|Once again Disney has found away to cheapen one of their classics
by milking it for all its worth. By making a direct to video sequel of the first of
their "New Classics," theyve shown that nothing is sacred in Walts
world. Ariel, rebellious heroine of the original Little Mermaid, now has a rebellious
daughter of her own, and hilarity laced with tragedy ensues. Direct to video sequels are
often derivative, second rate dreck designed to capitalize on name recognition with little
effort placed into originality or creativity. It would appear that the same could be said
for the games that are based on them.
There are two kinds of games aimed at girls: the dress up game where you get to help Barbie through fashion crisis after fashion crisis, or you get a boys" game like Super Mario Bros. with the Princess in the lead and Mario and Luigi in distress. In other words, game makers either cling to outdated female stereotypes, or they completely disregard the differences between boys and girls. No one seems to want to take the time to figure out what girls would like to play. The Little Mermaid II seems to fall into the latter category. It is a game just like every other Mario clone, except this time the lead is a girl.
In The Little Mermaid II you swim through various 2D environments collecting, you guessed it, coins. (Why is it always coins? As a culture are we that obsessed with money?) There are other objects that you have to find, but why bother? The reward for all of your diligent efforts are a handful of mini games and a selection of movie clips ("Over 30 minutes!" the box promises). I repeat, the game rewards you with clips from the movie. Doesnt Disney know that anyone who would actually buy this game already owns the DVDs? The challenges of this game will be a little too simplistic for most people over 11. The levels are too short and the objectives are all too easy to obtain. For little people, though, there is probably lots of fun to be had in exploring Ariels undersea world. The controls were a little awkward and unresponsive, but not so much that they keep you from finishing the game.
The game takes you through both movies. I guess we can be grateful that they didnt try to spread it over two sold-separately discs. It is a standard side-scrolling adventure that has virtually no innovation and only fair graphics. This might be a pretty game on some 16 bit systems, but it doesnt put the Playstation through any sort of paces. With the PS2 knocking at our door, most gamers are looking to be wowed. Disney, as usual, just wants to placate the masses.
As a reviewer, I am frustrated knowing that the people who will buy this game will do so regardless of the warnings I issue no matter how strongly they are worded. If youre going to buy the game, stop reading this review and just buy it. If youre not going to buy it, youre probably just reading this review to find out how scathingly I can tear this game apart. You too will be disappointed. Its not a horrible game, much like most Saturday morning cartoons are not horrible. They are just unoriginal and simplistic. For a person with Little Mermaid curtains, sheets, towels and toothbrushes this is probably a great game. I just wish it could have been more for the rest of us.