A Bugs Life (N64)
Reviewing games is normally a good thing. You get to play games and then impart your wisdom with the gaming community, and it's a good feeling knowing you might have some impact on the game's sales. Well, if this review saves just one soul from the complete and utter tedium of this game, I will not feel as though I have wasted some of my precious youthful hours on this game. Yes, it is that bad. Almost certainly the worst game I have ever played (though I have yet to try Superman). A Bug's Life is of course based off the recent Pixar movie of the same name. Unfortunately, this game has none of the charm of the movie and I can't think of a single reason to recommend it. Just starting a game is a nuisance. There's too many opening screens, and to make matters worse, you must have a controller pak to save. Since Nintendo has dramatically reduced the price of EEPROM batteries for cartridges, this is inexcusable for merely saving games, and can only be chalked up to laziness on the developer's part.
Graphics 8 out of 10
The graphics are just barely adequate for gameplay, in that there are objects on the screen. But the game has trouble even doing that, because the pop-up is so bad that sometimes the only way to tell where an enemy is is to see where his shots are coming from. This is especially apparent in the level set in the rolling tin can bar, which cannot be more than a screen or two wide, yet if you get too far from the boss he disappears. When you go closer to see where he went, you get hurt. This is completely inexcusable. If you have known limits with your game engine, you work around it, you don't ignore it. Compared to the brightly colored worlds of the film, the worlds in this game are abysmal. Using a muted palette of a very small amount of colors, each level looks almost exactly like every other level. The "cutscenes" between levels-- comprised of one or two static screens with tiny text giving an excuse for your having to play the next level-- are hardly interesting enough to persuade you to finish each level.
Music and Sound 9 out of 10
The music for each level corresponds with the style of the level. if you are in the woods, you can hear crickets, if you are in the jungle, you hear bugs and leaves crunching as you walk. Overall sound is basically the best part of the game.
Game Challenge 5 out of 10
Every level is exactly the same-- you try to find the exit or required target, running from point A to point B, throwing berries at enemies. There are way too many enemies on each level, and unless you have a special power-up, they don't die. So you're left to basically toss berries repeatedly in hopes that you hit an enemy enough times so that they explode. This sort of mindless, barely-disguised violence is annoying for a game like this and certainly inappropriate to the movies themes of nonviolent solutions.
Game Play-Fun 5 out of 10
Like I said, every level is basically the same and it gets frustrating after you get to about the fourth level. If you had a lot of time on your hands it could be fun if you wanted it to.
Trying to just find your freaking way around the levels without having to press the action button constantly just to kill a few bugs in your way. This game could have been merely a mediocre platformer, if not for the fact that it's executed extraordinarily badly. Flik's character does not lend himself to games such as these-- his eyes being the only way to tell which way he's facing, you can get stuck just trying to walk in one direction. The camera angles are completely counter-productive, playing such fun tricks as waiting for an enemy to show up, then completely spinning around to look through a wall. Whole buildings will appear out of nowhere-- even on a system known for its fog, this fog is truly bad. It mainly just discolors the polygons that are in the distance, wrapping itself around things instead of masking them. This makes it very hard to know where you are supposed to go, since it looks like just about every way is an open path.
Replayability 3 out of 10
It's not that fun after a while. Even if you never beat it, I doubt it that this will go on your top 50 games of your lifetime.
Game Value 2 out of 10
What was a bad game on Playstation is now an awful game on the Nintendo 64. With uninspired levels that seem to have no basis hatsoever in the movie (Why is every member of the bug circus in a completely different part of the city??) and extremely touchy controls, I am at a loss to imagine who this game is targeted to. Almost impossible for hard-core gamers because of its flaws and indestructible enemies, kids will surely tire of it immediately. How a company can turn out games differing so widely in quality is beyond me.
Overall 4 out of 10