E3 2005: Level Up
Buena Vista shows off Disney Titles
Company: Buena Vista
Date: 05/26/2005
Avaliable On:

Buena Vista is the interactive arm of the Walt Disney Company, so it comes as no surprise the games that were displayed at the booth. Most of the games are movie derivatives based off of animated films such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, Chicken Little and The Chronicles of Narnia.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie?s Revenge
This game, based off the hit Claymation film "The Nightmare Before Christmas", is an action adventure game that is the sequel to the movie. In it, the main character, Jack Skellington, continues the fight with his rival Oogie Boogie. The plotline surrounds Jack?s quest to stop Oogie from kidnapping all of the holiday figureheads and crowning himself the king.

Oogie?s Revenge includes over 25 different levels, and some unique gameplay styles, such as a few music-based battles. Using Jack?s ?Soul Robber?, you can collect the souls of the enemies you fight in order to buy your weapon and character upgrades. Oogie?s Revenge also boasts the voice cast from the original Disney film.

In playing Oogie?s Revenge, I found that there was really a lot of repetition in fighting. Jack?s weapon resembles those gooey toy hands that come in the novelty machines that cost 25 cents. He slings it around and hits his enemy, sometimes grabbing the enemy and bashing it against the ground and other enemies. This same type of gameplay repeated essentially throughout the demo that I played.

Throwing things around can be good fun, though, so I don't want it to sound like I didn't like the game. I really liked the music in the movie, and the game definately played the same tune (literally and figuratively). In all, Oogie's Revenge is one of those games your children or siblings would enjoy very much. The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie?s Revenge hits the PlayStation 2 and Xbox on October 11th, just in time for Halloween.

The Chronicles of Narnia
The Chronicles of Narnia is based off of the best-selling book series by C.S. Lewis of the same name. The game follows the plot of the upcoming Disney movie, where players enter the world of Narnia, a frozen land that is troubled by the evil powers of the White Witch. The only way to save the world is based in a prophecy that four siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, will work together using their unique abilities to defeat the White Witch. The player takes control of these four characters in an attempt to save the land of Narnia.

The console and DS versions of this game played very similarly. Essentially, there are several levels for you to explore, and you can switch between any of the four chracters during play. Computer AI will control the other characters that aren?t being used. The gameplay is like a hack and slash RPG, with a bit more of the emphasis on hacking and slashing your way through enemies.

On top of that, there is a good bit of adventuring to do in The Chronicles of Narnia. The DS version of the game uses the bottom touch screen for character and item select, which makes it a snap to use. The console versions really aren?t that much harder, however, because of the many more buttons available on a console controller.

The Gameboy Advance version of The Chronicles of Narnia plays a bit differently from the rest. Instead of being an RPG type game, it?s more of an action adventure, where there is a lot more focus on exploration. While not as fun to play as the console or DS versions, it?s not a bad game in the least.

Look for The Chronicles of Narnia in the Fall of 2005 for the Playstation 2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC, Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS systems.

Chicken Little
Chicken Little is based off of Disney?s upcoming 3D animated film of the same name. In the game, you take on the roles of Chicken Little and his friends Abby Malard, Runt of the Litter, and Fish Out of Water in their exploits to save the town from an alien invasion. The game will feature clips from the film as well as a special scene only contained in the game.

The style of Chicken Little is like that of a typical action/adventure game, with a good many platformer elements as well. Each stage that I played in the demo had several things to seek out and collect, and there were enemies and obstacles for your character to confront. Two different types of stages were shown at E3: one that was a platformer style stage, and the other was a flying/shooter game similar to Starfox. The flying stage had a few goals to win such as to fly through all the rings.

The game contains gorgeous visuals filled with bright colors and is being developed by Avalanche, the dev team recently acquired by Buena Vist and also the ones responsible for the platformer Tak: The Power of JuJu.

Chicken Little is set to launch with the film, in the holiday season of 2005, for the Gamecube, Xbox, Playstation 2, Gameboy Advance, and PC.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King
While the console version of The Nightmare Before Christmas serves as the sequel, the handheld version will be a prequel. In The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King, you find out how Jack met his nemesis, Oogie Boogie, and you lead Jack on his quest to save Halloween. After Jack finds out that an infestation of bugs in Halloween town was created by Oogie, he and his pet dog Zero head off to stop his nemesis, and save the town from destruction.

The Pumpkin King plays like a side scrolling platformer, almost like the Megaman and Metroid series, but without the large focus on exploration inherent in both those series (especially Metroid). This game style is a bit exhausted as of late, since there are a good deal of games that are based on movies or television shows that usually get the platformer treatment.

The sound is generally what you would come to expect from a GBA game. The tunes are based off of the movie in some form, but the GBA isn't exactly the best system for sound. Since The Nightmare Before Christmas was a musical of sorts, the fact that you can't hear parts of the original score is a real detriment to this game. The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King will be making its way to the Gameboy Advance on October 11th.

Z64freak aka Bret Hall

GameVortex PSIllustrated TeamPS2