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Stuart Little 2

Score: 50%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Creations
Media: Cart/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Platformer

Graphics & Sound:

Upon first look, Stuart Little 2 is less than impressive when compared to most GBA titles available. Character animations are plain, and the backgrounds are a little above average. However, once you take a step down and look at the game through the eyes of a child - the game's target audience - things look a little better. Characters are big, colorful and easy to see. Honestly, kids do not care how many cycles the animations run through or Stuart was pixel-render-fuzz-shaded or whatever the big new graphical trick is - they just want Stuart to look like Stuart.

I am always a big fan of developers going throwing in a little extra to make games better. I was impressed to see that Creations threw in actual movie dialog before each level in order to give it that extra push. As much as I like the effort, it turns out to be a double-edged sword in terms of the game's sound. The dialog is fun to hear, but the quality is poor and slightly garbled. Music and sound effects are good though and lively enough to keep kids entertained, but parents may want to invest in a set of headphones since the 'boinks' and level music can get annoying to older ears.


>From what I have been able to piece together from the movie trailers, Stuart Little 2 follows the plot of the movie almost exactly. Stuart is struggling with something of a Napoleon complex - everyone thinks he is too small to do anything. As luck would have it, this all changes after his new best friend, Margalo, is kidnapped. During his big adventure, Stuart will skateboard, fly his model plane, and drive his roadster in order to save her.

Most of the game is a straight platformer where Stuart must run around collecting items and pushing blocks to solve various puzzles. These are some of the easier parts of the game, but there are a few snags. For example, one level has Stuart leading Margalo to her new home, the jewelry box. In order to do this, he must clear several obstacles in the way, such as a sink full of water or a fan. While the path is rather straight forward, some of the ways to stop the obstacles are vague. I was able to figure out how to get around them after some trial and error, but since this is a kid's, game I would have expected things to be a little more cut and dry.

In order to keep the game from getting repetitive, the game also contains a few mini-games between levels. The first has Stuart flying his plane through rings and avoiding hazards. This was one of the more enjoyable parts of the game, although some of the tight turns Stuart is required to make in order to hit some rings are very tough. As if flying a plane was not enough, Stuart will also drive his roadster around in a few overhead levels.

Stuart Little 2 also features two mini-games that can be played via a two-player link. However, the games offer little in the way of fun and feel like they were slapped together at the last minute. The Little Prix (snicker) has Stuart racing three laps in the game's sub-par driving sections, while another pits Stuart vs. Margalo in a foot race through a side scrolling level.


It should be obvious to anyone that Stuart Little 2 is targeted for the movie's audience - kids. However, while playing a few parts of the game, it seemed as if Creations did not realize this fact. To put it bluntly, at times Stuart Little 2 is harder and more frustrating than some 'older' games. For example, in the roadster levels, there is a little compass that directs you where to go. The problem is that the needle takes way too long to point in the right direction and in most cases, by the time you see where you have to go, time runs out. Also, the layout in these levels is so bad, that it is possible to get the car stuck between obstacles.

A few technical glitches also hurt the game's difficulty. For example, one level has Stuart descending into a sink drain dangling from a fishing wire armed only with a flashlight. The problem is that the collision detection on the beam of light is flawed and there were times where I would flash the light on a spider, yet the hit did not register and I took a cheap hit. Throw in the scum dripping from the top of the screen and water shooting from the sides (without any warning) and you've got a GBA embedded in your wall.

Game Mechanics:

As I touched on earlier, the controls in Stuart Little 2 could use some tweaking. For the most part the controls are playable, but they always seem like they are lacking and never seem complete. This is especially evident when trying to navigate Stuart in the air while jumping. I cannot tell you how many times I fell because I could not get Stuart over enough to hit a ledge. Speaking of falling, the game is very inconsistent when it come to taking fall damage. For example, in one level I fell in a little drop and took damage, yet later in that same level when I fell from an even higher height I took no damage.

Because the game has so many different styles, I would have liked it if the scheme was outlined before the start of each level. Yes - they are all stated in the instructions, but being a former kid (or as some would argue, a big kid), I know kids do not read instruction books. A simple menu saying what each button did would have gone a long way.

For what it's worth, Stuart Little 2 is a good game. However, since this game is meant for kids, it's unusually high difficulty level will turn kids off. Stuart Little 2 offers a solid game, yet there is always something in each level that kills the fun. Fans should check it out, others may want to try something else.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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