George of the Jungle (Wii) Reviews

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George of the Jungle (Wii)

By: Rex Inego | Apr 13, 2008 05:48 PM

George of the Jungle is a game squarely aimed at children. It does achieve this quite well, playing out as a side scrolling platforming game. It uses its cartoon licence well, using the voice actors who work on the Nickelodeon production.

The game is very basic, which I suppose is endemic to its target audience. In fact, the game is not just aimed at children, but for children under the age of ten. It uses a variety of techniques to accomplish its goal. The perspective of the game is a 2D platformer which is a useful technique for young children. To add a little variety, the levels themselves are a little more varied, using a 3D world. The path bends in and out, making George closer ad farther to the screen to mix up the platforming a little. This simple genre of game play suits its audience perfectly. To make the game world a little more interactive, animals can be seen in the background, a woodpecker will be hammering a tree or a tiger will be seen poking its head from out a bush and this adds to the immersion nicely.

The storyline sets the premise, two of the sub characters, (the Witch Doctor and Ursulas Dad Җ a scientist) are arguing about a cure to the common cold. The Witch Doctor is trying to prevent his ancestors secret from becoming unveiled, and UrsulaҒs Dad is trying to help the world. During the entailing argument, the book of research notes is stolen by a Bird and the contents get distributed around the island. George is then called upon by both the Witch Doctor and Scientist to recover the notes.
In a disappointing twist, the game takes place over just six meagre levels. These are split into three different zones. George starts off in the Jungle zone, moving on to a swamp and finally a Temple. Whilst this was chosen to reflect locations within the cartoon, it would have made much more sense in terms of game design to use some standard video game clichs. A fiery volcano, a snowy peak and a dark cave would have really supplemented the game play. Choosing to have such a limited quantity of levels is one of the biggest reasons why this game cannot receive a huge score.

The three dimensional backgrounds occasionally tease the player with what may be mistaken for alternate routes. I spend a couple of minutes attempting to go down a second path, learning that it isnt actually feasible. It could have been a cool feature if the player was given the choice to explore, it would have added depth and variety, helping the player believe that they are making there way through a jungle, swamp or temple.

The core mechanics of the game are virtually perfect (although I did notice a couple bugs myself which tells me that another couple of weeks testing should have been implemented). George jogs along at a fairly slow rate (so the kiddies can keep up I presume) although he moves so slowly it patronises the target audience somewhat. Jumping works consistently, with a double jump to get to out of reach coins and bananas. George will automatically grab onto edges, which is useful, and combat simply involves pressing the B button. This can be chained up to three times to form a very basic combo system that钒s easy to use. Combat can be slightly varied by first jumping, and then attacking. Controls can be decent, but sometimes they are unresponsive, particularly when the games forces motion controls down your neck.

Players also have to solve frustratingly simple puzzles, the very first of which was to press the Z button to enable George to grab a square block. More in fitting with the title would have been a boulder, but well let that one go. This quality of puzzle is pretty much consistent throughout the game.

Graphically the game follows the show pretty well. The cartoon is animated using Adobe Flash, so to recreate this with 3D graphics, developers Crave Entertainment have decided to use cell shaded graphics. The graphics are very reminiscent of Futurama released for the original Xbox (2003). Standing still, the game looks fine with its bright and colourful palette showing off the cartoony aesthetic of a jungle very well.

Where George of the Jungle disappoints is through the occasional lack of animation. Small things like some characters not having any lip syncing, or the fact that trampolines not moving when George jump on them, jars slightly. What also jars is the over use of tuition. nearly every time you encounter a puzzle that involves you moving George into the right position, the game cleverly shows you a tuition movie for it. These bland and dull videos are over used, even for kids it will be come a patronising chore to watch them.

Whilst combat is fairly basic, the object detection in the game is often hit and miss. Enemies can nearly always hit George but the same cannot always be said of the other way around. George has five health slots, represented by a bunch of bananas (which is replenished by picking up more). Players can pick up coins as well, fifty of which will give you another life, and due to the physics detection you will need every single one. This alone means that this child orientated game has become unnecessarily hard to play. Sometimes George can get stuck against some of the scenery, with absolutely no option but to quit to the menu. An ability to restart from the last checkpoint would much improve this game.

The sound in the game is fairly generic; players can expect to listen to music that would not feel out of place in the Jungle book or in Tarzan. The main theme itself is a remixed recording of the 1997 Disney film staring Brendan Fraser. Whilst you would think would be a good idea, is tacky and annoying. The game continues the sense of wacky visual humor over witty writing to amuse its audience, and if the child you buy this for likes the cartoon then they should enjoy themselves, otherwise the comedy on offer may be too simplistic for older kids.

The six short levels arenҒt really enough to justify the budget price tag either. With just the disappointingly short single player mode, no multi-player or anything else to speak off, George of the Jungle isnt the most jam packed disc to date. Even children will be able to see at least the majority of everything on show in a full afternoonҒs sitting. Its a shame because if there was more content to speak off the game would receive a much higher score, this game pretty much hits the nail on the head in targeting its audience, but a bit of tidying up would have gone a long way with George of the Jungle.

Pros: -Simplistic game play is suitable for a very young audience -Bright and colorful graphics with nice background animations -Good representation of the license -Nice use of the 2D style, where many licensed games go for full 3D Ė developers have chosen a different approach

cons: -Poor music -Character animation is left t be desired -Lack of features -Lack of levels, and variety of levels -Doesnít really justify its price -Occasionally patronises its audience

conclusion: If your child loves games based on movies, and is a fan of the cartoon, then there is fun to be had. Graphically the game is ok; itís just a shame that the game only feels half completed. This is emphasised by the occasional bug, which begs the question, was George rushed out of the door? Or did they just run out of ideas? George of the Jungle is a fairly standard platformer with some good ideas, I just wish there was more of them. In a word - Standard

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