Playing video games
shouldnt be a painful experience. When playing video games seems more like assembly
work than saving the world, you know youve got a problem. Let me start things off by
stating that I really like The Powerpuff Girls as a cartoon. Its everything that a
cartoon should be: witty, stylish and silly. Unfortunately, what makes the Powerpuff Girls
so successful as a cartoon does not translate easily to the video game medium.
put, the folks over at Bam! have stranded the Powerpuff Girls in a watered down version of
Power Stone. For a fighting game to be successful it has to have at least one of three
things: an intricate fighting system, breakneck pacing, or fantabulous graphics. The best
fighting games have all three; adequate fighting games have at least two of the three; and
passable fighting games can get by with only one. However, what do you do with a game that
cant measure up to any of these criteria? You run. You run as fast as you can.
The question isnt, "whats the matter with the
game?" but rather, "What problem do I start with?" I suppose the graphics
would be as good a place as any. Because of the highly stylized world of the Powerpuff
Girls, Im sure that the game makers thought that they could get away with a minimal
approach in terms of graphics, and they could have, if they had remembered to incorporate
style. The graphics have a pre-first generation PlayStation one feel to them. You expect
this level of quality in your bargain bin games, but not in a new, full priced high
The fighting system is more basic than youre going to find on any game outside of
the original Double Dragon. Punch, kick, and pick up stuff to throw. You can fly around
too, but its more like floating than actually flying. The game is so slow that
flying around the room is more akin to starring in the Macys parade than anything
even remotely superheroish.
Perhaps the game makers have watched a few too many John Woo
films. I can just see them sitting around and saying, "Isnt it really cool when
the action happens in slow motion." Everyone nods his or her heads in passive ascent.
"Wouldnt it be cool to have a game that was totally in slow motion?" Again
with the nodding. And so we have a game that feels like the characters are fighting under
water. Getting from one side of the screen to the other feels more like a long paragraph
section from the tortoise and the hare than a fighting game.
Powerpuff Girls: Chemical Extraction is yet another example of franchise exploitation.
Knowing that there is a built in audience for the Powerpuff Girls, the game makers failed
to see any reason for actually working to make a game that sells itself on its own merits.
Tis a shame.
This is one of those games where you really have to work to find
any merits. It does have a two player vs. mode (not that its any good). For some
reason the two player mode wont let you pit one Powerpuff Girl against another. I
guess the Powerpuff Girls can be mean to anyone but each other.
Usually, I laugh at really bad games as I play them. I think of all of the clever put
downs I can incorporate into my review and I actually enjoy the badness of the game play.
I didnt even enjoy this game for its crappiness. It was such a pathetic gaming
experience that I could find no joy in mocking. In fact I feel kind of guilty for being so
hard on the game.