Disney Interactive



The Emperor's New Groove Review

By: John Doe

What a pleasant surprise. Disney's The Emperor's New Groove is a fun movie and a great video game. No corny princesses or schmaltzy waltzing to a Celine Dion soundtrack, The Emperor's New Groove is hip, refreshing, funny and makes Disney look like it knows what its doing once again.


Kuzco is a caustic, vane Aztec-inspired Emperor who is turned into a llama by one of his ex-employees, Yzma. He is then dropped off somewhere in the middle of his kingdom where he befriends one of the local peasants; a large, dimwitted fellow named Pacha played by John Goodman. Kuzco, played by none other than the smarmy David Spade, embarks on an adventure with is new-found friend in an attempt to re-humanize himself.

The first thing you will notice about the game is that it is rendered incredibly well for a 3D platformer. Playing as a llama, the first level takes you to the top of a mountain range where you have to collect coins and make your way through the level solving a variety of puzzles and discovering secret areas while avoiding the rocky ledges and certain death below. The controls feel great and keeping Kuzco from plunging to his death is not terribly difficulty - at least at this level. Which is great for rookies to develop some skill and gaming confidence while having enough character interaction, secrets and challenges to keep the veteran amused. In one of the secret areas, Kuzco finds himself on the edge of a cliff surrounded with pottery and cute fuzzy bunnies. He has to smash the pottery to collect the coins and in un-Disney fashion, he can hoof the offending, optimistic rabbits right off the face of cliff - all for no apparent reason than a little sadistic fun. Seems Disney is growing up.

The music is regal sounding with much emphasis on brass which can get a little repetitive at times not to mention downright annoying. It doesn't take long for the tone of brass instruments (albeit fake ones) to take on the characteristics of car horns which cause your eyes to squint and shoulders to hunch in a tense reflex reaction. I'm sure much of that repetitiveness is due to the fact that I had a bitch of a time getting out of the Aztec roller coaster level for the first time. Thankfully it was mercifully short but all I could think about was how some 10-year-old kid probably got through this level on his first try. I psyched myself out with such neurosis and developed performance anxiety. That's the kind of intellectual shutting down that occurs when I'm asked to fill out some kind of form while officials are watching me fill it out. When I have to consult my wallet for my birth date, I know I'm in trouble.

If playing as a lowly llama isn't your idea of a good time, take heart because you can transform yourself into a tortoise, rabbit and a high-hopping frog. Disney knows their ADD audience. The levels are imaginative and each brings their own element to the storyline which continues to develop and unfold as you make your way through each challenge. Fantastic animation from the movie is featured between levels to keep you abreast of future developments and current situations.

The Emperor will have you exploring, laughing and racking your brain in attempts to solve some of the mind-bending puzzles you will encounter. Even if the concept and characters may seem too cutesy for Offspring and Marilyn Manson fans just imagine that Kuzco is infected with anthrax and is poisoning all he comes in contact with. Or better yet, when you buy it don't tell your friends and in the secret of your room (that mommy and daddy supply for you) put on your Shania Twain CD that you keep hidden under your bed and prepare to have a great time. Don't miss this game for any reason, no matter how cool you think you are.






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