SYSTEM
PSX

PRICE
$39.99

DEVELOPER
Neverhood

PUBLISHER
Southpeak Interactive

RELEASE
11/99

BoomBots Review

By: John Doe


Cat aliens have taken over the Earth and captured all of the housecats. As one of 15 Boombots, it's up to you to free those kitties, while fighting other robots. Okay, we have officially run out of ideas here. While the nonsense back story serves as the impetus for all of this boring robot combat, there is nothing here that would appeal to anyone but the youngest of gamers.


Highs:
Lows:

Thanks to the ESRB, videogames that are obviously meant for children, are now recommended for teens due to mild animated violence. Perfect. This game will not appeal to anyone having just graduated from Puberty University, but the ESRB says differently. What geniuses they are. Southpeak Interactive knows what audience they are aiming at with Boombots and unfortunately many parents intent on "doing the right thing" will see the Teen rating on Boombots and assume this game isn't appropriate for their kids. Let me say this: Boombots is no different than watching a Saturday morning cartoon. Are we going to outlaw those pretty soon? How long before Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner are taken off the air because of their wild antics? With morons like the ESRB, the reality of Big Brother doesn't seem so far off now, does it?

The reason for my outburst is due to the fact that Boombot's simple gameplay would never appeal to the teenage crowd. It is a mildly entertaining fighting game that will entertain the youn'uns but leave older gamers out in the cold. The fighting takes place in 3D arenas, where you will use the same moves over and over and over. You can run, jump, shoot projectiles and throw your opponents. For the most part, I threw my opponents around because they just never seemed to be able to block me. And the only reason I decided to try and throw them, was because I was bored of shooting projectiles at them from across the arena; I needed some contact or excitement or something. Against a second player there is more of a chance of having an interesting game, because generally Player 2 has a brain in his/her head - not the Player 2's I play with, but most. Every once in a great while a power-up will enter the ring. Most are useless, except for the yellow crystal things that change your bot into a Mega-Bot which is a nod to the fighting scheme found in the amazing Power Stone game. Of course, you really don't need to change into Mega-Bot, but it breaks up the monotony of the game and gives you a little thrill.

The fighting arenas could have used a good dose of imagination; not only in look but in design. Being able to jump up to a higher platform won't help much thanks to the projectile nature of the fighting. Take a game like Power Stone, where almost everything in the level is interactive; now that's fun! Boombots simply becomes an exercise in attack, wait, avoid, attack , avoid or if you are like me; throw, throw, throw, next level, throw, throw, throw, next level. Okay I'm kidding, I didn't throw that much, but it's hard not to rely on something that works so well.

The animation is based on clay-mation which should be outlawed in videogames already. Clay-mation is much more suited to the television medium than it is to videogames. I always find certain lag time between button presses and animation when playing a clay-mation game such as the Neverhood or Clay Fighter and Boombots is no different. Other than the characters, the backgrounds are very poor, sporting an almost first-generation look about them. The textures are boring and flat and the arenas themselves are uninspired. The various CG intros, on the other hand, are extremely well done and even - gasp! - entertaining. Now if only the whole game could look like that. Come on PS2, we need you!

The music and sound effects in this game are not only annoying but of very poor sound quality. I was not very impressed. Needless to say, Boombots goes on, sound goes off. Advice to live by.

Being able to play as 15 Boombots through 15 different arenas seems like a lot, but this game is over fairly quickly and switching characters is more cosmetic than anything. You'll still use the throw attack. Younger children who are being introduced in to the world of videogames would get the most out of Boombots. Fighting fans and video vets should stay away. This game wasn't intended for you, although the ESRB says differently.

OVERALL
4.0

GRAPHICS
5.0

CONTROL
4.0

MUSIC/FX
2.0

FRUSTRATION
1.0


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