Thankfully, 102 Dalmations
plays as good as it looks. Nobody could say the license cheapened the game, since I can see 102 Dalmations
being fun to play even without the puppies. For a brief synopsis, Domino and Oddball have been captured and stuck in Cruella's Toy Factory with every other Dalmation puppy in England. But, a lucky escape means Domino and Oddball are free to turn the other puppies loose. Standing between them and success are tons of nasty traps and legions of robot dogs, evil toys and contraptions.
After choosing one of the two puppies, gameplay involves completing levels by getting puppies out of their cages. Sound simple? It would be, except each level has a hidden key which is usually well guarded. Finding cages isn't enough, and getting the key doesn't mean all the cages are easy to locate. In the beginning, levels have only a handful of cages and the key in a fairly obvious place. By the end of 102 Dalmations, you'll have to really work for both the key and the cages. Platforming is the name of the game, and although early stages have only a few jumps to manage, eventually you'll be hitting switches to turn on floating platforms that lead to bouncing platforms that lead to the key. Somehow, the pacing is done so well that everything is introduced logically and in a way that sets up a gradual progression of devices and enemies. Running into enemies drains a puppies power, and eventually puts you back in the cage to try and escape again. To counter enemies, you have a tough bark and the ability to jump out of harm's way. Also, each level has a number of bone power-ups that can regenerate your power.
A few of the many levels require more puzzle solving skills and move away from the platforming, and there are boss levels for Cruella and her henchmen. Also, completing 102 Dalmations earns you passwords to two mini-games. One is a little strange, and has you use red, blue and green sliders to mix color and match a colored paw-print. The second mini-game is more fun, and works like a memory game where you turn cards over and try to match and remove pairs.