PS2 REVIEW: ICE AGE 2: THE MELTDOWN

For the first time in my video game career, I didn't have a meltdown playing a game based on a kids movie. by Cole Smith

April 3, 2006 - It's unfortunate that most videogames that are based on licensed movies, suck. The typical reasons they suck includes limited development time, limited budget and the fact that most of them are aimed at kids which some executives believe can't tell the different between a crappy and a great game. "As long as that friggin' elephant is in the game the little bastards will be happy."

Fortunately, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown is an exception to the rule. Although it's based entirely on the movie of the same name, it just doesn't suck.

This is one fun platform game. It's not just a cheap imitation of the movie, loaded with filler and poorly executed cutscenes. While, The Meltdown, follows the plot of the movie, it uses excellent cutscenes and narrative to communicate the storyline and introduce us to the infamous and quirky characters. Even though the game is aimed at kids, the humor doesn't talk down to them. The lines and situations in this game, as in the movie, are truly funny.

The cast of characters include Manny the mammoth, Sid the sloth, and Diego the smilodon. But you'll be playing mainly as Scrat, the part-squirrel and part-rat animal that is always searching for acorns but winds up finding trouble instead. Not only does the game feature cutscenes that look like they were ripped from the actual movie, but the voiceovers are performed by the actual actors from the movie - and these are some big names. We're talking Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary. Needless to say the delivery is perfect. Thankfully the script is well written to accommodate these heavyweights.

Taking place during the final days of the Ice Age, the characters find themselves in a continuing warming trend that heralds the end of the Ice Age. Water is everywhere as the world begins to melt around these prehistoric creatures that were just having fun in the newly discovered waterparks. They soon learn that some glaciers are melting and that a damn is about to burst that will flood the entire area destroying all life within the region.

In order to reach safety, and warn others about the impending doom, you will begin a journey that involves various platforming activities. There are switches to flip, puzzles to solve, acorns to collect, enemies to outwit, and platforms to negotiate. It's like playing a whole whack of mini-games. Unfortunately most of these elements are standard platform fare, but within the concept of the Ice Age storyline, these reworked platforming features feel fresh.

Scat controls very well. He's small but the little guy's got a lot of moves. He can jump, run, climb, swim, swing, spin, cling and kick. He scurries, climbs walls of ice and swings across open water with the use of ropes. He's a highly nervous character that is always on the lookout for enemies and wheezes continually as though he's always on the verge of exhaustion. If he can't run away from an enemy he's got the ability to throw stones and other things at them.

While the cutscenes look great, the in-game environments are decidedly low-res. There are many instances of reused textures. You're sure to be sick of snow, ice and water in their many forms. Thankfully you'll come upon some areas where land exists, as well as a place called the tar pits. More time was spent developing the characters than the environments. They almost come alive when they move. They all have different walking characteristics that are specific to the animals that they represent, but done in an exaggerated cartoon fashion. There are various animated sequences that are triggered at different locations throughout the game.

With only one main mode and no multi-player component, the replay value is limited to collecting and unlocking items that one may have missed the first time through. It's definitely worth one trip back, especially if you didn't bother to find everything the first time through. It's likely that you'll complete the game in a few days, even if you take your time. You will encounter some challenging situations from time to time but a little experimenting and practice will have you on your way in no time.

The Meltdown is recommended for fans of the movie and gamers of all ages. Hardcores will probably turn their collective noses at the collecting element but the platform elements are challenging and fun. There's no way you won't get a laugh out of this game. I would more than likely recommend a rental of this game since you'll be done with it in less than a week.



Features:

  • ·Swim, splash, and scurry through all the action and adventure from the new Ice Age 2 The Meltdown movie and unearth fun, laughter and surprises along the way.
  • The perfect compliment to the film and a great way for fans to extend their experience with the story and the wonderfully endearing characters
  • Play as Scrat, along with your favorite heroes from the film.
  • Dive into a huge variety of exciting mini-games, like Sid's Slippery Sloth Slide Challenge!
  • Journey through the amazing worlds of the Ice Age 2 The Meltdown movie... and new ones too.

By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Writer

Rating out of 5
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (PS2)
4.2
Graphics
The cutscenes look as good as the movie. The characters are fully realized with in-game animations that are smooth and lifelike - in a cartoonish kind of way.
4.5
Control
Scrat is capable of a large assortment of moves. The controls are tight and responsive.
4.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
With Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary providing the voiceovers, what more could you possibly want?
3.3
Play Value
Play the game one more time and look for everything you missed. You're basically cleaning up after the party.
3.8
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
System: PS2, GC, X (shown)
Dev: VU Games
Pub: Sierra
Release: March 2006
Players: 1
Review by Cole

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