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The Grinch

Score: 60%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Media: GD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

At first glance, The Grinch is a quite nice-looking game. It captures much of the feel of Dr. Seuss' books, making for a storybook environment both figuratively and literally. But as you play the game, you start to see the limitations of the engine.

For one, objects in the world have a horrendously short draw-in distance. You won't see things you should be able to see because they're more than fifteen feet away. This makes a few areas of the game a major pain in the butt, as you have to run around like a madman hoping that the occasional present will 'pop up' so you can get it. The same goes for enemies and anything else that you need to deal with. It's supremely annoying.

And then you get to see all the enemies clip through the walls.


The sound, on the other hand, is actually quite good. The music is solid, quite in theme, and the voice acting carries over the nonsense rhyme of the book and movie. Nothing here is particularly stellar, and the rhymes are definitely major stretches at times, but it's still quite valid within the Grinchy framework, and certainly a step up from the weak visuals.


A shame, then, that The Grinch is simply not fun. While the adults in the crowd may appreciate a few of the challenges, the targeted audience of the game will give up in frustration before they get far into the game. Even the adults will get quite annoyed at the game and its lack of consistency or fun.

The basic conceit of the game is that you're out to ruin Christmas for the Whos, but you've lost all of your blueprints for suitably devious devices. So you've got to explore various parts of the Who world, completing missions and collecting parts of blueprints so that you can make the devices. The missions consist of causing various forms of havoc -- smashing presents, breathing on trees to make them wilt, and just making a nuisance of yourself. Of course, that's a good thing, because you're the Grinch.

The problem doesn't lie in the format of the game, but in the execution. You're given a series of quests for each world, but each quest is disturbingly similar. You'll have to smash n presents, or shoot eggs into m houses, or wilt z trees. And, as is disturbingly familiar in any sort of 'gratuitious fetch quest' game, you're often going to have problems finding that last item.

It doesn't help that you have to backtrack back and forth constantly to be able to complete any of the goals. This is normally a good thing in a game -- nonlinearity keeps it fresh. But in The Grinch, the amount of level-shuffling that you do gets to be downright annoying. And blueprint parts are often hidden in corners and other devious places, forcing you to search each level multiple times to make sure you didn't miss that one piece.

Some of the gadgets you get are cool -- launching eggs into houses is always amusing, and 'flight' is neat as well. But I'm not sure that anyone will be willing to deal with the game long enough to get to those items.


The Grinch is hard, not because the game itself is that challenging, but because of the various design flaws. A long series of fetch quests will inevitably have you missing several key items, and only a bare-bones search of the environment will have you finding everything that you need. Prepare to be frustrated. Some of the enemies also seem to cheat, or clip into and out of objects, and in general do anything they can to annoy you. This is not a Good Thing.

Game Mechanics:

The core mechanics of The Grinch are quite simple -- moving, jumping, the occasional butt-bounce. There's nothing here that hasn't been done in a platformer before. The problem is in the execution. Butt bounces can be horribly inaccurate, moving around with the level of popup that the game has can be dangerous, and the game never feels 'tight' with respect to the controls. The menus themselves are simple enough to navigate, however, although the logbook of dirty deeds to do could definitely use some work.

The Grinch is a game that tried to do something neat and failed. In its quest to blend the Spyro minigame concept with the comically dark world of Dr. Seuss, it falls short of both marks. Instead, we get a muddled goal-based platformer that is bested by tons of other games out on the market today. Unless you're a die-hard Grinch fan that can't get enough of our favourite green villain, you'd do best to steer clear of The Grinch.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

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