|System: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS|
|Dev: Behaviour Interactive|
|Pub: Paramount Digital Entertainment|
|Release: March 1, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Lindsey Weedston
I've played a couple of games based on movies in the past, and therefore approached the video game version of Rango with low expectations. In this case, I was pleasantly surprised. Rango is only a little below average, and that's in comparison to all video games. Compared to the newest Harry Potter "game," Rango is like if Call of Duty: Black Ops had the writers from BioWare and epic flying mounts instead of helicopters.
One of the biggest surprises about this game was that it was actually fun a good deal of the time. The gameplay was simplistic and not terribly imaginative, but it worked well enough to be satisfying. Rango shoots enemies with simple auto-targeting and knows a grand total of three melee moves, including normal punch and uppercut. There is also a standard slam move which I never used for combat, but someone might.
The game offers three power ups for the gun: an automatic rifle, a shotgun-like "spread shot," and a gun that shoots dynamite. These are somewhat useful, but not really creative enough to be interesting. The baddies are more varied than you would expect, with multiple versions of shooters, punchers, tanks, and one type of rabbit that leaps into the air and attempts to slam onto your head.
The developers made a smart move by rewarding melee fighting with more sheriff stars (the game's currency) in order to encourage players to not just run around mashing buttons. Stars can also be found in various containers, and a good number of upgrades can be purchased, which motivates the collection of the stars. All in all, the gameplay seems balanced and well thought out—at least enough to keep me going without feeling bored. The game's length, however, is a valid complaint. I beat it in only five hours.
The game also handled better than I expected. Games based on movies are notorious for camera issues, but Rango contained few. The only issues were found in the rail grinding sequences, during which the angle of the camera made it difficult to determine the distance of obstacles that had to be jumped over. Otherwise the camera was responsive, obeying my commands like a loyal sidekick and never getting stuck or confused, which can happen even in genuinely good games. Platform puzzles were occasionally frustrating, with depth perception once again being a problem. I had to draw upon the trick I used from my days with the original PlayStation—using Rango's shadow to determine where he would land.
The simple combat and platforming are broken up by a few very fun sequences in which you get to ride a roadrunner, bat, or flying saucer. The roadrunner is the best of the three, since it's much easier to shoot at things while you only have to steer right and left. Trying to control a flying thing with one joystick while moving the aiming cursor around with another is not something the human brain can handle, even when it's fully developed. Another fun bit is when Rango finds some golf clubs and you get to hit a little exploding bug into things like obstacles, Lars' head, or, in my favorite part of the game, a crowd of advancing zombie rodents.