GAMECUBE REVIEW: THE INCREDIBLES

Pixar and Disney have another hit on their hands this year. The team that brought you Toy Story 1 & 2, Monster's Inc. and Finding Nemo have been hard at work on The Incredibles, an animated tale involving a family of superheroes, not unlike Marvel's Fantastic Four. While the movie seems to be pulling off some heroic feats at the box office, the game is doing the exact oppposite on store and rental shelves everywhere. You guessed it: another mediocre game tie in with a quality Disney flick. Will wonders ever cease?

I don't have to point out that The Incredibles movie and videogame are definitely suited to an audience right in line with the Finding Nemo crowd which I would say clocks in at around ages 5-11, maybe 12. After that milestone age, the kids are too busy shooting up the streets of San Andreas to care about spandex wearing middle-aged superheroes. You'll notice there isn't a teenage boy superhero in the family and why would you think that is? Because dear reader, Disney knows this demographic most likely won't be going anywhere near the movie or the game. Since I haven't seen the movie yet, I can't comment on whether this is a good or bad thing, but as for the game....they should stay far, far away.

Having played The Incredibles at this years E3, I came away extremely unimpressed and I'm happy to report that my initial instincts were correct: there is nothing incredible about this game at all. It is a lackluster superhero beat em up that just isn't much fun. However I place the blame almost squarely on the lameness of it all directly on Pixar's shoulders because the super powers featured in The Incredibles are nothing short of boring. Super strength, elastic powers, invisibility and super speed just don't really cut it when it comes to really cool super powers and they don't translate into exciting gameplay either. In a year where Treyarch gave us the ability to webswing and wallcrawl through a virtual Manhattan, everything else tends to pale in comparison.

Each level in the game is suited for only one character, meaning you can't even experiment with the heroes and their powers. Mr. Incredible will fight numerous waves of bad guys, Elasti-Girl will use her elastic arms to swing around and fight enemies from afar as well as some frustrating puzzle solving, those ever-popular stealth missions will rest on Violet's invisible shoulders and of course the little guy Dash with his lightning fast speed will play the role of Sonic the Hedgehog in this game. I would say "Been there, done that" but to say "Been there, done that" is so "Been there, done that" already, isn't it?

I question the games difficulty because, after all, this game is aimed at a younger gaming audience. Unresponsive controls, a wonky camera, animations that must end before you can move on to the next move and some powerful bosses definitely make this experience much harder than it should be. Older gamers who have logged hundreds of hours under their belt playing games like this will know what to expect, but little gamers who just want to play as their newest favorite heroes, will be frustrated to tears. I guarantee it. In many instances the special moves needed later in the game require a far too complicated control scheme for young hands. On top of that the games attention deficit lock on feature will have your little angel reciting those cool new words he hears on the playground.

You won't be able to argue that the game doesn't look great; it sure does. All of the characters from the movie are present and look just as cool as they do in the movie. The games visuals are so enticing that your kids won't shut up until you rent the game, at the very least. Let them play it and they'll surely tell you to take it back early when they need anger management after the first four hours.

Keeping right in line with the graphics production values, The Incredibles music and voiceover work is very good. The cutscenes from the movie obviously feature the real voices of Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Samuel Jackson, Jason Lee et al, but the sound quips you'll hear throughout the game (repeated ad nauseum) are sound alikes (except for Jackson who seemingly had nothing better to do that day) and you won't be able to tell the diff anyway.

If there was ever a game that screamed out for a rental first, it would be this one. The game just has the potential to either frustrate gamers or bore them to death. Chances are you'll be asked incessantly to get it for your kids, but take my advice from a couple of paragraphs ago and visit Blockbuster for their Incredibles fix. Definitely not so incredible.

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System: GC, PS2, X
Dev: Heay Iron
Pub: THQ
Release: Nov 2004
Players: 1
Review by Vaughn
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.5
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
2.5
MUSIC/FX
3.5
VALUE
2.0