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Drake & Josh

Score: 83%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: THQ
Developer: THQ
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Family/ Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

Know anything about Nickelodeon's Drake & Josh TV show? I did (because I watch the show with my five year old son ... he's a big fan and I like the show too, mostly seeing it through his eyes, of course). Drake & Josh are like chalk and cheese, two stepbrothers thrown together into a crazy family world. Drake is cool, but either he finds trouble or vice versa. Josh is a goofy, but serious-minded overachiever who always gets freaked out by Drake's blithe approach to life. The two started out on another Nickelodeon show, Megan 101, but their popularity helped them transmogrify into a show of their own.

All this is good for Nickelodeon, but is it good for the Gameboy Advance?

The answer is, well, sure.

Gameboy Advance fans are now bobbing right in the middle of the wake of the very popular Nintendo DS. All serious title development is going to the DS (and to other consoles), leaving family-friendly titles, mostly from successful licenses (like Drake & Josh) for the GBA. Those same GBA fans will have to enjoy this while it lasts; within another year or so, they probably won't even be getting Drake & Josh-style games ...

Considering that Drake & Josh is based on the TV show of the same name, the graphics are somewhat downsized from TV quality (that's a joke). They're not on par with anything else most folks are playing right now, either. PS3, Xbox 360, Wii ... forget about it. This is a game that's totally aimed directly at the amazingly huge exiting GBA installed base and the graphics quality (or lack of same) was never an issue when the decision was made to develop this game. So don't even bring up graphics quality, or audio, for that matter, as a factor in buying or not buying Drake & Josh for GBA. You're going to buy it because you enjoy the show and you think you might derive a few moments of fun from playing a game based on some of the content therein.


Gameplay:

The initial premise of the game is that Drake's band lands a new, cool gig, and Josh is promoted to a new job at the Premiere Movie Theater. All this sounds good, but the fun begins when surprise visitors blow into town.

Play either as Drake or Josh and the game tries valiantly to deliver some of the trademark activities of each character. For instance, there's a section where you, as Drake, influence the ladies with your guitar playing. To get to that point in the game, however, you must navigate other mini-games to unlock pathways, purchase the guitar from a store, find and obtain a guitar playing guide from another of the game's (and show's) characters, and practice your guitar playing. There is some challenge to all of this and the game includes a variety of puzzles, strategy segments, food fights, and other action.


Difficulty:

Maneuvering characters around the various sets and making them interact with other characters requires relatively little skill. Unless you're my five year old son, this game's action sequences, puzzles and other minutiae involve no great videogame skills either, only the will to figure out the various puzzles and the gameplay order to complete levels and move on. Like any game, and any GBA game in particular, it takes practice to deliver the proper controller presses at the proper times.

Game Mechanics:

If you've played any other GBA game titles, the game mechanics for Drake & Josh are not groundbreaking. For example, when playing the guitar, there are sample icons that appear on the screen. Match the icons with your own controller and you continue playing and eventually earn enough skill to wow the ladies. If you're a thumb fingered dolt (like me, not like my five year old; he topped his dad at nearly every phase of the game), then you've got some practicing to do.

Overall, Drake & Josh is a decent little game that is based on a licensed TV show that still has some punch with kids and tweens still hooked on Nickelodeon. Is that enough to make it a hit? For THQ, that depends more on what the license cost than how good the game is or how easy it is to play. For the average consumer, that depends on whether you've got $18 lying around (and whether the batteries in the GBA are still good).


-Jetzep, GameVortex Communications
AKA Tom Carroll

Sony PlayStation Portable Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos Nintendo Wii Medal of Honor: Vanguard

 
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