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Over The Hedge

Score: 75%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Edge of Reality
Media: GCD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ Platformer

Graphics & Sound:

Over the Hedge does a fair job of duplicating the movie's many comical characters.

Though the GameCube doesn't have the graphical powers that were avaliable to render the DreamWorks film, everyone from Verne and RJ all the way to Dwayne The Exterminator bear a very close resemblance to their silver-screen counterparts. Environments also look nice and though there aren't any particular locations from the movie, all of the lawns and kitchens and houses definitely look like they would belong in the newly-developed neighborhood.

Audiowise, the game doesn't use the same all-star cast that the film did, but the vocal talents are close enough to be fooled ... mostly. There were several occasions when the voices coming out of RJ and Verne were definitely not Bruce Willis and Garry Shandling, but other supporting voice-overs definitely fit the bill (especially Stephen Stanton's version of William Shatner's Ozzy the Opossum).


I was surprised to find that the Over the Hedge game wasn't a reenactment of the film, like most movie-licenses, but actually a continuation of the feature. The game's first couple of levels, the tutorial, quickly takes you through the movie and the game actually starts off one year later with the group trying to forage food for the next winter.

This was a pleasant change because it allowed the game to create its own story instead of trying to show off RJ's dilemma and other issues that were brought up in the movie. Instead, the gang is already a family and the only thing you have to worry about is collecting food and taking out Dwayne's brain-washed rodents.

Over the Hedge's staple is action/platformer elements. Levels consist of linear 3D environments with power-ups, destructible items and enemies scattered liberally throughout. The title also hosts a wide variety of mini-games. These are typically short breaks in the standard formula in an attempt to keep the game fresh. You will do everything from run down the inside of the hedge dodging hands and branches, to trying to catch food that the other animals will throw out of windows.

Over the Hedge also sports a few multi-player games. RC Racers is a racing game where you will control RC cars around a track. Bumper Carts puts you behind the wheel of golf-carts in a demolition derby free-for-all while Range Driver tests your accuracy by having you try to shoot out targets with your long-range attack. These games are okay, but really only serve as a distraction for when you hit one of the game's various frustrating parts; if you want to play with a buddy, just have him or her pick up a controller while you are in one of the regular levels.


For the most part, Over the Hedge isn't a hard game. Platforming areas are easy to explore or just run through and shouldn't take too many attempts. Where the game does take a hit is in some of its mini-game-like missions. There were several times when I had to complete some task and the mission was just too difficult. In fact, I still haven't beaten the game because of one such event. The worst part is that these areas of increased difficulty are rarely due to the design of the mini-game itself, but because of other elements.

For instance, there is one mission where you have to toss food up little steps in order to get it to one of the porcupines. But because of the less-than-optimal width of the steps, if you can throw the food to the next level, if you can even get onto the step, when you pick up the food you slide down to the previous level. This wouldn't really be a problem if not for the short time limit. So in general, Over the Hedge isn't hard -- it's these rare tough missions that really hinder the game's fun feel.

Game Mechanics:

Over the Hedge has a simple control scheme that makes it easy to just pick up and play. Your A button allows you to jump and double jump, while the B button is your melee attack. Using the Y button will unleash a more powerful attack and the longer you hold it down, the more damage it will deal. The X button along with the control stick allows you to shoot and aim a projectile, making it easier to hit enemies that are far away or other objects that you just can't get to right away. Holding down the R button causes your critter to creep around, which works really well if there are motion-sensor traps around and if you are playing by yourself, tapping the Z button lets you switch between the two characters that are on the screen.

Over the Hedge is a good game and it complements the movie fairly well. If you can get past some of the frustrating mini-games, then it's worth it, but if you are quick to temper (or even just mildly speedy to temper) then you might want to give this game a rental first.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Nintendo DS Over The Hedge Sony PlayStation 2 Atelier Iris 2: Azoth of Destiny

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