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Ice Age 2: The Meltdown Review

Developer: Eurocom Publisher: VU Games
Release Date: March 14, 2006 Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown was supposed to be a kids game. It was supposed to be a platformer of the same crappy mold that most licensed products are, and worse yet, be geared towards a young audience. Somehow, the veteran developers at Eurocom overcame adversity and produced a game that’s both fun and enjoyable for people of all ages, but especially for fans of the movie. It’s short, it’s simplistic, but it’s also a good time, which is why I was pleasantly surprised.

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I haven’t seen the Ice Age movies, but I know enough about them to realize Scrat isn’t the main character. Well, he is in the game, but don’t worry, your favorite characters are both included and in some instances, playable (in a limited fashion). The appearances of main characters as playable characters usually involves mini-games. Sid’s mini-game involves sliding down a slippery slope and doing acrobatic moves using the analog stick in mid-air. It’s a stretch to say there’s a “huge varietyâ€?, but they do at least divert some attention from the normal platforming.

Like I said earlier, I didn’t know what to expect with Ice Age 2. Most movie tie-ins are attempts to easily cash-in on a recognizable name. This, surprisingly, isn’t one of those. The developers at Eurocom put a good deal of effort into making Ice Age 2 a different type of platformer, while remaining loyal to the movie. They succeeded for the most part. There’s a lot less emphasis on combat in this game (some characters can’t even be killed) than in other platformers. Most of the time you’ll be searching for things or on some kind of mission for characters in the game.

The overall goal of each level in Ice Age 2 is to collect nuts. Giggle at Scrat if you must, but he likes his nuts…he is a squirrel-like creature, afterall. Most levels will require you to collect three or four “golden nutsâ€? before you can progress to a new area. Aiding characters is one way to obtain your nuts. Another is finding them yourself, hidden, partially-buried or otherwise out of reach…until you find a way to collect it. It sounds like nothing new, but it feels surprisingly fresh.

A lot of the charm comes from three areas: the characters, the graphics and the stars. The characters (especially Scrat) are cute for the most part, so that can’t hurt them in their appeal. They all have distinct personalities and quite a few cut-scenes involve satirical situations. Considering the movie is based on a children’s comedy, that’s not all that surprising. The graphics are also a plus, as the characters retain their detail from the movie and the environments look nice as well. Finally, the star appeal comes from Everybody Loves Raymond star Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo.

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown is an excellent gift for a youngster or for fans of the movie. It’s full of fun action and adventuring and has the star power of three Hollywood actors. The graphics look great, the gameplay will keep you interested and the cut-scenes can be funny for people of all ages. If you’re expecting a long adventure though, look elsewhere or just give this a rent. You might get 4-6 hours out of this, but that’s the extent of your play time.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 5
Final: 7.2
Written by Kyle Review Guide