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by THQ

GBA ScreenI 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. Don’t get me wrong, Sulley’s fur is absolutely stunning, but you can only marvel at fur for so long.

GBC ScreenToy 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 generation’s version of hell may be playing an endless stream of platformers—collecting an endless stream of coins and stars through the eternities.

GBA ScreenWe 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 what’s the point of it all?

GBC ScreenI 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, you’re 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.

GBA ScreenAs I’ve 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 you’ve seen the movie, these games will hold no surprises.

GBC ScreenThere were a lot of suggestions that I could have made for improvements in the film, but the games are more than serviceable. I really don’t know how they could have been improved without radically altering their approach to the subject matter. You won’t be disappointed with playing these games. The controls, graphics, and gameplay are all more than adequate, and if you’re looking to recreate your film going experience, these games are as good a place as any to look.

Jason Frank   (12/18/2001)


Ups: Nice graphics; good level design; good control.

Downs: Same old 2D platformer action.

Platform: Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color