MegaMind: Ultimate Showdown PS3, 360, Wii
Video games based on film licenses often tend to fall into a not just a puddle, but a steaming vat of awfulness. There has been many a terrible attempt to shoehorn the plot into an interactive experience and justify its release to the masses just in time for the film’s release. Therefore these adaptations are usually something greeted with disdain; but we hold out for that one gem, a diamond in the rough that is polished and refined so uniquely it is truly a magical experience.
MegaMind: Ultimate Showdown is not such a gem and never shall be. To speak of this game as a reinvention of the platforming genre and a figurehead for interactive experiences would probably result in said perpetrator being tied to a post and stoned to death in an oppressive country of your choice.
It would be remiss of me not to break the game down for you into the familiar categories normally attributed to reviews. I feel for the purposes of making you want to persevere in this regard I have omitted gameplay as a topic and replaced this with a recorded game of Scrabble with Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles, followed by a section detailing my washing routine and a conclusion featuring one of those memory flashing pens from Men in Black. This unfortunately is a joke, but I assure you such endeavours would be substantially better.
Beginning the game, you find yourself greeted with an CGI introduction sequence that explains the plot in brief to you, let me break it down in layman’s. This game does not explain any of the characters to you or the backstory, instead presuming you the player already know what happened prior to you inserting the disc into your console.
Following immediately from the ending of the MegaMind film release, you MegaMind (who was the bad guy in the movie) the hero declares ‘Peace in our time’, in a scene reminiscent almost of Neville Chamberlain proportions (forgive my sarcasm). But peace cannot happen at the beginning of a game, the nemesis in this game is a character called Blue Titan or Tighten… anything that is conducive to the big bad guy wearing lycra and other stereotypical superhero/bad guy garb. Blue Tighten is causing a ruckus all over the city and it is your job to stop his antics. You set out to restore peace and prosperity to the city by collecting elements of Blue Tighten’s DNA. Why? To trace the bad guy, that’s why. Are you being sold this on this obviously epic adventure? Probably not.
Uou pretty much run around a few staid environments, shoot/shrink a few things and then collect the blu-orbs that are the game’s credits with which to upgrade your weapons. Weapons are rarely utilised fully except to solve simple puzzles often no more complicated than shrinking objects or using an electric pulse to activate a switch. Other than that none of the weapons vary in enemy-defeating prowess and abilities are quickly forgotten until required again as an unlock.
Epilepsy inducing colours are using in abundance, as is the regurgitated scenery. When you think of urban-based platform games, there’s always stages that always make an appearance: building sites, car-parks and the sewer level. I am pleased to announce this game is as contrived as they come and features all previously mentioned stages. These are filled with identikit enemies in various guises, varying from spurious amounts of construction site workers, who seem to have been cloned to ridiculous amounts. Chefs leaping towards you, launching what seems to be lethal (possibly toxic but this is another unexplained element in the game) meatballs. Yes the little meaty beasts shall layeth down the smackdown on you, lest you can avoid the buggers.
You have an array of weaponry with which to thwart the baddies, each of these are upgradeable and it’s a shame these are not used to their full potential. If the weapons were utilised and incorporated into a game attempting to use their abilities and encourage creativity in different situations, my words would be kinder. As such, this is not the case and another opportunity to redeem itself is not taken.
As with any other platform game you expect the controls to be tight and on-point, enabling the game to be enjoyable and something that measures up against its peers. Unfortunately as seems to be a common theme in this review, no matter how I try to jazz it up, you cannot polish a turd. The responsiveness of MegaMind as he jumps from ledge to ledge constantly leaves something to be desired. Unable to balance properly, the twitchy responsiveness that other platform games have managed to replicate time and time again over the years, this game fails conclusively in this regard. You wrestling with the controls in a way conducive to that of a WWE wrestler, with no faking however.
Most film video games have the added advantage of being able to use sounds and design templates from their source material, Toy Story 3 did this rather well as did Alice in Wonderland on the DS. They didn’t rely totally on the films, instead creating their own spin on the story. This game only seems to retain the same name and the characters, but not the voice actors of the film – there is no Will Ferrell. Instead we listen to regurgitated vocal quips and verbal onslaughts that neither aid nor progress the plot, with advisory points made after you had already passed the section by a few seconds. It really is a lacklustre adaptation in so many ways.
This game is something that occurs, a moment in your life you spend jumping from platform to cloned platform, fetch-quests all wrapped around a game that makes no effort to explain to you what is the point to all this trekking about. Sure you have the DNA device gathering sections in order to find Blue Tighten, but as a game experience this is just not good enough. There is no part of this game where you care about your character or care about what you are doing. You merely go through the motions and collect your trophies or achievements as you go along. There are some unlockables, such as pod-racers and two-player co-op play but this does not add to the experience except to highlight how lazy a game this really is.
It seems film to video games adaptations have a long way to go if this is any indication of the current attitude towards working with what is potentially a good IP. If only some time and effort went into creating what could be an enjoyable romp. As it turns out this reeks of disappointment.