maanantai 23. toukokuuta 2011

REVIEW - Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King (2005)

GENRE(S): Action / Adventure / Platform
RELEASED: September 2005
PUBLISHER(S): Buena Vista Interactive

Many people know who Tim Burton is. In case you don't, he's one genius of a director who has brought us such masterpieces in the history of cinema as Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns, Sleepy Hollow, Big Fish and The Corpse Bride. This much everyone knows, but something that a lot of people fail to note nowadays is that once upon a time, Tim Burton was an animator at Disney and he worked on such Disney films as The Fox and the Hound, and The Black Cauldron. In 1982, he produced a short movie made entirely in stop-motion, entitled Vincent. Around the same time, he wrote a poem named "The Nightmare Before Christmas". Disney wanted him to make a short movie based on the poem, but Tim refused at the time, and became a hot shot director. In 1991, production began on a full-length stop-motion animation movie entitled The Nightmare Before Christmas. Henry Selick directed it, Tim Burton wrote it. Released in 1993, he movie became one of the most critically acclaimed animated movies of all time. In late 2004, 11 years after the movie's release, a video game sequel entitled Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge was released in Japan on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The game was released a whole year later in the west, and it was accompanied by another game, a prequel to the movie: Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King. This game was released exclusively on the Game Boy Advance, and it's worth the trip if you're a serious Nightmare fanatic.

When Jack met Oogie

Smell the breath. You know you like it.
Everyone in Halloween Town loves Halloween, especially Jack Skellington, the self-proclaimed "Pumpkin King", who claims to be the scariest citizen of all of Halloween Town. Oogie Boogie, a mischeavous bag of bugs counters Jack's bold claim, infests the whole town with bugs and attempts to kidnap his competitor, but his trio of henchmen accidentally kidnaps Dr. Finkelstein's lab assistant Sally instead. It's up to Jack and his loyal ghost dog Zero to save Sally and the whole town from Oogie Boogie's jealous fit.

Somewhere along the dark past, I might've mentioned how much admiration I have for Mr. Burton's work. That being said (again), it's kind of ironic that I don't think of The Nightmare Before Christmas as much of a masterpiece. It's fun to watch during the holidays on three- or four-year intervals, but I don't know, the movie has never really made much of an impression on me as a whole - besides the artwork, I love the artwork and the look of the characters. Since The Nightmare Before Christmas is such an important part of the Kingdom Hearts series, I looked this Game Boy Advance title up after finishing Kingdom Hearts II, as my enthusiasm towards the franchise was somewhat rejuvenated, and found a surprisingly decent game, that doesn't really have flaws - instead, it has a whole handful of lacks.

I have a feeling I do.
The animation's decent enough, but the lack of colours and depth, which might have something to do with the theme itself make the game look like a good-looking Game Boy Color game instead of a 2005 Game Boy Advance title. The music's right on the mark, it's vintage Nightmare.

The game is very easy to explain: it was most likely released to ride on the success of Metroidvania. The basic idea is very much the same: you're free to explore Halloween Town and its buildings. However, there are no special items to be found besides weapons, shrunken heads that give you five extra ticks of health each, and rare items that practically have no use at all. You can be quick about the game if you want, there are very few necessities for you to pick up; the game is very easy once you get a decent hold of the quirky, sensitive controls. The game also isn't as lengthy as it might first seem, as there are only three different weapons for you to collect and upgrade, six different "levels" for you to complete and ten boss fights for you to conquer.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I
fuckin' hate snakes.
The game is all about finding the one correct path, and not much else, which makes the appointed Metroidvania setting kind of useless and frustrating. Swatting all those millions of respawning bugs over and over again has no purpose either, the game has no EXP system like Castlevania does. It's always fun to explore, but there should be something to keep you going. The game has a tight pace and it hardly ever falls into a complete slump, but the whole experience lacks a sense of purpose that is a whole bundle of one of the most important underlying elements in this kind of game.

The game is good enough to be easily recommended to people who love The Nightmare Before Christmas, and even Metroidvania fans, but I'd go into it with reservations if I were you. The game lacks depth and purpose, but it is a fairly entertaining adventure.

SOUND : 8.0


GameRankings: 69.43%

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