What one comes to expect of the Disney Action Games...
At some point in the early nineties, with video-games becoming more and more common, and Disney cranking out a new adventure for the little ones every chance they got, a fad was born. Now, pretty much every time Disney releases a new animated feature, they also simultaneously release one of their so-called Action Games based on the film(provided it was one that had some(if not necessarily very much) measure of potential to form an action game around, of course). While these have varied in quality(the early ones, like Aladdin(in particular) and The Lion King were quite entertaining and fairly well-crafted), most of them are obvious and weak attempts at milking the concept, getting more money from the people who enjoyed the movie(and the parents of the kids who did, provided said kids are good at bugging their folks into getting' 'em stuff). This is one such effort, and while that's pretty clear from the very beginning of the game, it's actually somewhat entertaining(I know, it surprised me, too). You start off training for a few levels, with plenty of references to that sequence. Not long after, you're fighting boss enemies taken from the film. The producers of the game must have felt that there weren't enough possible enemies, so they put in creatures that were never in the movie(and make little, if any sense to be there). This results in three levels right after each other being packed with boss enemies... actually, the last two consist entirely of one long boss fight each. While this can be fairly challenging and/or entertaining, it's really hard to ignore how loudly it screams "We want this game to be longer, but we haven't got a clue how to achieve it". There are an awful lot of other places throughout the game where things are repeated until the point where you're tired of them. Level design is fair, but there are far too many jumping puzzles for my tastes(those worked *so much better* in Aladdin). It's also fairly repetitive, and then there's the obvious lack of freedom of movement(the game's just about as linear as they come). There are three kinds of levels; the regular two-dimensional platform ones(as well as one or two variations thereof, one of which is kinda cool), boss levels, and this odd third kind where you run constantly, and you have to move and jump out of the way of any obstacles in your way(what that has to do with Hercules, apart from his ability to run fast(and, one would assume, inability to come to an immediate stop...?), I do not know). Most levels are the first kind, there are only two levels in the second category, and there are three(as far as I remember) of the third kind. Some of the level try to maintain a mix between 2D and 3D, which looks odd, because most enemies and characters are modeled (and look best) in 2D(it was a cartoon, not a 3D animated feature). The game utilizes the main character quite well, as far as control(though Wonderboy handles like a friggin' Mech, for some reason) and powers go. Where Tarzan had you throwing fruit(which I, admittedly, never fully understood, for more than one reason... how good a weapon is that, anyway? Gotta be difficult to survive in the jungle if your *food* can be dangerous(and enough so that it would make a weapon deemed useful by the guy who's widely recognized as the king of said area) and Aladdin had you throwing apples(why would someone who has to steal to survive throw away food? He also seemed to have the sword way earlier in the game than in the film), Hercules allows you to slash with the sword, punch with the fists and charge up one of your fists for a more powerful punch. These are reasonably effective in dealing with enemies and obstacles, but Aladdin still has got this beat in this aspect. The game is quite short; it took me less than two hours this time, and only one try. Granted, I have tried it a few times before, but still. The makers of the game tried to conjure up some re-playability by putting in a few bonus power-ups, which grant advantages, but most of these are just annoying and should have either had more thought put into their development or been scrapped entirely. There are the letters to Hercules' name, which are collected in the correct order... and most of the time, these just tell you how far you are in the level(which can help when they seem to go on for too long), and how many letters you've already missed. Then there are four vases per level, which, if collected, give you the password for the next level and the ability to save your progress. Hurrah! We can finally save. Once we find all four of them, and what is the point, anyway? You can just use the passwords provided. The game-play is quite repetitive. The small effort put into creating background stuff and enemies result in you often ignoring dangers that weren't clear enough. Powerups/general design isn't as accomplished as other of these games. The final boss fight is kind of anti-climactic, being the very easiest fight in the whole game(no, *seriously*; the character is also robbed of all the coolness he possessed in the film, which is a real shame, as he was just about my favorite thing about it). The sound is awfully repetitive(fitting, since most of the rest of the game is as well), with, for example, the same four instructions being yelled at you by Philoctetes, in no particular order and at seemingly completely random times during the training levels(including, but not limited to, him possibly exclaiming praise right after you've gotten hurt). All in all, decent, certainly nothing more. I recommend this to big fans of the movie and of Disney's other Action Games. Just keep your expectations low(shouldn't be a problem, if you belong in the second group). 6/10
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