Toy Story 2 plays without film's charmed freedom
By EMMETT MALLOY
Assistant Scene Editor
Only three years ago, the concept of 3D gaming was revolutionary.
No longer were the game's boundaries confined to either going left or right. Look at the original Super Mario Bros. for the original Nintendo: as fun and addicting as that game was, the only direction Mario could go was right.
However, when Mario 64 came out, gamers were cast into an overwhelming world where they could go anywhere, not just left or right. The 3D environment offered countless opportunities for endless gameplay.
Due to Mario 64's critical and commercial success, numerous copycats flooded the video game market, none of which reached the standards set by Mario 64. While many were on par with Mario 64 in terms of graphics and sound, they failed to capture players with a gameplay that made them want to keep playing and playing.
Toy Story 2 for the N64 has problems in both departments.
Following the movie's plot line, Toy Story 2 is a mission-based game in which gamers go through various levels, 15 in all, with various objectives to complete. As Buzz Lightyear, gamers must explore numerous locales from the movie in order to save Woody from being sold to a toy museum.
With help from the other toys in the house (all of whom make a cameo in the game), Buzz must solve puzzles, collect special tokens and fight off evil bosses.
However, regardless of whether one has seen the movie or not, it's rather difficult to figure out what the point of the game is.
The vast levels tend to drag on and on; gamers will be tired (not to mention bored) of running around the different places in search of some clue or token that's needed to advance to the next stage.
As impressive as the game's expansive possibilities are, there is no sense of direction. Even if gamers are lucky enough to figure out the level's objective, it's more confusing to figure out how it fits in with the game's overall plot.
The game is also hampered by an awkward camera angle. Presented with the choice of either an active or passive camera angle, gamers can easily switch between the two while playing, which is a huge bonus.
However, the passive camera angle determined by the game can sometimes give a really weird perspective. Yet, the active camera angle, determined by the gamer, can be bothersome to deal with, and neither is much fun.
Developed by Pixar, the same company which made the movie, the graphics and sound are way below expectations.
Sure, the N64 does not have the same capacity as the huge Silicon Graphics machines that were used in the production of the movie, but that still is not a valid excuse.
The characters are fuzzy, and their textures are extremely grainy. The environments do a rather good job with depth perception, but some of the colors are rather bleak for this game.
Overall, Toy Story 2 for N64 gives the look and feel of the movie, but it really falls short of capturing its energy.
The game should have been a better attempt at interacting with the film. For example, the plot line is introduced by using still pictures with oversimplified text, which definitely does not seem like the Pixar way of doing things.
Also, the game focuses too much on Buzz Lightyear and not on the other great characters from the movie; their role is reduced to saying annoying one-liners and giving pointless clues.
If one's looking to relive the experience of the movie, they're not going to find it here. Video game players of all ages will become frustrated with the way the game is laid out, and it's all downhill from there.
At best, this game is worth a rental.
Two out of five shamrocks
All Scene Stories for Wednesday, January 19, 19100