I'll admit, I was a huge Simpsons fan for much of my youth and bachelorhood. My cousin and I would spout quotes from that show for hours on end. So obviously any Simpsons-based video game was worth at least a test run, right?
The Simpsons: Road Rage, though, really wasn't. I was impressed at the attention to detail and care given to making the city of Springfield authentic, and the fact that the entire cast of the animated series lent their voices added some charm. However, this was supposed to be an open world racing game, and the mechanics were just plain sloppy. You'd hit cars and walls that weren't even close, and spin out of control due to an oversensitive steering wheel. Apparently, a ton of fans picked up this disaster; hopefully it didn't completely turn them away from television's most popular animated family.
An alternative to the intimidating footwork required with Dance Dance Revolution and other such games, Just Dance focused more on getting your whole body into it—and looking like a fool in front of friends and family. The series got progressively better with each new entry, but the original was just a little too barebones in content, with modes that were a lot more difficult than they should have been. With no feature to download new songs, no progression system, nothing to unlock, and poor motion controls, it's surprising the game sold nearly five million copies. Thankfully, the undeserved revenue went into making better sequels.
I'm about as shocked as you are that this game managed to sell 1.5 million copies. Granted, a small handful of movie tie- in Disney games were genuinely good (Aladdin is the one that pops into my head), but A Bug's Life isn't a part of that exclusive club. I'll chalk it up to either parents being ignorant of the game's reviews, or the children being easily pleased with an interactive Disney experience. Whatever the reason, despite having the expected vibrant visuals and pleasing audio, the gameplay was incredibly sluggish, with platforming design that was tired and overused.
Wii Sports gets a free pass, despite its shallow gameplay, since it single-handedly ushered millions of non-gamers into our world. The fact that is sold nearly 80 million copies has to count for something. Like Wii Sports, Wii Play sales benefitted from being a bundled deal, but it still wasn't worth the extra ten bucks with the Wii Remote. Unlike familiar sports games, the glorified tech demos on Wii Play were confusing for those new gamers, and almost all the minigames were just plain boring.
Thankfully, Nintendo learned from the design blunder that was Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and went on to create several masterpieces afterwards. But most of us aging fans who've followed the Zelda series from the beginning clearly remember the disappointment of this sequel. From the stale platforming to the tedious grinding through battles to upgrade your stats, it certainly wasn't an improvement on the original formula. It barely even felt like a Zelda game, and no amount of gold plating on the cartridge could make up for that.
Date: September 26, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*