Review by Psycho Penguin
"I fail to see why this game isn't great."
''Barbie is the best game on the Nintendo because of its super trendy graphics and hoppin' soundtrack!''
I heard these works spoken to me before I sat down to play Barbie for the first time. From my future sexy girlfriend Jessica, the girl who claims Barbie is the greatest Nintendo game ever. I admit, I played this game before, and I loved it a lot, but I didn't think it's the best Nintendo game ever. And I still don't, but it still has all the great points needed to be a great video game.
And yes, Barbie is a great video game. Pull up a seat and let me preach to you exactly why it is.
The graphics are a little substandard, sure. Don't expect to see amazing graphics here. The backgrounds sure are colorful, but they border on absolutely insane color choices. Lime green and fluorescent pink are usually the colors of choices, although you will also see sky blue and a bitchin' shade of orange. I love the graphics, and their unique flavor.
Because these graphics sure are trendy. Despite the fact Barbie always seems to stand still while walking (she's a DOLL, so robotic motions are okay), she still animates quite nicely and there's no real slowdown issues. The enemies are some of the most bizarre looking things you will ever see, and sometimes it's hard to determine where your friend is (I had NO CLUE the parrot early on was actually a friend, you know. He just blended in with the rest of the scenery). Despite the few flaws, the graphics are still tremendous. I appreciate when a game developer spends time to make the game colorful and unique.
The music is also very goodly. GOODLY, I SAY! I love the way the music seems to sound different from one stage to the next, while changing very little. When I say this, I mean each level is divided into several areas, and the music will change slightly from area to area while maintaining the same beat and feel of the level music, which was certainly a good move. I loved all the music in the game, except for the last stage's, which was too cheery for me. Regardless, GREATLY MUSIC.
Sadly, the sound effects are mediocre. I'd feel like having some words with the person who decided to have a sound effect for EVERY TIME BARBIE JUMPS. Since you will be jumping a lot, the sound effect will soon get on your nerves. I liked it at first, but it slowly wore on me.
Fortunately, that's the worst part of the game, so let's move on.
Oh, wait, another minor complaint, first. Controls were kinda stiff. It's hard to accurately time and predict where Barbie will land. You have to run and jump a lot, but for some reason she didn't like to jump onto the ledges where I wanted her to jump on sometimes. Also, using the diamond weapon was kind of annoying. Regardless, the rest of the controls were still solid.
Barbie is one of those typical side scrolling games you saw a lot of back in the day, but boy was it fun. You start off by watching a movie scene where Barbie maps out the rest of her life.. or tomorrow. It concludes with her deciding she needs to get a new outfit at the mall, although meeting with Ken at the ice cream shop is also an important part of her day apparently. I never understood why Barbie and Ken loved each other so!
AAAAnyways, you start off in the mall, and this is where the fun begins.
The game involves a LOT of platform jumping, so get used to it. Barbie will have to do more jumps then you would have thought possible. Also, I never figured out exactly why there would be boxes and platforms for Barbie to survey in a MALL for christs sake, but this is a video game, and I guess video game logic must apply here.
Barbie comes equipped with a diamond, which is a weird choice for a weapon. The diamond only shoots out an inch to the left or right, then floats to the ground quickly. So, it can't kill many enemies, and that's the big problem here. The enemies are numerous and quick, but they're hard to kill. I still loved it though, as it gave sort of a Resident Evil feel to the game.
Barbie, apparently having visions of Little Nemo: The Dream Master, can use her diamonds to get her friends to help her out. Animals ranging from dolphins to seahorses to dogs will help Barbie out in her epic journey. Each animal has a unique skill that will benefit Barbie. Parrots float up and down, helping Barbie make those tough platform jumps, while dogs will run at enemies, to kill the ones Barbie can't get to.
Of course, the meat of a platform game is how well the stages are designed, and Barbie has surprisingly great stages. The jumps and enemies are so well placed, it's scary. You will go to a variety of locales, ranging from the mall to the beach to the soda place. With a total of 5 levels and 13 areas, Barbie is also a nice sized game.
Those 13 levels are the reason you will want to replay this game. Despite a lack of any significant secrets, the game has the right amount of levels to keep you coming back for more. It's also incredibly hard to beat on your first play through, as the controls take some time getting used to, and some of the enemies, bosses, and locales are extremely tough and will test even the most hardcore of players.
So, there you have it. I didn't expect this game to be good, I'll be honest. I remember it being an average game from when I played it back in the day. But, when you get into it, you will see it's more than just the typical Barbie game. It's so much more. It has everything needed to be a great side scroller, and more.
So, cast your fears and your doubts aside, because Barbie is worth 10 out of 10.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/19/03, Updated 06/20/03
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