GBA REVIEW: POPEYE: RUSH FOR SPINACH

Popeye: Rush for Spinach is incredibly good looking and sounds just as great. Call me crazy, but I think it would make an excellent cartoon. As a game, it's a freaking mess.

When will developers ever get it right when it comes to Popeye? Just leave him in his cartoons if you can't do him justice. The entire Popeye premise is perfect for a videogame. There is a bully, a love interest, a power-up in the form of spinach and some super-human feats of strength typically reserved for a fist fest. If you can't work with that, then give it up. The reason Popeye works is because although he's a cartoon character he's portrayed as a regular guy in a slightly exaggerated world. In other words, he's keeping it real. Do we really need to see Popeye and his pals skateboarding, swinging from vines and riding dinosaurs? This isn't Mario for crying out loud.

Rush for Spinach is a generic game that blends platforming and racing. The design attempts to replicate the classic Super Mario format but in race form with three other characters involved in getting to the end of the level first. There are 12 levels filled with booby traps and obstacles designed to slow you down. These traps include the standard pit-filled-with-spikes and lava pools. You can walk, run, jump and use various vehicles such as boats, cars, skateboards and pogo sticks, which starts to smell like a kart racer. There are some ridiculous levels including the jungle level in which the characters are decked out in Tarzan outfits and swing from vines. There is also a level that takes them back in time to the caveman days where they ride dinosaurs through a minefield of active volcanoes. Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Popeye a sailor? When did he become a spaceman and a time traveler?

As the game is designed, it's unfair to race against the CPU since it knows the layout of the levels. You, on the other hand, will have to go through each level a number of times until you can commit most of it to memory. The side-scrolling engine doesn't reveal much that lies ahead so consequently you'll end up getting stung numerous times just because the game limits you from reacting in time.

You can play as Popeye, Bluto, Olive and Wimpy. Grabbing power-ups is the only way to win the race. You will find Spinach and Curses which will either speed you up or slow you down. Some power-ups will slow down your closest opponent allowing you to take or increase the lead temporarily. I say temporarily because if you're playing against the machine, and it's your first time in a level, you don't stand a chance. The four-player level puts everyone on the same level playfield but good lucking finding three other friends with a copy of this game.

Graphically the game is stunning. The characters are large, colorful and beautifully animated. With voice clips from the actual cartoon there's nothing to complain about as far as production quality goes but if that's all I cared about I would be better off watching the cartoon. This game doesn't "blow me down," it just blows.

Preview by Vaughn

Popeye: Rush for Spinach is incredibly good looking and sounds just as great. Call me crazy, but I think it would make an excellent cartoon. As a game, it's a freaking mess.

When will developers ever get it right when it comes to Popeye? Just leave him in his cartoons if you can't do him justice. The entire Popeye premise is perfect for a videogame. There is a bully, a love interest, a power-up in the form of spinach and some super-human feats of strength typically reserved for a fist fest. If you can't work with that, then give it up. The reason Popeye works is because although he's a cartoon character he's portrayed as a regular guy in a slightly exaggerated world. In other words, he's keeping it real. Do we really need to see Popeye and his pals skateboarding, swinging from vines and riding dinosaurs? This isn't Mario for crying out loud.

Rush for Spinach is a generic game that blends platforming and racing. The design attempts to replicate the classic Super Mario format but in race form with three other characters involved in getting to the end of the level first. There are 12 levels filled with booby traps and obstacles designed to slow you down. These traps include the standard pit-filled-with-spikes and lava pools. You can walk, run, jump and use various vehicles such as boats, cars, skateboards and pogo sticks, which starts to smell like a kart racer. There are some ridiculous levels including the jungle level in which the characters are decked out in Tarzan outfits and swing from vines. There is also a level that takes them back in time to the caveman days where they ride dinosaurs through a minefield of active volcanoes. Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Popeye a sailor? When did he become a spaceman and a time traveler?

As the game is designed, it's unfair to race against the CPU since it knows the layout of the levels. You, on the other hand, will have to go through each level a number of times until you can commit most of it to memory. The side-scrolling engine doesn't reveal much that lies ahead so consequently you'll end up getting stung numerous times just because the game limits you from reacting in time.

You can play as Popeye, Bluto, Olive and Wimpy. Grabbing power-ups is the only way to win the race. You will find Spinach and Curses which will either speed you up or slow you down. Some power-ups will slow down your closest opponent allowing you to take or increase the lead temporarily. I say temporarily because if you're playing against the machine, and it's your first time in a level, you don't stand a chance. The four-player level puts everyone on the same level playfield but good lucking finding three other friends with a copy of this game.

Graphically the game is stunning. The characters are large, colorful and beautifully animated. With voice clips from the actual cartoon there's nothing to complain about as far as production quality goes but if that's all I cared about I would be better off watching the cartoon. This game doesn't "blow me down," it just blows.
.

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System: GBA
Dev: Namco
Pub: Namco
Released: Apr 2005
Players: 1 - 2
Review by Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
2.0
MUSIC/FX
4.5
VALUE
1.0