GAMECUBE REVIEW: TEEN TITANS

Pre-Teen Titans will enjoy the colorful characters and pick up and fight gameplay featuring their favorite heroes. Please note: game might not be suitable for all (older) ages. by Vaughn Smith

July 18, 2006 - Even though this current roster of teenage heroes has been around for close to 25 years now, they're still the new kids on the block. They've languished in relative obscurity since the late 80's but returned to pop culture with a vengeance a couple of years back, thanks in part to that engaging theme song. I don't care what you say, the TT theme is as classic as the original Batman and Spider-Man themes. Reinventing TT for the anime age was probably the single best idea DC ever had. Slap some big round eyes on Robin and viola! Instant 21st century makeover for characters that are at least 3 times as old as the audience currently digging their animated hijnks. It was no surprise that a video game was in the works for the world's youngest adventurers and I'm happy to report that it's a decent fist fest and budget priced fun for kids of all ages (as long as those ages end at around 12 or 13 tops).

Teen Titans screenshot

Teen Titans features a story mode that can be played alone or with 3 other friends (PS2 owners require the multi-tap for 4-player fun). The story is actually a little a-typical involving the Titans being transported into a video game where they must find the last boss to exit this bizarre world. If anything the story allows the player to excuse the cookie-cutter enemies and obvious trappings of the beat-em-up genre as the game is, in essence, a video game already. You'll even find the characters breaking that "fourth wall" and talking directly to you, the player. It's all in good fun and if you're a fan of the show anyway you'll take it in stride.

Controlling the 5 main characters (Robin, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Raven and Starfire) is a snap for the most part. While all of the heroes have their own special moves and abilities, they are well-balanced. Keeping them as equal as possible allows the player(s) to play as their favorite hero, while never being forced to play as a "lesser than". However I highly encourage those players who do play favorites to experiment with the other characters as the special moves and abilities are interesting and can alleviate some of the boredom and repetition that definitely permeates the game after awhile. Changing between Titans in a single player game requires a touch of the d-pad and can be done at anytime.

Teen Titans screenshot

The heroes all come equipped with a decent array of attacks (ranged, strong and quick) and those can be powered up. Special attacks can also be discovered and utilized for each hero, while special team attacks add some flavor to the fighting experience. Unfortunately the camera can often be the heroes' worst enemy as offscreen threats can (and will) attack relentlessly. The amount of characters on the screen simultaneously can often times be confusing as well, leading to moments of "Who am I? Where am I?" especially if you're playing alone while the game AI controls the other characters you aren't using at the moment.

Story mode consists primarily of clearing a room full of enemies before being allowed to reach the next room full of enemies. Eventually you'll arrive at one of the 10 bosses located in the game which provide a decent challenge. At the budget price of $19.99 Teen Titans isn't the longest game you'll ever play, nor will you want it to be given the repetitive game design. The average gamer will defeat this video game within a video game in just a few short hours. Progressing through Story mode unlocks all sorts of goodies including new characters and arenas for the Master of Games mode. MoG mode takes place in arena settings and is essentially just a big brawl mode. There are scads of characters to unlock including enemies and bosses from the game and other characters from the show which will please fans of the Titans, even if the mode isn't the deepest. Gamers will just find it fun experimenting with all of the new moves and characters.

Teen Titans screenshot

Visually Teen Titans is a mixed bag. The characters are bright and colorful and the animations are action-packed, while the generic backgrounds will eventually lead to some yawns. The frame rate struggles to keep up the with action at almost every turn and leads to many instances of dropped frames. I've already mentioned the ADD camera which can be an extreme fuse-blower depending on your (lack of) patience for such things. The music is as generic as the backgrounds, but the animated series voice actors have lent their talents providing the game with more pop culture impact which is sure to delight fans. And yeah, that infectious theme song is also present and accounted for. Gotta love that.

Ultimately Teen Titans won't keep you interested forever. A2M got enough elements right to make it an engaging romp that fans of the series and comic book will enjoy for X amount of time. The budget price is definitely a deal-maker especially if you and your friends plan on playing it quite a bit. The game is a mindless, simplistic punching bag that will either be music to your eyes, ears and thumbs or a crushing disappointment for those looking for more depth (note to self: lower your expectations of superhero games, dude). A rental would certainly suffice for anyone but the most diehard of Titans fans.

Teen Titans screenshot

By Vaughn Smith
CCC Site Director

Rating out of 5
Teen Titans (GC)
3.3
Graphics
The frame rate robs the overall quality, but the animation and character design is very well done.
3.3
Control
Anyone can pick up and play TT, but even with the extra moves and combos the game definitely feels repetitive after 30 minutes (or less).
3.8
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Voice actors from the show is a highlight. The music is "meh". Sound effects are decent and punchy.
3.5
Play Value
5 characters to play as in Story mode, with dozens more available Master of Games mode. TT is more entertaining with a group.
3.5
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
Preview by Devin
Life has never been too easy for young Dick Grayson. When we were first introduced to him as young Robin, the poor kid was referred to as a "Boy Wonder". He could easily have been picked out of a crowd by the green hot pants he wore, along with a tiny little yellow cape and little green booties upon his feet. Let's not forget the giant R on his chest, resembling the Scarlet Letter.

Poor kid.

As fate would have it, one day the little snot nosed brat would turn into a want to be badass. He lost the Luke Skywalker comb over, got a real cape and some steel-toed boots. He then ditched the shadow of Batman and found himself a young gang of teenaged superheroes. Say hello to the Teen Titans.

With Robin moving on up in the world, it's only natural that he and his team of Titans star in their own videogame.

Most videogames based of a comic book series or movie adaptation all boiling down to just one thing; beat 'em up. Unfortunately Teen Titans doesn't look like it's going to offer up much more than button mashing action adventure.

Teen Titans does prove to possess a very slick presentation, with fairly spacious 3D levels and an UI that resembles the animation found in the popular WB hit cartoon.

Unfortunately that's not where the similarities end for the Teen Titans. Titans looks as though it is going to play much like Gauntlet or even X-men Legends, with 4 players on screen at a time. And since the Teen Titans feature a roster of five superheroes, which means you'll have one character waiting on deck. You'll actually be able to use this in your strategy. If one of your super cohorts tires out, you can switch him or her up with a rested hero with a simple press of a button.

And just like every other videogame based off a comic, each hero has his or her own special abilities that, yes you yourself can wield and abuse to your discretion. For example, Beast Boy will have the abilities to, yes, change into a creature of power! Through out the game your characters will also learn new abilities. Unfortunately you have no control over what abilities you learn as your characters as the computer controls the advancement.

Slated for a 2006 release, Teen Titans looks like it will be a for sure hit for fans of the cartoon.

Preview by Gooseberry

Warner Brothers Interactive has given publisher Majesco video game rights to its popular animation series Teen Titans, based on the adventures of teenage versions of DC comic superheroes.

The games will allow players to switch between characters on the fly to take advantage of their unique super powers.

"We are excited to introduce these young superheroes to the video game audience," said Ken Gold, vice president of marketing at Majesco. "We are confident that Teen Titans will appeal to video game players of all ages."

A Game Boy Advance title based on the license will be released before the end of 2005, with GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox versions following in 2006.

Teen Titans box art
System: GC (shown), PS2
Dev: A2M
Pub: Majesco
Release: June 2006
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Vaughn

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best