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1995-2000
GamesFirst! Magazine

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by Acclaim

Fashion-Store.jpg (3897 bytes)A week ago, I wrote a scathing review of Mary-Kate and Ashley: Magical Mystery Mall. I ripped apart the poor graphics, derivative gameplay, and clunky controls. I also took issue with its catering to the outdated stereotype of the shopping addicted teen. I really hated this game. But then something happened. My little sister came up to Idaho from Arizona for a visit. While she was here she did two things: she played in the snow and she played Magical Mystery Mall. She didn’t seem to notice how horrible the graphics were when I pointed them out to her, and I just couldn’t convince her that the controls were horrible. She simply didn’t care. So, here I am rewriting a review of a game that I’ve spent far too much time contemplating.

Foodcourt-.jpg (5683 bytes)The commodity that is Mary-Kate and Ashley has infected every possible media outlet on their quest for world domination. These girls have come a long way from playing straight men (or women) to the comic genius of Bob Saget. They have their own records, adventure books, videos, dolls and magazine. Now we have them on the PlayStation too. The game works on the satellite TV principle. If you give them enough channels maybe they won’t realize that there’s nothing worth watching. The Magical Mystery Mall has a lot to do, but none of it is all that innovative.

Music-Store.jpg (4374 bytes)The game starts off with Mary-Kate and Ashley accidentally freezing the mall in time. Excel at a series of unrelated mini games and they will undo the havoc they have wrought. These games consist of a fashion show, photographing cute guys at the beach, snowboarding, waitressing, and choreographing your own music video.

Music-Store-2.jpg (5435 bytes)In the Fash section you get to dress up your Olsen of choice and then have her pose on any one of a number of runways. No matter what combination of clothes you inflict on the poor girl she will always tell you what great taste you have. Once you get your Olsen of choice on the runway you need to take an award winning photograph of your new designs.

The beach game should be the most disturbing for most parents. It appears that Mary-Kate and Ashley have been spreading some false rumors about knowing some really cool guys. So, instead of coming clean about their dishonesty, they’re encouraged to fabricate evidence to back up their lies. You follow Mary-Kate or Ashley along the waterfront and then try to take a picture with her in it without any of the cool guys noticing. Thus reinforcing the "cool by association" principle.

Ski-Shop-.jpg (4564 bytes)The Snowboarding was a nice touch. It has a pretty simple design, but it was refreshing to have a "girl" game that took a break from playing dress up, cute boys, and shopping. The graphics or gameplay for this mode aren’t going to win any awards, but they get the job done.

As a waitress at the local five and dime you roller skate between the heat rack and the customers trying to rack up enough tips to get your gem. This is probably the most addictive mode in this game. It’s very basic; get the right order to the right customer before they get ticked off and leave. I actually enjoyed this mode, but the controls were so sensitive that I got more frustration than actual customer satisfaction. But again, like the snowboarding, this provided a nice break from the stereotypical "girl" fare.

Surf-Shop.jpg (4582 bytes)At the mall’s disco you can choreograph their moves and then make them dance to your favorite Britney Spears, N’Sync, or Rob Zombie CD. You choose from a series of "rad" dance moves and then control the camera angles for a music video shoot. I was switching camera angles so quickly it looked like a Michael Bay movie. This was my sister’s favorite game on the disc. It was really important to her to get high marks on her camera work.

Even though it seems to hit its target audience right on the mark, I can’t give it more than three stars. There is nothing remarkable about this game. It is more of a deft marketing tool than anything else. Will your little Mary-Kate and Ashley fans love it? Undoubtedly. And, in the end, does anything else I have to say about this game really matter?

Jason Frank

Snapshot

Ups: Your young fans will love it; lots of modes; a few pretty addictive minigames; snowboarding and waitressing.

Downs: Bland graphics; thoroughly reinforces gender stereotypes; touchy control.

System Reqs:
Sony PlayStation

 

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