Review by freezingicekirb

"A Movie-To-Game that is actually good!"

For once, we actually have here a good Movie-To-Video Game that is quite fun to play. Based on the movie, you follow our favorite woodland critters as they do whatever might be necessary; search for food, help their friends, defeat the bad guy(s), whatever. You'll go through plenty of levels to complete your various missions, meet many foes along the way, and you'll probably get a good laugh or two along the way.

The game takes place at the movie's climax, so you are reliving the movie's ending a bit altered. Saying this, if you haven't seen the movie, make sure you watch it first before playing this game (even if you don't want to play the game, watch the movie anyway because it is awesome). I won't reveal much about the intro, so it'll stay as a surprise on how the movie begins and the movie ends.

I would say that the story in this game is fine, but the way they did some things in the game is a bit wacky. One thing you'll notice that is way off that you'd never see in the movie is the fact that the Verminator is using some sort of mind-controlling device to control various animals/rodents. While this doesn't really harm the game, it doesn't do anything for it either. Thankfully, the execution of the rest of the game makes up for it, as the plot is pretty good, and the lines of the characters are funny and witty.

The game offers a broad horizon of locations for you to visit, and even though you spend a lot of time in the suburb where mostly everything looks the same, it doesn't feel that way. The yards will be different most of the time, layouts of the houses and paths that you take, etc. The game will always keep things fresh in this department. When you are not in the suburbs, you are at another location, like the Shooting Gallery or the Amusement Park. All these landscapes are really nice to look at and well detailed, which just adds to the game.

The combat is a hit and a miss sometimes. You'll take control of two out of the four possible players; RJ, Verne, Hammy, and Stella. They all mostly act the same except for their charged up ability, but that alone really doesn't give you the motivation to try out other characters. Besides their looks and their charge attack, the characters are exactly the same. The only reason for you to want to change to other characters is to hear the alternate dialog they offer when in a mission. When in charge of your two characters, you can change in between them at anytime (if they are both conscience), and when the player you are controlling gets knocked out, you'll automatically switch to the other critter to resume what you were doing. Thankfully, the AI for the partner is actually pretty good, who will mostly benefit you but will get in your way from time to time (or hinder you in some painful missions).

The combat is fun, though hard to control sometimes. The game sometimes relies on too much button mashing, so you'll find yourself pressing the attack button constantly to defeat waves of enemies that sometimes just seem to keep coming. Thankfully combat is fun, so it makes it a lot more acceptable. One bad thing though is that the game can sometimes get repetitive in this department as you'll be fighting hoards of Mind-Controlled Rats in one stage, then more Hoards of Mind-Controlled Rats in the next stage... and in the next... and in the next. Thankfully, there are a variation of enemies that range from Rats to Rabbits, Gophers, Moles, Badgers, and the few bosses that you'll run into (whom display a Health Bar).

Throughout the levels, you'll find items like CD's and Hats. The CD's unlock bonus materials, and there are plenty of those (game music, production art, and even some of the Over The Hedge comic). The Hats offer you five hits of protection whenever you wear one during a mission (you must find them, you can't wear those hats again). Other things that you collect can increase how much your Health Bar has or your special attack bar.

During each mission, you'll have "Primary Missions" and "Secondary Missions". The Primary Missions are the goals you have to do in order to finish a certain mission, and are unavoidable. Secondary Missions are completely optional, and are in no way needed to complete a mission. Secondary Missions usually involves some trivial things like opening all the coolers, while some of them are more bigger like saving the Porcupine triplets or carrying an item to a drop point. Sometimes Secondary Missions are there to challenge you, like telling you not to get hit by one of the trap lasers or not to get knocked out. To make the missions easier or harder, you can go into the options menu and set the difficulty to Easy, Normal, or Hard, normal being the default.

The game does boast voice actors, but unfortunately (I believe) none of them are the ones who voices the critters or the humans in the movie. That means no Bruce Willis for RJ, no Steve Carell for Hammy, no Gary Shandling for Verne, etc. Instead, we have imitators trying to replicate the original voice actors... and honestly, they didn't do too bad. You can obviously tell of course, but still they did a good job.

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Overall, if you are a fan of the movie, by all means check the game out! If you aren't, you may not like the game as well but it might still be interesting for you to check out. There were times when the movie made me laugh, and while some parts are frustrating, the game makes up for it being incredibly fun. This game is available for four different systems; the GameCube, PS2, Xbox, and the one I'm reviewing (the PC). It doesn't matter which one you go for, as they are all the same game. Try the game just once... you might like it.

Pro's~
- Fun to play
- Funny lines
- Really well-done graphics
- Play as your favorite Wood-land critters... any game where you get to play as RJ is a win in my book. -lol-

Con's~
- Can often feel repetitive
- Some missions can be a pain... fight hoards of enemies that literally take 5-10 minutes (depending on difficulty), then accidentally die just to have to start over and fight those same enemies again...
- Mind-Controlled enemies... just... no...

My overall score~
8/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/04/09

Game Release: Over the Hedge (US, 05/09/06)


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