|System: Wii, PS2, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Twelve Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Oxygen Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 7, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Crash test dummies, once used solely for testing out safety vehicles, have somehow made their mark on our cultural landscape. From the Incredible Crash Dummies cartoon from the early nineties, to the "Buster" character in the Discovery Channel's MythBusters series, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't have some sort of familiarity with these icons. Capitalizing on this familiarity is a game called CID the Dummy. While the game's artwork and description may lead you believe that this is a fun 2D platform-style game, don't be fooled: this dummy is a real clunker.
To start off, lets take a look at the story. Cid is a dummy who feels like he has a purpose. Sure, he spends all day testing cars to make sure they are safe for people and thereby saving hundreds of lives, but it's just not good enough for good ol' Cid. Fortunately, a scientific doctor who watches the action from a window in the car factory has been secretly working on a suit for Cid that will allow him to be a superhero. Of course, the perfect moment to test out this suit arises when the professors' daughter goes missing. Instead of calling the police like any rational man of science, this guy turns to a talking dummy to retrieve his child. Naturally, the plot "thickens" with the introduction of a rival scientist/villain known as "D-Troit," and as the dummy, you'll have to face this ever-so-ominous threat by yourself.
The plot of the game is one-dimensional. It wouldn't be so terrible if the game wasn't brought to life by such deplorable voice actors. I have heard some poor voice acting in my day, but CID the Dummy just blows me away. Nearly all of the dialogue sounds wooden and insincere, and when the actors try to inject a little bit of character into the roles, the results are disastrous. For example, the role of the professor is very obviously played by a young man who overcompensates for his youth by raising the pitch of his voice and making grandma noises like "ooohh" and "huuummm". The result is a weird female-sounding performance that will either make you laugh or cringe (I did both).
However, the technical aspects of this game get even worse! The visuals in this game make last-gen look cutting edge. The game honestly looks like a mid-level N64 game at its best, and like a late-night technical college commercial at its worst. Pretty much every facet of the game's visual design is poorly crafted, from the basic geometric style of the characters to the repetitive animations that loop over and over through the plot scenes no matter what the dialogue or action. Of course, add to these basic environments a drab color palate and a fixed camera (which often fails to show vital pieces of the environment), and you've got a game that just looks like a mess.
If all of these glaring technical issues aren't enough to sway you away from purchasing CID the Dummy, then perhaps its poor gameplay will. The game features very basic 2D platforming that has you running and jumping around linear levels and beating up bad guys. The game's levels are extremely formulaic, and generally start off with you pressing some buttons or flipping some switches to enter a door and then culminate with a speed dash through a timed door or an area that requires you to beat a bunch of baddies. The combat in the game is two pronged - you can flail your dummy extremities at enemies to make them go away, or you can fire a special bazooka your professor friend gives you. Obviously, this bazooka only fires rubber bullets, so those of you hoping for an explosion or two won't find it here. The levels are completely uninspired, and even if this game was made ten years ago for the N64, I think I still would have had the same complaint.
To top everything off, the game controls poorly. Most of my complaints with the controls stems from the fixed camera system, as it often has trouble keeping up with the action and doesn't show where important switches and buttons are in relation to your character. Walking trough levels is often a guessing game of "I think the switch is over here, so I'll jump around in this general area until something happens." The PlayStation 2 version features very simplistic button controls that have you pressing Square to interact with things and the X button for pretty much everything else. Although this sounds simple and easy to master, the game's design makes even jumping from platform to platform difficult, as it is hard to see what your character does exactly when you press a button.
When I think of crash test dummies, I think of old-school seatbelt PSAs and Saturday morning cartoons. However, most of these things are relics of the early 90's - CID the Dummy also looks like a relic of the past. Unfortunately, it isn't. With extremely dated graphics, poor sound, archaic mechanics, and a loser of a plot, this game just doesn't measure up to any standard. This dummy just needs to crash and be done with it.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor