Review By: Jared Black
|# Of Players:||1|
|Accessories:||Memory Card (3 blocks)|
Why Ignition Entertainment decided to revive the Animaniacs license after years of being off the air is beyond me, but I'm glad that they did. While the DS and GBA versions were huge disappointments (and essentially the same game), developer Warthog has finally produced a game that gets it right. Animaniacs: The Great Edgar Hunt won't be in the running for any Game of the Year awards, but it is a fun little game that finally utilizes the Animaniacs license right.
The story is as simple as one would expect. The evil Cyril Coupe Deville has nabbed all of the Edgar Awards (think Oscars), thwarting the show only hours before it's scheduled to start. Fortunately, as he's making his escape he crashes into the Warner Bros. tower and releases the Warners. Thus the player starts out as Yakko to find his missing "sibs" and recover the stolen Edgars along the way. Not exactly Shakespeare, but good enough for our purposes here.
Much like the aforementioned GBA version, the action takes place over a variety of different sets with generic themes like the Wild West, a haunted house, etc. Gameplay boils down to running around these levels, solving an occasional puzzle, collecting a ton of stuff (of course), and accomplishing various tasks to win back Edgars from the inhabitants there. Even with the use of three different main characters with their own talents, after a while this gets to be a little too monotonous. Fortunately, just about the time you're ready to shut off the console Pinky and the Brain are offered as playable characters in one of several different mini-games. These mini-games include a Dig Dug inspired level among others, and are nice breaks from the somewhat repetitive main quest. There are also a few entertaining mini-games in the main quest, including an on-rails shooting level.
As with most platformers, your main enemy usually ends up being the camera itself. The camera occasionally gets stuck on objects in the environment, and in general has a lot of trouble if the player tries to do anything other than move forward in most areas. The actual enemies are somewhat cheap as well; they often must be "stunned" in one of several different ways first and in doing so it's too easy to get hit and lose health when you really have no control over it. That's not a good thing, particularly for a game aimed at children.
Complimenting the storyline, a number of classic Animaniacs characters participate along the way. These include Dr. Scratchandsniff, classic Warner characters, and even the William Shatner impersonator used several times on the show. What really makes it feel like a true Animaniacs experience though is the use of the original voice actors for the Warners, who are given lines that fit the characters perfectly. There were some genuine laugh out loud moments scattered throughout the main quest, and those went a long way towards injecting a somewhat average platformer with some needed personality.
The majority of the budget must've gone into the voice acting, because the graphics are noticeably below GameCube standards. Although most of the characters are animated pretty well, the environments are full of flat textures and low-poly objects. Worst is a night vision mode late in the game, which looks like it was ripped straight out of an ugly PlayStation game. While on the whole the game definitely looks like how you'd imagine it on the original show, there's a lot more that could've been done from a technical standpoint.
As I mentioned before, the use of voice acting is great. However, during actual gameplay you'll hear the same few quips after picking up objects scattered throughout the world. These are mildly entertaining the first few times you hear them, but annoying after the 100th. Much like its handheld brethren the game's also missing the true original theme song (with the singing and everything), which is a disappointment since I thought it'd surely be included here. The sound effects do their job and that's about it.
Animaniacs: The Great Edgar Hunt is by no means the best platform game on the system, but it does all the right things to make it the best Animaniacs game to date. Combine that with a MSRP of $19.99, and it's a good purchase for children or nostalgic adults.
Posted: 2005-11-28 20:07:18 PST