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American McGee's Grimm: Little Red Riding Hood

Score: 80%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: GameTap
Developer: Spicy Horse
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Platformer/ Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

American McGee's Grimm: Little Red Riding Hood is the second episode in the series of games that take your favorite fairytales and turns them dark.

Like A Boy Learns What Fear Is, the game conveys a cartoonish, simple look with exaggerated features in all the characters and environmental pieces, and has two very distinct looks in the light and dark modes. When you start a level off, the scenes are filled with bright colors and pastels that seem like something out of an old Disney cartoon, but as Grimm walks around, the darker, more goth-inspired world of the fairytale is revealed. It really is interesting to see what a change in colors and textures can do to drastically alter the feel of a game. I especially liked Little Red's transformation from wearing a bright red pointy hood, to a dark maroon one that is split down the middle.

Audio-wise, Little Red Riding Hood is very fitting. The voice of Grimm, who narrates the game, is gruff and well, grim sounding. Meanwhile, the occasional comment he makes isn't so annoying that you want to turn the sound off. That being said, this game could just as easily be played on mute, since, besides the narration at the beginning and end of levels, nothing really important is said. Besides the aforementioned random comments, Grimm will tell you what level your Dark-O-Meter needs to be in order to move to the next area, but at the same time he says that, there is a big arrow that appears next to the object you need to turn that says what you need to make it.


Gameplay:

American McGee's Grimm: Little Red Riding Hood continues the simple yet funny gameplay from the first episode. Here, instead of following the boy trying to find out what fear is, you are tracking Little Red Riding Hood as she goes through the woods and into the belly of the beast.

The first scene of this game has Red needing to leave the village, so Grimm does his darnedest to make it a village she wants to get away from. After that, it is a trip to the woods, then a garden where she wants to pick some flowers for her grandmother. Once you get to grandma's, you have to spend some time in her yard, which ends with both Red and you getting sucked into the wolf's belly. After watching the woodsman slice away at his insides, the last scene takes you back to the woods where Red and her friends are trying to sew the wolf back together again.

Like the first game, American McGee's Grimm offers both the classical fairytale (as told by Grimm in a very Crypt Keeper manner) called Light Theater, and once you've beaten the game, the much darker and more demented one called Dark Theater. Both are enjoyable to watch since even the light one has an odd slant on it, considering the storyteller's personal view of the situation.


Difficulty:

As with the first Grimm game, American McGee's Grimm: Little Red Riding Hood is a quick play. I found I could run through each of the levels, completely turning everything, in five to eight minutes. At six scenes per game, you should be finished with the episode in at most an hour, and that's including going back to the scenes where you didn't collect all the hidden treasures.

Considering the casual game nature of this line, and the fact that, by the end of the volume, there will be eight games, the pacing seems to work quite well, and so far it's all enjoyable.


Game Mechanics:

American McGee's Grimm: Little Red Riding Hood continues the very simple game mechanics of the first game. Your goal is to turn as much of the scene dark as possible, and since Grimm's very nature is so dark; all he has to do is walk around. As you move about the level, a defined area around you changes to the much more gloomy textures and the more you turn dark, the bigger that area of effect.

Besides walking around, Grimm can jump and do a butt stomp. This not only allows him to affect a wider area and daze the critters that are cleaning up your mess, but it is also used to open up the next area in a level, provided your Dark-O-Meter has been raised to the right level.

Once again, if you haven't tried this game yet, it's definitely worth downloading the first game and giving it a try, while you don't need to know the events of A Boy Learns What Fear Is to play this game, it's a free download and should definitely let you know if you like the gameplay style. If you didn't like the first one, then, quite frankly, you won't like this one either.

Oh and, donít forget that the each Grimm game is free if you get it within the first 24 hours of its launch at www.gametap.com/grimm.


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

Minimum System Requirements:



2.4 GHz Single Core Pentium Processor, 512 MB of System RAM, Nvidia 6200+ or equivalent video card with 128MB Video RAM, 500 MB of Free Hard Drive Space
 

Test System:



Alienware Aurora m9700 Laptop, Windows XP Professional, AMD Turion 64 Mobile 2.41 GHz, 2 GB Ram, Duel NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB Video Cards, DirectX 9.0c

Microsoft Xbox 360 Operation Darkness Nintendo Wii Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated