Guinea Pig Run and Gun
Like any industry, the gaming world goes through several “seasons.” Fall is high season, winter is low season, and summer is movie tie-in season. It seems like every week during the summer, another movie tie-in is released. While this may make the hardcore gaming crowd cringe, it is certainly a boon for kids and those who enjoy simpler titles based on blockbuster movie releases. G-Force is the latest title to make the screen-to-console jump, and for my part, I must say I was surprised by the game.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me admit that I have not seen the G-Force movie upon which this game is based, as it was not released at the time of this writing. And if you have not seen the movie, the game is not likely to make much sense. From what I can gather, the story involves an evil corporation that has embedded chips in their home electronics devices that make them trick out Decepticon-style at the press of a button. When these home electronics turn into evil robots, they attack anything they see, and it’s all quite terrifying.
Luckily, the G-Force is here to help. As an elite force made of specially trained Guinea Pigs, they can gain access to even the most restricted corporate areas through the cunning use of air vents. Assisting them is a team of trained soldiers with AK-47s. But of course, the team with the guns is easily taken down by toaster and waffle-maker robots (no, I am not kidding), so it is up to the Guinea Pigs to finish the job. But fortunately, they have their own guns.
One thing that really surprised me about this game was the emphasis on shooting. While other movie tie-ins like Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Up all focused on running and jumping, G-Force was all about the running and gunning. Each level gives you several onscreen goals to reach, and each goal will be visible on your HUD. Moving through the game is very easy with this direct approach, and you never really have to worry about being lost, as there is always a white target telling you where to go.
However, in between points A and B (which are generally one or two rooms) there will be plenty of enemies for you to shoot. The game uses a pretty standard shooting system, and you will be able to aim with the left analog and shoot with the right bumper. It felt a little weird shooting in a kid’s game, but the change of pace was at least entertaining, and I definitely appreciate G-Force doing something different with the kid movie tie-in genre.
Although most of the gameplay does involve shooting, the game does have some variation in the form of level-based puzzles. While the puzzles are very simple and generally involve using a specialized gadget or hitting some switches, the puzzle areas were a nice reprieve from the run-and-gun levels. There are also some vehicle-based levels that allow you to take control of the G-Force’s wacky Rapid Deployment Vehicle to scoot around busy environments.
The gameplay here is quite entertaining, and I have to give G-Force credit for being a lot longer than most kids movie tie-ins. However, even though the story mode has more content than other games of this genre, I was a little bit disappointed that there were no multiplayer modes. Since the G-Force is a team, it would have been nice to see some sort of co-op or joint mission mode included.
Technically, G-Force is about average for a game of its genre. Graphics are passable barring some bland environments and some poor hair texturing. The game also occasionally experiences framerate drops, and if your Guinea Pig is moving really fast, sometimes the camera loses the action. In addition to the regular graphics, the game also has a 3D option where you can use red and blue goggles to view the action in three dimensions. Although this is a novel idea, the 3D does little more than add a layer of depth to the background, and it can give you a headache after awhile. I found that this game is best experienced in two dimensions, especially when you are running around, as it is hard to determine direction when viewing with the glasses. Still, the implementation of 3D is a novel idea, even if it doesn’t work so well.
The sound here is also fairly good. The music features some repetitive melodies no doubt lifted from the movie, and while they can be grating after awhile, in small doses the music is inoffensive. The voiceover features some pretty good sound-alikes for the actors from the movie, and I was actually pretty impressed with how non-repetitive the dialogue was. It has been my experience that in movie tie-in games there is always that character with the catchphrase who repeats it no matter what you do in the game and the phrase haunts your dreams. Fortunately, in G-Force, there was no such character or catchphrase.
G-Force is actually a pretty decent movie tie-in. Despite my initial trepidation about a shooter-style kid-movie tie-in, G-Force actually manages to be a competent game that goes beyond the tried and true platforming format. Though it doesn’t have much play value beyond the initial playthrough, if you are a fan of the movie, then G-Force won’t disappoint.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.4 Graphics
Guinea Pigs are animated well, but the environments are bland and there are some glaring camera and framerate issues. 3D is not spectacular. 3.9 Control
Shooter-style controls work well, and learning the buttons is a snap. 3.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Generic movie themes are grating, but the sound-alike voiceovers aren’t too shabby. 3.4 Play Value
The story mode is longer than most movie tie-ins, but lack of multiplayer modes is regrettable. 3.5 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.