Review by TSC

"A sad, sad attempt at entertainment."

Let me just start off this review by saying that I make no attempt to be unbiased in this review. I hate this game. Absolutely hate it. The previews and TV spots made it look fairly interesting, but two minutes into playing it I realized that this is truly a platformer that puts the entire genre to shame. I spent the next several hours trying to rationalize to myself why I had bought it. "The graphics aren't bad, when viewed at a distance!" I said. "At least the levels are fairly short!" Well, now that my point has been made, let's get into the real review.

STORY - 2/10

Kind of strange. An annoying bird who seems to be able to whip up giant robots and sophisticated weaponry whenever he likes, using the type of sophisticated machinery you just find lying around in the outback, is after some strange talismans that serve no clear purpose. A group of tigers is trying to protect same. But Boss Cass (the bird) does something, and sends all the tigers to a strange realm called "Dreamtime" but which I think would be better named "A Convenient Plot Device." Now, after an unexplained break, Cass is back to take the talismans again, and Ty, a son of a couple of the lost tigers, is out to stop him. The few cutscenes mostly show Cass ranting at incompetent henchman, Bond-villain style ("I'm surrounded by numbskulls!").

GAMEPLAY - 1.5/10

Don't even get me started. Well. you already have by clicking on this review, so here goes. My main problem with this game's gameplay scheme is that there are just too many things to collect. The term "easter egg hunt" simply does not work here - going after this game's collectibles is more like looking for buried treasure without a map. You've got to find thunder eggs, first of all, which are obtained in a number of generic and dull missions that mostly involve Ty killing something, going to a semi-random place, or partaking in an extremely dull "race." The most inspired mission is probably going on a hunt after some lost emus. Whee, what fun. And that may be bad, but what's worse is there are a million other strange and random things to collect, like rainbow scales and portraits and strange bilbies and golden cogs - and opals. The opals are the worst. There are about three hundred in every level, hidden in every conceivable place you could imagine, and some you couldn't. Since the graphics and levels are so poorly designed, there's often no way to know if there's a secret tunnel or something leading to a bunch more. After every level's missions are complete, expect to spend about another 30 minutes going around looking for those last two or three opals wedged in a cliff or hidden in a breakable shack somewhere. Don't bother with the level maps - they're so poorly designed that it's near impossible to tell where anything is. And this is not helped by the level organization, which makes it seem like the designers sort of set up a central area and then had a contest to see who could create the most confusing and random branching paths. Evidently these contests had a lot of winners.

Most of these collectibles serve no purpose other than to let you access more collectibles, with the exception of the golden cogs, which allow your annoying (I've already used this word to describe a character, haven't I? Well, expect to hear it used again) friend Julius can use to make you a whole bunch of boomerangs. These boomerangs express the highly original concept of representing various elements, such as ice and fire. Other than putting out the occasional fire, freezing objects and the like, they don't serve much purpose. Then again, neither does playing this game.

GRAPHICS - 2/10

As I said above, the graphics look all right, at a distance - by which I mean you, the player, physically distant from the screen. The character designs also seem rather poor, and Ty looks a bit angular, with a polygon count that appears as low as his I.Q. Also, the backgrounds seem kind of dull and lifeless, without much color to them. There are maybe four or five total environments in this whole game, and different occurrences of these environments are separated from each other by hard-to-express concepts such as night (which is solid black) or snow (solid white) or water (solid blue). Hmmm, very strange.

SOUND - 3/10

The sound gets a three because it is not flat-out awful, simply very tedious. The way the characters' mouths move does not seem to match up with their words, which by the way are poorly dubbed. The Australian accents of the characters are fake and unconvincing. The characters are mostly just annoying, and miscellaneous sound effects are poor and surprisingly infrequent.

REPLAY VALUE - 1/10

Replay? What is this replay? I didn't even finish it the first time through, let alone want to play again and suffer through this mess all over again.

BUY OR RENT? - Neither. But if you insist on playing this game, even after all the warnings I've given you, then rent it.








Reviewer's Score: 1/10 | Originally Posted: 10/11/04


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