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Monsters vs. Aliens: The Video Game

Score: 55%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Beenox
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ Platformer (3D)

Graphics & Sound:

Of course, the graphics here aren't expected to be up to par with the other current generation consoles, but Monsters vs. Aliens just seems particularly disappointing. It's as if they just applied a pixely filter over the other console versions of the game. The colors are pretty bland, even without having another version of the game to compare it to. Cinematics are all done with the in-game engine as well, which doesn't help.

The music gives the atmosphere of an old 50's sci-fi movie, which goes with the whole theme of the movie featuring the classic monster stereotypes. The voice acting is all done by the original actors, so you'll get an experience that's pretty close to the movie experience. I am hoping the movie's script is a little more clever - the bulk of the dialogue in this game consists of one-liners, though it does have its funny moments.


Monsters vs. Aliens follows the plot of the Dreamworks movie it is based on. You're introduced to the monsters (and poor Susan) in the beginning of the game. All those cheesy movies about swamp monsters or mad scientists-turned-bug men - turns out they're all true, and the monsters all live under the secret watch of the U.S. military.

At first, your goal is to escape the secret facility, as the monsters have become bored with their situation. But after a long and drawn-out escape, the General catches up with the monsters. After he recruits you, your goal is now to fight a menacing alien threat. Either way, you'll be doing the same thing you were doing before (you really have to wonder why the alien robots don't differ all that much from the ones the government was sending after you). Susan, the woman turned giant, will skate through levels using cars as the skates. The Missing Link (and yes, that's his only name) will put you through your 3D platforming paces and genrally smash and trash things with his fists and fins. And finally, B.O.B. will use his blob body to stick to walls, walk on ceilings, and do other bizarre things like shoot plasma bullets (not really as cool as it sounds). You alternate between playing these characters, but for each character, the game will pretty much remain the same.

Throughout the game you'll collect monster DNA, which serves as bonus points that you can turn in for bonus features. Movie stills as a bonus might work, but it seems as if they picked the least interesting parts of the movie to take still frames from. You'll also be able to unlock commentary. With this feature, you can replay levels, but with added inner monologue narrative from the character you are playing. That's kind of cool, but you may get tired of playing the same levels over and over just to hear the monologe. One thing that could have been a better motivator is the achievement system. You don't know what achievements you've hit until you finish the level. Even then, it can be confusing as to how you earned them. If they would pop on the screen when you earned one, at least you'd have a better chance at guessing why you achieved something.

There is at least a co-op mode where you can play with a friend. This seems a bit tacked-on, however, as one person will control the regular character for the level and one person just gets a laser where they can shoot things for you. Still, co-op is better than no co-op, and it just might be what saves this game for some people.


Monsters vs. Aliens has no selectable difficulty, so it stays at one level. It's not a particularly difficult game, but there are some sequences you'll probably need to try more than once. Susan's levels are a prime example, as they are on rails and it isn't always clear what you need to do until you've failed (i.e. run into a sign pole or fall into a chasm).

No, this game is more monotonous than challenging. If you have the patience, you'll be able to make it through most of the game. An abundance of checkpoints also ensure that you'll be able to make it through most levels even if you have a tendency to die halfway through. B.O.B.'s levels may present the hardest puzzle challenge, but this too is simple, tried-and-tried before material.

Game Mechanics:

Basically, in Monsters vs. Aliens, you've got a skating game on rails (Susan's levels) and a 3D platformer (B.O.B. and The Missing Link's levels). It does avoid the typical Wii control pitfalls, for the most part. Probably the most complicated character to control is The Missing Link. The combinations of button presses and remote swings that he has available are pretty staggering. Luckily, you don't really need to do the fancy moves in order to get by. You can pretty much stick to a few attacks to wipe out most enemies.

Susan may be the simplest just for the fact that she doesn't have a bunch of random Wii-mote swings shoved into her repertoire. In fact, the only time you need to wave a remote is during certain quicktime events, and you'll be shown what to do with onscreen prompts.

Monsters vs. Aliens is another dull movie adaptation. It's a shame for such a creative company to allow such lackluster games to be released under their name. If the movie is a witty, fun ride, you wouldn't be able to tell from playing this game.

-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

Nintendo Wii Guitar Hero: Metallica Microsoft Xbox 360 Monsters vs. Aliens: The Video Game

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