Game Over Online ~ The Grinch

GameOver Game Reviews - The Grinch (c) Konami, Reviewed by - Jimmy Clydesdale

Game & Publisher The Grinch (c) Konami
System Requirements Windows 9x, Pentium II-266, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 33%
Date Published Friday, December 8th, 2000 at 02:30 PM

Divider Left By: Jimmy Clydesdale Divider Right

Forget Christmas, this is the story of how the Grinch stole a few hours of my time thanks to this unappealing interactive game. Dr. Seuss' 'How the Grinch stole Christmas', much like 'A Christmas Carol', is a holiday classic. Earlier this year, Ron Howard, Jim Carrey and company brought this magical tale to the big screen in the form of 'The Grinch'. It was a juggernaut waiting for a push and now that the movie has achieved box office success, the bandwagon is rapidly filling up with Konami riding shotgun.

Brightly coloured lights, gift-wrapped presents and carols, this can only mean one thing, it's Christmas time in Whoville. If there's one thing the Grinch detests, its Christmas, and as he sits atop Mt. Crumpit observing Whoville, he ponders what dastardly deeds he can perform to disturb the festivities. How can he deprive the residents of Whoville of their favourite holiday? How about smashing their gifts, destroying their snowmen and defacing public property? It's all part of the Grinch's master plan of stealing Christmas, so let's get to it.

The Grinch is a third-person action/adventure game where you play as the Mean One himself. The object of the game is to complete a series of tasks, designed to ruin holiday preparations, before Christmas day. The Grinch has a decidedly console feel to it. Not only is the gameplay simplistic, the graphics are well below par for a PC title. Toss in the usual aches and pains that are often attached to third-person action games and you've got The Grinch in a nutshell, a poor effort that fails to appeal to it's target audience, let along gamers in general.

After an introductory scene sets up the Grinch's tale, the first bit of action involves a set of tutorial rooms that teach and showcase the Grinch's many talents. Fortes such as his super-human strength, his unique ability to butt-slam (for lack of a better word) and his stank breath. It's also here that you'll bear witness to some of the game's biggest downfalls. The camera work is terrible, often facing directly at the Grinch rather than following closely behind him, over his shoulder. The controls are finicky and plagued with delayed reactions. Rather than a running jump, you can literally jump straight up in the air, press the forward key, and the result is a jump forward. Gravity has nothing on the Grinch. But wait, that's not the worst part. In terms of the graphics, there's more clipping going on here than at my local barbershop. The only high point by this time is the voice of the narrator, which is fantastic. As for the Grinch, his voice needs a whole lot more personality.

The game gets better though, doesn't it? I'm afraid not. Once you finally arrive in Whoville, the game continues on its unimaginative journey. There are four locations to explore including Whoville, Whoforest, Wholake and the Dump, but each locale is less appealing than the previous one. There's no life in the game, no atmosphere. Visually, the environments are dark and bland. For the love of St. Nick, the snow is grey. And since when was Whoville evacuated? Besides the police officers, that help indicate which buildings are accessible and which are not, the only other residents of Whoville are often Grinch-molesting children who have nothing better to do than touch, feel, and hug the big green guy. The town is void of interaction, except with items and buildings that are necessary to interact with in order to complete the tasks.

The Grinch mostly involves wondering around the game's locations, smashing gifts and collecting items including blueprints required to build gadgets. The gadgets are often involved in the grander scheme of things, such as completing the objectives required in order to ruin Christmas in Whoville. In order to put together a gadget, you'll have to gather and re-arrange the blueprints properly, back at the Grinch's lab. The gadgets range from a Rotten Egg Launcher to a Rocket Spring, which allows the Grinch to jump higher. Once you've put together a fancy gadget, new environments will open up and new missions unveiled.

The biggest problem with The Grinch is the fact the game just isn't much fun. There's no challenge for older gamers and the younger audience will quickly grow tired of the tedious tasks and the lack of interaction and atmosphere in the game. For instance, near the beginning of the game, you have to find a disguise in order to enter the Whoville post office. Ok, that's cool. Once inside, however, it becomes a question of whether you can manoeuvre through a maze in order to unlock certain doors, which lead to more present smashing and blueprint gathering. Such tasks are dull, uninspiring and will undoubtedly be unable to hold the attention of a younger gamer.

The only real unique feature in The Grinch is the ability to switch between the Grinch himself and his dog Max. Some of the puzzles in the game were not meant for such large green creatures, so this is where Max becomes a valuable asset. Max isn't much of a dog however, as he can't even jump. All he does is run around, often resulting in camera views that will have you tearing your green body hair out in no time.

When the Grinch finally realizes the true meaning of Christmas and all is well again in Whoville, this title is simply a dreadful gaming experience. It lacks entertainment, atmosphere, colourful visuals, solid voiceovers, challenging puzzles, a steady camera, good controls, and anything else a game should have. It's garů garů garbage. The only thing it has going for it is its name, The Grinch, which kids will instantly fall for after having watched the movie. This holiday season, The Grinch is stealing something alright, but it's not Christmas.

[ 16/50 ] Gameplay
[ 04/10 ] Graphics
[ 05/10 ] Sound
[ 04/10 ] Storyline
[ 02/10 ] Fun Factor
[ 02/10 ] Replay Value


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