Whenever a cartoon is released in the cinema, it is typically only a matter of time before the inevitable port to all of the major video game consoles is also launched. Unfortunately, the vast majority of cartoons that have been ported to video games have been nothing short of unmitigated disasters and a more cynical person may be inclined to believe that the producers of such games are hoping to cash in and exploit the commercial success of the film, in order to raise the profile of the game.
Despicable Me: The Game is a PS2 games console video game of the cartoon of the same name and so the player will take control of the lovably villainous super villain of all time, Gru as he seeks to bring his diabolical and suitably madcap scheme of stealing the moon (for reasons best left unexplained) to fruition.
The game is not one that can be easily or neatly classified into a single genre of video game and so describing it as an ungainly hybrid of both adventure and puzzle solving is as close as we can get to actually describing it with some measure of accuracy.
On average, each level is not especially taxing or challenging and so will the target audience (i.e. children under ten) will no doubt struggle to finish each of them under half an hour, more experienced video game players will be able to finish them much quicker.
As alluded to earlier within the article, there are puzzle elements included within the game and these often have the effect of delaying the amount of time that it takes to complete the level. Under normal circumstances, that is a good thing as it means that the player is being actively challenged and therefore engaging with the game.
However, this is only good if the reason that the player is being “held back” so to speak was due to the puzzle posing a mental challenge rather than being a result of sloppy game design and coding which means that glitches will limit the ability of the player to actually proceed any further.
As with the film, the player will be able to make Gru ensure that he carries out various despicable acts (in keeping with his naughty and mischievous nature). However, unlike the film, where the acts carried out were amusing and would generally elicit a laugh or two from the audience, these have translated very poorly in the game.
Specifically, Gru will simply deface a masterpiece painting, painting nothing more sinister than a picture of one of his henchman. Seeing this the first few times is amusing, however, given that it seems to be the only action that Gru is capable of performing, one cannot help but feel as if the producers could have been just a little more imaginative with the acts he carries out. This is a tremendous pity because it is little details like this that can really transform the overall vibe and therefore success of a game.
The multiplayer mode is another major disappointment. First off, this mode only features and makes use of a grand total of four levels, which quickly becomes tedious and predictable very quickly indeed. Furthermore, for some inexplicable reasons the game designers have decreed in their infinite wisdom that the multiplayer mode take place solely within flying levels. This further hinders the organic feel of the game, leaving it stilted and rather lacklustre.
If you have children who were big fans of the film, then they will probably get some enjoyment from the game. For the remainder of us, the game really does live up to its name…for all the wrong reasons.