maanantai 16. toukokuuta 2011

REVIEW - Disney's Ariel - The Little Mermaid (1992)

GENRE(S): Action
DEVELOPER(S): BlueSky Innovations
PUBLISHER(S): Sega, Tec Toy (SMS)

In 1992, Sega responded to Capcom's NES game based on The Little Mermaid with their own version of the license. While the NES game wasn't up to the usual, recent standard of Capcom's Disney games for the NES, at least it was somewhat exciting. Ariel isn't really even an action game, it's more like a 16-bit underwater navigating course disguised as an action game - and an equally short and easy game as its "counterpart". It's kind of like Ecco, but with Ariel... and Triton!

King Triton & Friends

The persistent sea witch Ursula has cast a spell over the inhabitants of the sea and turned them into polyps. In the most recent turn of events, she has managed to kidnap a member of the royal family. As either King Triton or his beautiful daughter Ariel, you must seek out Ursula and defeat her to effectively end the curse.

Triton's ready to kick some ass. And Flounder's
ready to move some boulders.
I'm guessing I have a lot more to say about this one as a memory rather than a game. My ex-fiancee wasn't much of a player, but she had a Genesis (or rather, Mega Drive) when she was a kid, and this was her favourite game in her childhood. Well, as it happens, her mother had kept the console and its games tucked away in the attic for many years, and it didn't take long after we first talked about the subject that we had a dusty old Genesis unit next to my PlayStation, and I spent a couple of hours trying to get the thing to work with a modern TV. I had never seen her excited about a game like she was about Ariel. It didn't look that interesting to me, so I passed on the opportunity to even try it, but now, as I was writing down titles for this marathon, I thought I'd finally give Ariel a shot. Well, it's certainly not bad in the usual sense, but holy crap, it is boring. And short. And simple. And easy. Yada-yada-yada. It has one thing going for it from the beginning, though, which wasn't a possibility in the NES game; you can go at it using King Triton, one of the most epic dudes in the history of Disney's animated features. Got to wonder why they named the game Ariel, then, but anyway, we're off to a good start right there.

'Eeeeeere, Jaws. A hot, half-naked chick for you
to chew on.
The graphics are quite good, a few thick outlines here and there, but nothing too disturbing - the game is just as good looking and fleshed-out as it's safe for you to expect. Very colourful, a sharp eye for details. The music's all right, there's reworked material from the movie and some usual, non-climactic but perfectly listenable stuff, blocked into the game from Sega's giant reserves.

The idea of the game is very simple. You need to save all the merpeople from fixed locations clearly indicated on your map, and that's about it. On the way, you might bump into some keys which can be used to open treasure chests, some of which are in plain sight and some which are safely tucked behind some boulders. For some odd reason, you can summon Flounder, Ariel's fishy friend, to get rid of those huge boulders. Don't even try to come up with one good reason why a tank like King Triton can't even budge the boulders, while a small yellow fish with the mental and physical strength of a worm can. You can also summon Sebastian to kill all the enemies on the screen... cue even more unwelcome awkwardness.

Back to Monkey Island with you!
After saving all the merpeople in one level, you can either dig up some more treasure to spend in Scuttle's novelty shop (where are the dinglehopper and the snarfblatt?) or go straight to the boss, marked with an X on the map. The boss fights are quite easy, mostly non-strategic deathmatches. Before you can even remotely begin to enjoy the game's very simple ways, it's already over. There are only four levels in this whole game, and while the game gets harder on each level, it follows the same pattern from the beginning to the end, and even while you might run into some speed bumps along the way, like hordes of very annoying enemies - here's looking at you, skeletons of the sunken ship - it'll all be over in under an hour. I would say something about the aftertaste, if there was some! This is one of the lamest games I've played in a while. I almost wish it was awful instead.

I wish I had something a bit meatier to say about the game, but I simply don't. Ariel is not a bad game by any measure. It's good, light entertainment when you're not in the mood - or condition - to judge. In other words, I might've enjoyed it more if I had the hangover of the year. There are way too few games designed for those less admirable physical conditions. I'd stick to the NES game if I were you, and looking for something even a bit more tense. 

SOUND : 7.9


GameRankings: 20.00%

2 kommenttia:

  1. The "hot, half-naked chick" look suspiciously like a burly man wearing baggy green pants, green tennis shoes, and a really bad red wig.

  2. HAHA! Thanks for that, I hadn't noticed. :D