Reviewed: August 30, 2005
Released: October 20, 2005
Does anyone remember Animaniacs? Ok, who doesnít, but letís be honest about one thing: this series is old!! Why Ignition decided to make a game out of it I donít have the slightest idea, but itís nice to see them back in action, especially on the Nintendo DS in Animaniacs: Lights, Camera, Action!Ö.or is it?
Prologue: ďThe Animaniacs are really in for it this time. The crazy crittersí zany and reckless living has cost Warner Bros. one zillion dollars in damages. If the Animaniacs donít want to find themselves locked in the studio water tower for all eternity, theyíd best make up for the film studioís losses. The Animaniacs now stand before their greatest challenge yet: three feature films in one go. If the Animaniacs can make this triple bill, they might just cover what they owe.Ē
Basically, Animaniacs is a GBA game in a DS disguise, and not a very good one at that. Thereís a story that is similar to the old animated TV series and the most simplistic gameplay to boot right down to the isometric view gameplay. What I mean by simplistic is that you press only two buttons the entire game (one to jump and the other to throw objects) and the touch-screen is used merely to PAUSE the game. The gameplay is so boring that I fell asleep while playing it one evening. Maybe itís the start of school wearing me out, but I seriously doubt it.
The game plays out like this. The movie director gives you simple objectives (ex: get a blue key, collect film, throw apples at enemies) and itís your job to do them. Each task takes no more than a few minuets to complete and you could fly through the game with ease if it wasnít for the horrible accuracy your character has when throwing objects.
Youíd figure throwing something and hitting enemies or objects would be easy as pie, but it isnít. In fact, itís rather challenging because you have to properly align your character and be a certain distance away to hit your objective. Itís very frustrating, and if you are too close to something when throwing an object itíll fly right over it.
Thereís nothing more to say than the gameplay is for people whoíve never played games before. With the bad throwing system in place I wouldnít even want a child to play it because Iím sure it would frustrate them to death not being able to hit the enemies. The overall controls donít feel right either mainly because this is an action adventure game that uses a traditional RPG viewpoint.
This game canít even save your progress like every modern cartridge based game. Instead, you have to use the ancient form known throughout the world as the Password saving system. Yep - passwords on the DS. I'm pretty sure that's one of the signs of the Apocolypse.
For those of you who might be unfamiliar with this, back in the early days of the original Nintendo system (NES), games without internal batteries to save files would use passwords. After you finished a stage or level youíd be given a password so you could access that point of the game in case you wanted to take a break. I hadnít seen this used for at least 8 years with the exception of a few budget GBA games a few years ago. It's antiquated by GBA standards and I canít believe a Nintendo DS game would even ship with a password based saving system!
There isnít a lot to say about graphics except they are Game Boy Advance caliber, and Iím not talking amazing GBA quality either. These are your average, everyday, run of the mill graphics first-gen graphics, certainly unworthy of being displayed on a DS screen. The isometric view tries to give the game a 3D feel, but itís nothing special. The graphics are colorfulÖIíll give them that. but it's not enough to save this game.
How annoying does sound get when itís extremely limited? Very! To give you an idea, every time you pick up a piece of fruit or a key to unlock a door the sound effect is the same "cha-ching" (it sounds like you hit the jackpot). Not only that, but the in-game music bleeds through the cut-scenes (which shouldnít be called cut-scenes).
The background music is just as bad with its quick tempo and extremely short melody. It repeats over and over again to the point of insanity. If the gameplay mechanics donít drive you nuts, the soundtrack definitely will.
The single player game is the same old thing through 15 varied levels that span 3 different genres (horror, sci-fi, and pirate adventure). Each level looks different than the last, but the gameplay remains the same: collecting items, hitting enemies, and navigating your way through the level. Each level is short and will take no time to complete unless the poor controls end up giving you problems.
The multiplayer isnít all that great either. Sure it features single cartridge download play for 1-4 players, but it lacks depth and creativity. Basically itís a wireless game of keep-away and whoever holds on to the crown the longest wins. However, there is a twist: you can find objects to throw at the person holding the crown in order to make them loose it. But the easier method is to just tag them.
Anyone older than 3 that picks this game up for themselves should really have their head examined. The reason is simple: Animaniacs is a childís game through and through, but the gameplay is way too frustrating for the intended audience. The gameplay, sound, and story couldnít get any more basic than this. Steer clear of this title at all costs because itíll bore you to death in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.