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Buzz Lightyear of Star Command

Score: 65%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Activision
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Platformer

Graphics & Sound:

Where to begin? At first, the graphics in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command look like they may have some potential -- Buzz himself looks like he’s cel-shaded a la Jet Grind Radio -- but soon you realize just how drab the game really is. The same enemies appear over and over again throughout the game, from the yellow robots to the turrets, and the levels are quite repetitive. It’s not really ugly, per se, but it’s certainly not mind-blowing either. And the camera has a bad habit of clipping inside of things, be it a LGM or Buzz himself. Ugh. The FMV clips from the cartoon show fare no better, having none of the graphical brilliance of the excellent movies.

The sound isn’t much better. While I like the powerful menu theme, the in-level songs sound more like carnival music than anything to save the world by. Buzz Lightyear sounds nothing like Tim Allen, and the various laser sounds and ‘zooms’ from powered skateboards are weak at best. The only neat sound effect is the ‘ooooh’ from the LGMs as you pick them up, but that does not make a game worth while.


Unfortunately, the gameplay in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command does not a game make either, really. An unconnected chain of ‘chase the bad guy’ levels through half a dozen worlds or so will leave you looking for some real entertainment, although there’s not much to be found here.

You ‘control’ Buzz Lightyear, out to apprehend criminals before they do Very Bad Things. I put the word control in quotes, because that’s pretty far from what you actually do -- wiggle the analog pad around until he goes somewhat in the direction you like. For reasons only the video game designers understand, the villains you chase are invincible until they get to the end of the level, and you must stay right behind them -- you only have 15 seconds after they get to the end to catch up. If you manage to pass them up, you can get some power-ups and have a friend in the Space Rangers soften them up.

And that’s just about it to the game. Run through a drab level, memorizing where obstacles are to save you time, and hope you get there first.

Yes, there are jetbikes and hoverboards (the last made me think of Back to the Future II), and there are lots of different weapons that you can buy as you run around on the levels, but the whole thing feels so drab and pointless. Every once in a while a bomb will pop up that you have to shoot before it blows up the planet. Why would a villain blow up the planet he’s on? Ugh.

There are two challenges that open up after you defeat a level, allowing you to try to beat it in under a certain time (time trial) or find the robot parts of your buddy. The time trial is pretty difficult, and the robot collection is often near impossible. And the game forces you to do these things -- the later levels have a medal requirement to enter them, and you won’t get enough by just going through the levels. You can also get half-medals by rescuing LGMs and picking up lots of money.

But why bother?


Well, this one definitely misses the mark. Kids will have problems beating the main levels in enough time, with all the enemies firing at them and the poor controls. And the challenges are even tougher. And adults... well, adults will just play a better game.

Game Mechanics:

As previously stated, Buzz Lightyear has, well, atrocious controls. Aiming straight is well-nigh impossible, and there’s a major tendency to get snagged on corners. The menus are understandable enough, but the game doesn’t load your data upon boot-up and doesn’t remember whether you have stereo or mono on your TV. Isn’t that what a VMU is for?

In the end, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command is a lackluster platformer with uninspired gameplay, uninspired graphics, and bad control. While it may appeal to the hard-core Toy Story fan (although I doubt it), the rest of us would do well to steer clear. There’s nothing here but a smoldering crater full of what could have been and isn’t.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Sony PlayStation 2 Manhunt Sega Dreamcast AeroWings

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated