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Monsters vs. Aliens: The Video Game

Score: 60%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Beenox
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ Platformer

Graphics & Sound:

Monsters vs. Aliens: The Video Game is, put bluntly, yet another movie tie-in videogame that takes the plot of the film and throws standard gameplay styles at you in what feels like another attempt to get more money from the license. That being said, there isn't a whole lot bad about Monsters vs. Aliens, just nothing that stands out and makes you take notice.

Visually, the game looks more like something from the later days of the PS2 era, than something fitting the current generation's console and graphics cards capabilities. While in-game models probably aren't as bad as they could be, there just wasn't a ton of detail there and the environments tended to be pretty repetitious, especially Susan's levels.

Sound, on the other hand, was pretty solid. Seth Rogen, Reese Witherspoon, Will Arnett and Rainn Wilson all reprise their roles as B.O.B., Susan, The Missing Link and Gallaxhar, but noticeably missing is Hugh Laurie as Dr. Cockroach. It's not that the replacement voice isn't good, but it doesn't sound like Laurie to me. Though it's always hard to get used to his British accent anyway since he hides it well in House M.D.. Also missing is Kiefer Sutherland as General W. R. Monger, but this isn't as big a character in the game, and the replacement voice actor seemed to do a pretty solid job in this regard. Meanwhile, the game's background music stays out of the way, but helps to keep the action alive.


Monsters vs. Aliens: The Video Game follows the events of the movie it is named after. Susan is a woman who has grown to immense proportions at her wedding and has been secreted away to a government facility leaving only a bad cover-up story in her wake. There she learns about several other monsters like The Missing Link (who is part ape and part fish), B.O.B. (a gelatinous blob) and Dr. Cockroach (a man turned bug). When Susan and the gang get bored and fed up with their life in captivity, they break out. But it isn't long before they are recaptured and tasked with fighting a giant alien robot.

The game's levels are broken up into three types, one for each of the playable characters. Susan dons vehicle-roller-skates and races down roadways as enemies try to shoot her and obstacles are thrown in her path. While you don't have any control over speed and direction when playing as Susan, you do have the ability to move left or right on the road, crouch, jump and charge at enemies. The Missing Link's levels are, to me, the most enjoyable and deep. But then again, it also falls into the standard platformer formula for movie-licensed games. Here, Link will run around smashing objects and enemies with his massive fists and tail while interacting with a few objects like missile launchers. And then there are B.O.B.'s levels that use his sticky form to walk on walls and ceilings solving various puzzles.

The only other gameplay aspect that is of interest in Monsters vs. Aliens is the ability for a friend to jump in on the fly to control Dr. Cockroach's laser and help you take down enemies. If you are using the keyboard control scheme, then this means the other user will be using your mouse. Unfortunately, this causes other problems that will be discussed later. In the end, the co-op feature feels more tacked on than anything else, and seems to be more of a hassle than it's worth.


Once you get used to Monsters vs. Aliens: The Video Game's control scheme (which I will get into in the next section), this game doesn't really pose any kind of difficulty. Each level is fairly simple and straightforward and it is pretty much always clear what you have to do. Susan's levels are the easiest since all you really need to know how to do is move from side-to-side, jump and occasionally bash through some bad guys. The Missing Link's levels tend to be a bit more trouble since they fit nicely into the action-platformer sub-genre, but even then I found I was rarely confronted with a situation I couldn't handle. And finally, I found B.O.B's levels somewhere in between. While his puzzles were a bit of a challenge occasionally, for the most part, they were easier than The Missing Link's tasks, but not quite as easy as Susan's.

Game Mechanics:

Monsters vs. Aliens: The Video Game in general isn't a bad game. It is very much average and doesn't really do anything to stand out, that is, until you look at how the controls are laid out for the PC. Unfortunately, in this regard, the game falls very, very short. Thankfully, it supports the Xbox 360 controller and it's simply best to plug that sucker in immediately because you won't want to even go near the keyboard with the kind of crazy key combinations you will have to pull off in order to do the most basic tasks otherwise.

Since the game is a fairly standard 3rd person action-platformer, I was expecting a fairly standard keybaord/mouse setup. Instead, you don't use the mouse (that's for Dr. Cockroach, if you want a second player to join in), and you will find yourself using the (Enter) key to attack, (Backspace) for your strong attacks and other keys that simply don't feel right in order to perform the most common actions. It really isn't good when you find yourself constantly glancing down at the keyboard to make sure you are about to hit the correct button. And to make matters worse, these controls have drastic differences between the different characters. While The Missing Link's are pretty much described above, while controlling Susan in her rail-platformer levels, you will use the (Left CTRL) key to crouch and the (Enter) to perform a dash attack. To make matters worse, whenever Susan goes through a quick-time event, the game will have you rapidly tapping seemingly random keys on the keyboard, and rapidly tapping the (Shift) key feels nothing like rapidly tapping the (X) button on a controller and should probably be avoided in future PC games. Overall, the controls just feels really awkward and quite frankly, if I wanted to type while I played games, I would dust off my copy of Typing of the Dead.

So take it from me, if you're interested in playing Monsters vs. Aliens, and for some reason you are dead-set on the PC version, then invest in an Xbox 360 controller for your PC as well because otherwise the game is pretty much unplayable.

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

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows Vista/XP, Pentium 4 1.8 GHz or Athlon XP 2400+ processor, 512 MB RAM (XP), 1GB RAM (Vista), 7.5 GB Hard Drive space, ATi Radeon X800 128 MB RAM or NVIDIA GeForce 6600 128 MB RAM, Keyboard, Mouse or Xbox 360 Controller

Test System:

Windows Vista Ultimate, AMD Phenom 9500 Quad-Core 2.20 GHz, 4 GB Ram, ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT Graphics Card, DirectX 9.0c

Windows The Last Remnant Sony PlayStation 3 The Godfather II

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated