Game Over Online ~ A Bug's Life

GameOver Game Reviews - A Bug's Life (c) Disney Interactive, Reviewed by - Cyrus

Game & Publisher A Bug's Life (c) Disney Interactive
System Requirements P166 16 MB RAM 4X CDROM Win9X, 2MB Video
Overall Rating 68%
Date Published Saturday, December 5th, 1998 at 10:08 AM

Divider Left By: Cyrus Divider Right

Movie related merchandise has always had a big market and it is only natural that the market expand to include video games. Traditionally, movie tie-in games haven't been all that great. Recently though, there has been a few titles developed that have been worth playing. A Bug's Life is one of these quality tie-in titles. It's a nice game targeted for a younger audience.

You play the part of Flik, an ant with personality that has been chosen to save the ant colony. You are armed with powerful berries and an assortment of plants. Your enemy is the evil Hopper, king of the grasshoppers. The game is three dimensional but plays very much like your standard platform title. It also reminded me of Disney's last platform game, The Lion King.

The graphics are fully 3d accelerated through Direct3d. The graphics are displayed smoothly and without any slowdown in gameplay. The textures are also well done and the character models are all well rendered. There are a few special effects and nothing about them really strikes me as outstanding. Despite the smooth engine and nice characters there are several graphical problems. The most annoying is when I started the game, it switched between my desktop and the game about five times before finally arriving at the main menu. Not a big deal but one of those annoying things that could probably be fixed with just a little bit more effort on the coder's part. There were also several texture tears in the game which is something I hate and can not excuse. The most odd thing in the graphic engine occurs when you walk underneath a light. The area underneath the light becomes black, the opposite of what I expect it to do. A sloppy bug that should have been picked up in about ten minutes of beta testing. Overall the graphics will delight children but for the average gamer, they are nothing special.

The sound is very clear and well recorded. It is not annoying like most other children's games but it does get a little repetitive after the first hour of play. There are several speech effects that are well acted and serve their purpose as prompts. Kids will find it much easier to play with the speech guiding them and warning them of attacking enemies. I, on the other hand, found it necessary to reach over and turn off my speakers.

The story is true to the movie but its not very involving. It's the standard platform deal where you have to save a character, and in order to do it you must jump through several different levels. It is not revolutionary by any means and I am very disappointed in Disney. I expected a little more creativity.

Childish to say the least. This game is not difficult at all. You simply jump around and collect grain or berries. It's not very exciting. The enemies are very easy to avoid and the puzzles you are presented with are very easy to solve. In order to solve most of the puzzles, you are required to plant different types of seeds. Each seed color reacts in a different way. You are able to change the color of the seeds after you collect certain tokens. Grain is distributed throughout the level and collecting it gives you access to new parts of the level or bonus points. I was disturbed to notice a lack of what makes platform games, jumping. You are required to do very little jumping and timing is not very essential. I guess this makes it appeal to children more. Since sidekicks are necessary in any modern day Disney production, there are friends that help you along your way. For the most part they do very little other than guide you. Overall the gameplay is very similar to the Lion King, including swinging from vines and interacting with sidekicks.

Fun Factor:
I found this game slightly amusing but not very addicting. Normally platform games suck me to the screen but I thought this one was a little bit too easy and childish. This is probably due to the fact that it is aimed at a age group ten years younger than myself. I'm not going to bother playing this one until the end, but my younger sister would definitely be sucked into the gameplay.

Overall Impression:
A good game for what it is. The graphics are nice and clean and the sound is pretty good. The game does need a little bit more polishing and a speedup in the action would be nice. If you have young children, than you might want to add this title to your holiday shopping list. It's a nice effort by Disney although it does fall short in comparison to some of the other products they've released in the past.


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