Over The Hedge (XBOX)
Sean W. Gibson / May 11th, 2006 No Comments
Based on the recently released movie from DreamWorks Animation, Over the Hedge is an adventure game that lets players interact with movie elements and characters as seen in the film. Gamers get to take on the roles of RJ the Raccoon, Verne the Turtle, Hammy the wild Squirrel, and Stella the Skunk. In the game, you get to make a regular neighborhood into your own playground while the environments in the game are loaded with obstacles, puzzles, and traps. Packed with numerous puzzles and mini-games, fans of the movie or kids in general will enjoy switching between 2 of the 4 main characters between levels, or play in two player co-op local mode.
The list of features as supplied by the manufacturer:
* Over 30 mission-filled levels, where gamers can switch between two characters on the fly, or select multiplayer mode to join forces with a friend. Gamers interact with all characters from the film, as well as all-new characters that live only in the game. The fast-paced adventure takes place in more than 10 new locations not featured in the film including the exterminator's lab, the sewers, and the wild Western theme park.
* Lets Players Experience The Four Woodland Creatures As They Take Over Suburbia – In an attempt to free captured friends and rob the humans of their beloved food, players master each character’s special moves and learn how to use them to work together. Special moves include: RJ’s “golf ball barrage,” Verne’s “spinning shell attack,” Hammy’s “Hammy time” which allows him to streak around and overcome opponents in the blink of an eye, and Stella’s “stink.” Players move on to gain new abilities that allow each animal to perform advanced combo attacks as well as pick up hidden tools and armor.
* Multiplayer Mode, Players Work Together To Survive The Suburban Neighborhood – When playing with a friend gamers go on multiplayer co-op quests to fill their wagon with food. They barge through closed windows, fenced-in yards and laser-guarded homes, performing the ultimate heist in order to locate and free captured friends.
* Minigames Add To The Challenges Of A Suburb Gone Wild – Gamers can unlock fast-paced mini-games like “Golf Cart Derby,” “RC (radio-controlled) Car Racing” and “Suburban Mini Golf” as players take on side challenges to win energy-filled snacks or powered-up weapons and items.
For those of you familiar with the Shrek 2 title, or other recent movies that Activision has released into adventure games, this title will be extremely familiar. The graphics are pretty sweet for both the PS2 and XBox editions, with some nice models and animations used for the four main characters. The neighborhood comes to life nicely with rich environmental design, and this title really lends itself well for the kids, since it allows for them to explore the environment and interact with all the various elements.
The sound effects are well placed and cute enough to really reach the target gamer for the game while weaving some nice humor to pull off the funny gags successfully. The "special" effects (sounds when interaction happens) is synched up nicely with the game, and overall makes for a nice audio experience.
Undoubtedly, fans of the film (kids) will gobble up this title and enjoy playing through the levels and missions. The experience of "getting to be" one of the characters will also be a big attraction of the game. All in all, the gameplay was very straightforward, and for someone like myself that played Shrek 2 (or other similar title) this game was just much too familiar. You get to play through a given "area" (level) as two of the 4 main characters (a press of the button toggles you back and forth) while trying to get past whatever obstacle is in your way. The overall storyline and experience is just capitalizing on the push from the motion picture, but at the same time, I see the appeal for parents to let their children play a nice, straightforward, and friendly game.
There's a ton of levels (35 in all) and there are 135 secondary objectives for gamers to aim for to get the full gameplay experience. It's a nice level of depth, and if you have 2 kiddies (or you and a buddy) playing together, the co-op mode is a great multiplayer touch. This game is definitely meant for the younger gaming demographic, who will definitely eat up the fun characters, great environments, and fun objectives. More mature gamers will find the gameplay too familiar, and not as entertaining as more challenging titles.
ONLINE / MULTIPLAYER
For a movie-turned-game title such as Over The Hedge, the 10 to 12 hours it'll take to play the game all the way through for a serious gamer, which represents a pretty solid longevity factor. Coupled in with the nice co-op mode and all the various puzzles and secondary objectives, it was a nice surprise that the game had so much depth to it.
The only real thing that's original here is the title and characters. This game had much too in common with other movie-turned-game titles that Activision has released in the last year, and only really offers up new characters and environments. It plays the same as the rest, but will it make much of a difference? That's for you to decide.
Over The Hedge for both PS2 and XBox is a cute title that captures the essence and fun of the Dreamworks animated film into a fun interactive experience. There shouldn't be too high expectations for such a title – it is what it is – and in that regards its a nice buy for the 9 to 13 aged gamer out there that loved the movie. More mature gamers will find themselves a little underwhelmed, but on its own it's a nice looking, nice sounding, and fairly fun title.