of the glorious 8-bit days of gaming (back when everything was Pure and Good). Despite the apparent mismatch, it nevertheless works pretty well as Sennari has created a side-scrolling shooter that would make the boys over at Konami proud.

In case you aren’t familiar with the genre, it’s basically a horizontally-scrolling game that forces you to kill or be killed. This results in an action-filled and hectic gaming experience as you’re forced to continue moving forward at all times. In this game, the Powerpuff Girls all work together to take out Mojo Jojo and his army of assorted baddies. All three girls fly together, with only one being controlled by the player at any one time. While waiting for their turn, the other two girls will fly behind and toss a ball in boredom, bring out pompoms and cheer the lead girl on, etc. Each girl has her own health bar, and at any time the player can switch control from one to another. If all three girls die, it’s game over.

As you’d expect from a shooter, there are several different power-ups the girls can acquire. These include things like Chemical X, various laser beam (they shoot ‘em out their eyes) upgrades, punch upgrades, and Super Attacks (dependent on which girl is in the lead and must have all three girls to use). In addition to their laser eyes, they can also punch. The punch button is also used to pick up various items in the environment (clearly marked with an X) such as mailboxes and trees, which can then be thrown to whack several baddies at once.

The graphics are rather simple, but that’s exactly how they should be as the cartoon itself is drawn in a simple manner. The game is very colorful, with lots of vibrant primary colors filling up the screen. Everything in the game is animated well, from the girls themselves (with the previously mentioned various idle animations) to the baddies to people in the background. It all comes together for a pleasurable viewing experience that, while not impressing you with it’s technical excellence, does a good job of recreating the feel of the cartoon series. My only real complaint with the graphics is that things can get a bit repetitious at times. The levels are so long that background art is often used several different times, and it makes the game often seem like an old Scooby-Doo chase scene (you know, the ones where Shaggy and Scooby pass the same flowerpot about 30 times).

The sound is passable. The music (aside from the show’s theme song) is fairly generic, and doesn’t really add or detract from the experience. The sound effects are the same way, with some pretty basic shooter-type effects. It does however include some minor voice acting from the narrator of the show, and that goes a long way towards making it feel like a true Powerpuff Girls game.

All of this is great, but the game’s real problem is that it plays exactly like those old-school shooters. You know the old ones with INSANE degrees of difficulty? While it isn’t quite as bad as some of those, it’s really too hard for it’s intended audience. I sat down fully expecting to clear at least the first couple of levels without problem and several tries later I was still working on the first level. I can’t see my niece having the patience to fight through it, nor having the skills to do so in the first place.

Highs:

  • Gameplay is tight, and on par with those old classic shooters you remember so fondly.
  • The graphics are simple, but ooze style and personality.
  • Progress is saved automatically to battery-backup, which is very important given the target audience.

Lows:

  • The difficulty level is set way too high for younger gamers.
  • Shoot…shoot…punch…it all gets repetitive fairly quickly.
  • Having an option to choose from five different languages at the start of the game is great, but I shouldn’t have to do it every single time I start the game up. There is a battery in there…use it!

Final Verdict:

Despite the difficulty being set too high for the typical Powerpuff Girls fan, this game is still one of the best shooters on the GBA. Recommended for exceptionally gifted younger gamers, or adult gamers who have a secret fondness for Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles.

Overall Score: 7.8

Additional Media:

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