Grabbed by the Ghoulies Xbox Review

So here it is Rare’s first game since they have been signed up for the Xbox, most gamers would have been expecting a sequel to the N64 hit Perfect Dark or a platforming adventure from the likes of Conker or maybe even Banjo. But instead we get the comically named Grabbed By The Ghoulies. In some people eyes Rare have to prove themselves again, not only to the new Xbox crowd but to there loyal fans. Why do I say this? Well remember Starfox on the Cube?, that was in development for a total of 5 years and it came out a average game. Are they still the great Rare we once knew, do Rare win back there fans with this game, well…um NO!

Gameplay

On first look the game looks impressive but after a few hours play (if you get that far) you will find that the game is very repetitive, the controls are far to simple, punch-and-kick are all controlled by the right analog stick and the game does not offer much in terms of combos or special moves. The combat looks much better for the person that is watching than it does for the person playing. There are a few different animations to each movement of the stick, but overall it is a letdown because there simply isn’t enough to keep you interested. Another bad point for the game is it length, it measures in at a measly 6-8 hours gameplay which is extremely short in anyone’s language.

Maybe the length would not be so big of a problem if the game was fun, but it is a slight letdown in this area to. As you progress through the game you will notice a pattern, to continue you must defeat all enemies in the room to open the door which will allow you to move onto the next room. In the next area you kill the enemies which results in a key appearing which will let you open the door to the next room. In others you must fight a given number of enemies to open the door to the next room, This continues through all 6-8 hours of play and will leave most games wanting more. You get the feeling that if a little bit more work and been put in it might have resulted in a better game but what we have is a very repetitive action/adventure game!

There is little to no plot in the game, the little bit of plot that you find in there is there is told via the moving pages from a book. This is a nice touch and it adds a slight novelty feel to the game. The game is as linear as it is possible for a game to be. There is only one way out of each room and you are not going to go make a mistake at get lost. I know some gamers might enjoy this type of game but to me it feels like you been walked through the game, or your been babysat. Your never going to get that feeling that you accomplished something that no one else has or your never going to see something that someone else hasn’t as everyone will have to walk through the same rooms and do the same thing to get to the end

Graphics

There is a definite cartoon hint to the graphics you would be blind not to see that. While the game does not push the polygon count (it doesn’t even come anywhere near doing that) it does manage to look clean and stylish. The environments are mostly destructible, you will find you can pick up some of the objects to throw at the enemies, acutely in some rooms you can only kill the enemies in that fashion. The graphics in each room range for average to ok looking, there is definitely nothing mind-blowing that is going to surprise you or give you that “wow” feeling but they do their job well while they certainly don’t push the power of the Xbox

Sound

The music in Grabbed by the Ghoulies can be summed up in one word! Average!! It is nothing above or below that, none of the score is memorable, the sound effects are ok but they could be improved. The characters do not speak English, They speak in what can only be described as their own language, if you played Sims you will probably know what I mean. I honestly think this game was rushed out, for what reason I do not know but every area has something good to say about it but has more than one bad thing to counteract that. I really wish more work had been done and the core gameplay reworked slightly, the game could have and in my eyes should have been pushed back and delayed and given a 2004 release date instead

Lifespan

Like I said before the game offers you around 8 of gameplay, there is a bit of “trial and error” included in this, if you mess up one of the rooms you are just sent back to start of the room you where in, then you must then try again and learn from you mistakes. If you are a fan of this type of gameplay then you should reach the end of the game in the in no time, if not then you may have to buy a new controller!

Overall

Grabbed by the Ghoulies is fun in places but you will feel let down by the repetitive dull gameplay and the fact that this gameplay only last a maximum of 8 hours is disappointing to. It has a hint of that Rare magic in it but it is hidden far to deep inside for anyone to bother finding it. It feels like a game you want to love and have on more go on, but you find yourself saying “why bother”. It is a average effort by Rare’s standards and we all know they can do better. Or can they??

6.8 out of 10

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