I remember a time when Pixar was synonymous with
quality and originality. The thing I loved about Pixar was the fact that the computer
animation always seemed secondary to the story and characters. Sure, it was amazing to
look at, but you always got a sense that the animators were keenly aware that no matter
how good it looked, it would look dated in a few years. So instead of being content to wow
people with visual effects, Pixar spent as much, if not more, time on getting the story
right. Unfortunately, their latest venture seemed more concerned about fur than anything
else. Dont get me wrong, Sulleys fur is absolutely stunning, but you can only
marvel at fur for so long.
Toy Story was an amazing feat in story telling, but perhaps even more
remarkable was the fact that it also produced one heck of a video game. I remember playing
Toy Story for the Sega Genesis and being thoroughly impressed that a good game was born
out of a Disney product. The graphics were top notch and the controls felt fantastic.
Perhaps there have been too many platformers released in the last few years that it would
literally be impossible for one to seem innovative or original. This generations
version of hell may be playing an endless stream of platformerscollecting an endless
stream of coins and stars through the eternities.
We were recently
sent a whole slew of Monster Inc. video games. We got one for the the Game Boy Color and
one for the Game Boy Advance. Usually I would write individual reviews for each game, but,
after hours of play, they are all blurring into one another, especially the handheld
versions. I really am having a hard time seeing the difference between the two games. I
played the Game Boy Color as long as I could, and then took the Advance version as just as
fair, but perhaps having the better hand because it has better graphics. Aside from that
the playing was pretty much the same. I have a clear preference for the Game Boy Color
version, but that may be a constructed preference. Ironically, if the game play is pretty
similar I generally gravitate towards the less powerful system. Graphics are no more than
icing on the cake when it comes to good games. And, if there is no improvement in gameplay
from one generation to another, then whats the point of it all?
I will try to do
justice to each of these games, but I must admit that I am platform weary, and a little
Monsters Inc. weary as well. All sidescrolling platforms are derivations of Super Mario
and all 3D platformers are derived from Mario 64. Sure there may be improvements in camera
movements, graphics, and controls, but there has yet to be a game that really
revolutionizes what platformers can be. The Monster Inc. games are no exception to this
rule. Instead of coins, youre collecting paper work and blort cans, and instead of
firing fireballs you launch an attack of scares. There is the requisite jumping and
pushing, and of course there are bosses. There are a few mini games to pass the time with,
but nothing to really recommend these games over other platformers already on the market.
As Ive said,
the Game Boy Color version of the game is actually my favorite. Although the least
impressive graphically, the level designs felt a little more intuitive and the controls a
little more precise than the other incarnations. The Game Boy Color game starts things off
at the beginning of the film, while the Game Boy Advance game starts in medea res, but
they eventually overlap in terms of telling the same story. If youve seen the movie,
these games will hold no surprises.
There were a lot of
suggestions that I could have made for improvements in the film, but the games are more
than serviceable. I really dont know how they could have been improved without
radically altering their approach to the subject matter. You wont be disappointed
with playing these games. The controls, graphics, and gameplay are all more than adequate,
and if youre looking to recreate your film going experience, these games are as good
a place as any to look.