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ups: great main character Scrat, quality voice acting, excellent visuals, solid platforming
downs: too short, too repetitive, too simple

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Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
game: Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
three star
posted by: Laurie Taylor
publisher: Vivendi Universal Studios
developer: Eurocom
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ESRB rating: E (Everyone)
date posted: 11:07 AM Mon Apr 3rd, 2006
last revision: 12:02 AM Wed Apr 5th, 2006

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Click to read.Ice Age 2: The Meltdown is based on the movie of the same name. As a game based on a Blue Sky film, Ice Age 2 delivers with quality voice acting, visuals, and overall solid game play. While Ice Age 2 is excellent for a kid\'s movie game, it lacks the depth necessary-through initial game play, replay, or extras-to be a complete success. That said it\'s definitely worth renting if you enjoy the movie, enjoy platformers, or have children to play with.

While games based on movies have improved in recent years, games based on movies traditionally have been poor. Likewise, many children\'s games are meant to sell based on other media instead of being worthwhile games in their own right. Ice Age 2 contradicts these general trends and offers quality visuals, narrative, voice acting and audio, as well as quality platforming action. Given all of these successful elements, Ice Age 2 is far better than many kid\'s games and than most movie-based games. With Ice Age 2\'s solid structure, it unfortunately never develops beyond that initial solid base through new moves, added game areas or extras, or added difficulty. Further, Ice Age 2 can be beaten in just a handful of hours, even pre-teen children will likely be able to complete Ice Age 2 in under ten hours.

Ice Age 2 begins with Scrat, the funny and adorable main character who\'s a prehistoric squirrel. Scrat doesn\'t really speak; instead, he makes squeaky noises, often gleefully at the possibility of more nuts. Scrat is an absolutely adorable character and his character alone makes Ice Age 2 worth renting. Ice Age 2 is based almost entirely on Scrat\'s incessant hunt for nuts and more nuts. Because Scrat searches obsessively for nuts, the game play itself is based around collection. Collection alone is fine-and it\'s really cute to see Scrat maniacally fight for nuts-but after the first few thousand nuts it begins to be repetitive. The insane hunt for nuts does operate in game play as an incentive on certain puzzles and as a mechanism for certain puzzles where Scrat must pull at a nut lodged in the ground in order to change the level layout. During Scrat\'s search for nuts, Scrat meets with the characters Diego, Sid, and Manfred. The characters are voiced by the film stars, Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Leary, and one of Ice Age 2\'s few extras is that it offers film clips with each star discussing their work on the film. Aside from Scrat\'s minor meetings with the others and his hunt for nuts, the story doesn\'t develop too much-a move that helps the game avoid too much overlap with the film-and that helps Ice Age 2 sustain a fast platforming pace.

For the actual game play, Ice Age 2 both delivers and stops short. While playing for a short period of time, the basic game play works rather well. However, after playing for a longer period of time, the game play doesn\'t develop and neither does the game world, making for a solid initial game that doesn\'t come to fruition. The basic game play consists of Scrat running, jumping, double-jumping, climbing walls, hitting and stomping enemies, swallowing water to inflate Scrat and blow him into new areas, and working with basic puzzles in the game levels to access particular areas. Some of Ice Age 2\'s puzzles include humorous dialogue, and kid-friendly elements like fart humor. However, the game play doesn\'t change or develop past the base conceit.

Ice Age 2\'s visuals and audio fully deliver. The voice acting and in-game sounds are excellently designed and implemented. Ice Age 2\'s visuals clearly capture the Blue Sky touch with well-designed motion, overall images, and game level layouts. The game play is also extremely clean, with no lag times or clipping, short load times, and no major structural flaws. Occasionally, the game\'s camera does get confused, but it can be easily and quickly corrected. Ice Age 2 also features nice level layouts and nice level diversity with some forest areas, some ice areas, and levels where Scrat can swim as well as areas where he has to avoid the water. The image and sound quality definitely succeed as an advertisement for the movie, and their quality implementation are definitely a highlight of the overall game.

Overall, Ice Age 2 does a great job adhering to standard conventions, and begins to add its own personality, but it just doesn\'t do enough. While Ice Age 2 has a number of very successful elements which make it into a decent platformer, it remains too short, too simple, and too repetitive for longer play. Ice Age 2 is still a very entertaining game for a short play session. If Ice Age 2 offered increased difficulty, more complex puzzles, more depth, or even more extras, it could have been a great game. Ice Age 2 is well worth renting to play with children or younger siblings, but even the excellent voice acting and cute connections to the film don\'t save Ice Age 2 from quickly losing interest for long-term play or replay. For Ice Age film fanatics, Ice Age 2 is fun for a few hours. For the rest of us, this isn\'t a great game and isn\'t worth more than a cursory-albeit still highly enjoyable-short play session.

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