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Game Profile
Heavy Iron Studios
GENRE: Action
October 31, 2004
The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer

The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer

The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer

The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer

The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer

More in this Series
 Written by Glenn Wigmore  on January 26, 2005

Review: The back of the box describes the four main characters? ?Super Strength, Super Speed, Super Force, Super Stretch.? Honestly, while not completely forgettable, this game is ?Super Mediocre.?

Developed by Heavy Iron Studios, The Incredibles solidly adapts the feel of the 2004 animated movie of the same name into the gaming realm. While that may sound like a positive start, this fact does only manage to loosely hold the game together. Essentially, the game plays like a 3D-platformer/beat'em up/action game -- although, platforming is meant quite literally, as the levels are fairly linear in their nature. The primary focus of the game is to punch, punch, and punch again, with a little switch pulling, throwing, and collecting added in.

The game, like the movie, features the family of Incredibles (Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible/Elastigirl, Dash, the son, and Violet, the daughter) facing off against the evil Syndrome. Their adventures will take them throughout cityscapes in Metroville, steamy overgrowth in jungles, and the dark depths of Syndrome's lair.

Much of the events of the movie are played out through cutscenes and sequences throughout the game, and, for the most part, they work quite well. The voice acting in these cutscenes, and in most of the game itself, is spot on to the movie and really adds a lot to the presentation. In fact, the colours, character models, locales, and special effects all actually contribute to the overall package of the game and this is definitely its strongest area. There may not be a striking level of detail on all the enemies or in every location, but everything does have a very vibrant and colourful look, which really keeps the game easy on the eyes and interesting to look at. In a lot of ways, the early sequences on the rooftops and buildings of Metroville actually call to mind the recent Spider-Man 2 game, in which Peter Parker could move around on the rooftops and swing from buildings; while you can't swing around a lot in the Incredibles, one level does have you flying around (or being carried around?) on rocket skates and is very reminiscent of sequences in Spider Man 2. The graphical look of the first levels actually resembles Spider-Man 2 quite a bit as well.

When you get to the actual meat of the game, however, The Incredibles takes a few stumbling steps back down to the land of mediocrity. As said above, most of your time will be spent punching and throwing around adversaries. Mr. Incredible, who you will primarily play as, can simply punch enemies or he can give them an ?Incredi-Punch,? which sends enemies flying across the screen and usually finishes them off. A jumping ground-pound move can also level the swarms of oncoming foes, and you can pick up people or objects and throw them at other people or objects. Most of the family plays the same, but Elastigirl has stretching punches and throws, and Violet can use some stealth manoeuvres. The sequences with Dash have you running through areas at high speed while trying to avoid objects and barriers; these levels, while sparse, are actually quite well done and add a nice change of pace to the gameplay. However, as much of your time is spent as the paternal unit of the group, the game must be mainly judged on those merits. To be fair, the main bulk of the action is playable and does keep you interested, but with the limited move scheme and level design, it does turn into a ?rinse and repeat? affair. Truly, the game should've focused a bit more on the other characters, chiefly Dash, and been a bit more varied altogether.

The game plays out over 18 levels and will give you an 8 to12-hour game, but this depends on how fast you play it and how challenging you find certain sequences. At first glance, it's kind of odd that the game has a Teen rating, as it seems tailor-made for kids, but upon playing, it's difficulty may actually be quite truthful to the rating; this isn't to say the game is insanely hard, but it would present a reasonable challenge to those who might've enjoyed the movie the most ? young kids. When actually playing the game, this difficulty manifests itself in different ways. Many of your actions are prompted by on-screen commands, cursors and indicators, but then in some sequences, nothing is said about a way you can control your character to get past a minor obstacle or challenge. This isn't a major flaw to the game, but the pacing and difficulty is a bit erratic and it's odd that the game didn't pick one level of challenge for the end user.

The camera isn't too bad for a 3D action game, but it can have its issues. Often times, you'll have to manually move your camera while swinging on a vine (or rope, or cable) in order to judge how far you are from the other side, but even then it might not help. You also get nailed from off-screen enemies, but, thankfully, this isn't completely rampant throughout the game.

As for bells and whistles, you'll find the game supports 480p and In-game Dolby Digital and this can really help the title's already solid presentation. While there is no multiplayer or competitive Xbox Live support, there is downloadable content for the future. All there is right now is a Battle Arena -- which can be unlocked during the campaign ? where you square off against an increasing number of baddies from throughout the game; this is actually quite a bit of fun and held my attention for a while. As for future content, I honestly wouldn't hold my breath, though. Other unlockables include still pictures from the movie, concept art for the game, and game-altering codes.

I also have to use The Incredibles as an example of one of my pet peeves ? don't charge more than the game is worth; you've got to know your audience. The fact that this game costs $39.99 USD isn't an absolute crime, but it really should've been $29.99. I can see not value pricing it completely, as it is a movie-licensed property, but don't gouge people when the game can't fully back it up; it seems some publishers know this and some choose to ignore it.

You will easily find better platformers, action games, beat'em ups and movie-licensed games out there, but The Incredibles makes a reasonable effort at presenting the look and sound of the movie and can provide a bit of fun here or there. It may only be rental or trial for most people, but at least it doesn't desecrate the movie or completely insult those who play it.

Bottom Line
Ultimately, The Incredibles is a title that doesn't try to do anything new and different in the action/platformer realm, but it does manage to capture some of the spirit and whimsy of the movie it is based on. You won't find much extended value in this game, to be sure, however it does provide a forgivable, if not passable, experience when you are playing.

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