lauantai 21. toukokuuta 2011

REVIEW - Pinocchio (1995)

GENRE(S): Action / Platform
DEVELOPER(S): NMS Software (GB), Virgin Interactive (GEN, SNES)
PUBLISHER(S): Black Pearl (GB), THQ (GEN), Disney Interactive (SNES)

Pinocchio was Walt Disney's second full-length feature film, and it was based on a children's novel called The Adventures of Pinocchio, written by Carlo Collodi in 1883. Through Disney's work, the story of Pinocchio gained mainstream popularity and its hailed as one of the most essential stories when it comes to basic lessons in life. It was a story of a wooden doll who was magically brought to life with the stipulation that if he truly wanted to be human, he had to learn the human ways of bravery, truth and unselfishness. The movie was released in 1940. 55 years later, it spawned a video game, originally for the Sega Genesis, but just a while later, the game was also ported to Nintendo systems as the last game based on a Disney movie ever released for 16-bit consoles. Non-surprisingly, Pinocchio was not the most graceful way for Disney and the 16-bit era to part ways.


Cricket goes apeshit.
An old, lonely wood carver by the name of Geppetto desperately wants a child. He carves a wooden marionette he names Pinocchio and makes a wish upon a star that Pinocchio would become a real boy. A kind fairy descends from the stars and brings Pinocchio to life, but she reminds him that in order to become a real human child, he needs to learn to live like one. Unfortunately for Pinocchio and his ultimate goal, the outside world is full of temptations he cannot resist without human nature on his side.

I'm going to be brief about the movie this time around, 'cause I have quite a few nasty words in store for the game. Pinocchio is a good plot that falls flat in a lukewarm movie, to be completely blunt. It's classic and all that, and of course it's _good_, but since everyone else seems to revere it as one of Disney's best and most balanced early works, I've got to point out that it's far from balanced. I think the movie's first half rolls by with just the right tempo, but the second half is boring and stale. I personally think the movie was a disappointment after the still extremely strong Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I would've liked to see if the game was the same way, but I never made it to the second half. I gave up, 'cause once again, for the third time in a row in the case of a Disney movie license, I bumped into a game that always takes and never gives. Plus, it's based on a movie that was hardly a hot topic at the time of the game's release. Plus, it's boring. Every level is different, but none the more interesting than the last. Another play-by-play, coming up, and I think you're gonna like it.

Pinocchio, if you want to be a real BOY, you get
off that stage right now.
I'm almost fed up with talking about the graphics. Sure, the game looks good, what do you expect? It also sounds relatively good. The music's a little repetitive as always and once again the louder tracks tend to get on one's nerves, but the soundtrack's a tolerable collection of the usual Disney jingles.

In the first level, you're supposed to control Pinocchio in a standard platform setting and guide him to school. It's not really standard. First of all, you can't do shite to enemies. Not one single thing. Jumping on them does not help, and you have no method to attack them. The only way to make progress in this level is to dodge bullies and mischievous anthropomorphs, and figure out the right path to make it past all those inpenetrable walls by using loose signs and vanes to your advantage in making it to the rooftops. I wish my walks to school would've been as exciting. On the other hand, exciting's not really the right word when all you can do to survive is to DODGE. Kind of reminds me of Mickey Mania, but at least you had some form of ammunition in that game. What a boring level! Next, please!

OK, so next you're Jiminy Cricket, and you're standing on a lamp. ...And? Give me a minute to figure out what to do. On both sides of the lamp, there are bottomless pits. You fall in, you're naturally dead. Oh, now you have a way to attack enemies, by using your umbrella. That still doesn't explain what we need to do. OOOOOHHH, it's a boss fight, I get it! Those moths flying around the lamp are collectively the extremely easy and generic boss! You slap all of them around with an umbrella for about million times each, and then you're done with this level.

Next up, Pinocchio's up on Stromboli's stage, and we're up for our next cryptic riddle of what to do. There's a SNES controller on the screen, and we're shown how to work Pinocchio's limbs in this level. It might take a while for you to figure out that you need to repeat your co-stars' moves. Once you get it, it's easy... until one of the groups shows a move that you weren't taught in the beginning. You need to try all sorts of crazy combinations to finally nail that finisher. Anyway, when you've nailed it just that once, the level's over. I might not have seen one exciting thing in this game yet, but I like its tempo! ...Which turns out its ultimate downfall.

Oh, crap.
We move on to a different platformer, in which we first need to run to the end of the level, grab a balloon by its string, and then hop from balloon to balloon, back to the beginning of the stage, and it's done. Don't worry, you're gonna fall a few times since the bullying bastards are back and this time they have bricks to throw at you. This time around, you can use your new fancy dance moves from the stage to kick them around a bit, but only from a very short range.

We've come to the end... of this review, not the game. Actually, we're halfway through the game, if you want details. Anyway, like I said, up to this point the game has not given me one good reason to be excited about it. It's simply not an exciting game! Well, the fifth level is a rollercoaster in the style of Donkey Kong Country's Mine Cart Madness and all those levels that were pretty fun, although hectic and quite unforgiving at their worst. The tempo is insane, but during the first few seconds, I'm somehow getting the feeling that the game is picking up a little, it's becoming more of an exciting gameplay experience. I'm dead? Like I was saying, I'm getting the feeling that... I'm DEAD?! What the hell is happening? OK, now I'm not going to think about anything else but the game. I died again. On the next time, I paused the game just before the instance I had died during the last three times. There's an obscured obstacle in the middle of the track. In front of it, there's a non-highlighted, worn out sign that says "Duck". You can't even SEE that sign without pausing the game, the tempo is so fast! How about giving us a proper prompt (like a big "DUCK" flashing on the screen?), making the sign OR the obstacle stand out better, OR putting the sign somewhere else than RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE FUCKING OBSTACLE? You guessed it, this level is full of "Ducks" and "Jumps". I've had enough! Power off; this game isn't getting better, it's getting worse. I'm doing it and its developers a favour by quitting now.

Pinocchio, I told you not to ride the rollercoaster
of sudden death!
It's damn near impossible to beat the fifth level if you're not an avid, skilled (ab)user of save states. I'm guessing the Genesis version's a bit more fair, since there's a walkthrough to be found on the net for the Genesis version, but not the SNES version. There's almost _nothing_ on the SNES version on the net, while the Genesis version has apparently garnered in some modest praise. This game is unbelievable. First it bores us to death, then throws an extremely generic boss fight at us, then comes the admittedly fun but cryptic theater sequence, the balloon hop which is simply frustrating, and then this: the rollercoaster of sudden death. The rest of the game is based on seeking out Monstro, searching his insides and finally escaping him, so I get the feeling the game ain't going to get any more interesting if I ever pass - or even attempt to pass - that damn rollercoaster.

Pinocchio is a useless game, I don't know why the hell it was made. It angers me. It's boring and frustrating, it has crappy level design, and its release simply does not make any sense, IN any sense. It's not the worst Disney license out there, but namely useless. I smell cash... the cash that the game didn't make. 

SOUND : 7.8


a.k.a. Disney's Pinocchio

GameRankings: 63.00% (GB), 65.00% (GEN)

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