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Stuart Little 3: Big Photo Adventure Review

Developer: Magenta Software Publisher: SEGA
Release Date: November 14, 2005 Also On: None

In a day and age where the majority of decent games have some sort of mature theme, it’s rare to see a game for kids that isn’t about tickling hippos and hopping over goo. Stuart Little 3: Big Photo Adventure is a quality kid’s game, but it won’t appeal to anyone over the 10-year-old mark. Stuart Little, the cute adopted mouse, has accidentally ruined his big brother’s photo assignment and now it’s his job to run around The Big Apple taking new photos. To do so, he’ll use various costumes, operate several vehicles and participate in a few mini-games. The game itself is very simple. The easy controls have Stuart’s jump button mapped to X and whenever another button needs to be pressed, a prompt will tell you so. For example, speaking to another character requires Stuart to stand in a specific area and the player to press a specific button. It’s that simple.

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Taking pictures isn’t as simple and the process of taking one is where I found myself agitated with SL3. In order to take a photo, Stuart has to collect little orbs of light called “flashesâ€? that are scattered around the game’s large areas. Flashes fill up Stuart’s “Flash meterâ€? and only after what seems like a million of them are collected can Stuart take a single picture. I’d estimate that it took me five to fifteen minutes to find enough orbs to take a single picture, and then it was back to square one–you can easily see what most of the gameplay time is spent doing. SEGA might have wanted kids to explore the levels, and I understand that, but it gets really old.

The levels in Stuart Little are littered with different mini-games. You can play mini-golf, race with hovercrafts and go-karts, and more. These are a good addition to the game because they serve as an attention-grabber when collecting orbs gets too annoying. The mini-golf is especially fun, but the swing and ball physics aren’t anything I’d call realistic. To open up different areas in each level, Stuart will have to use several different costumes, each with their own utilities. For example, Stuart’s Native American costume allows him to shoot arrows. His skateboarder outfit lets him skate around and do tricks and grind rails.

Stuart Little 3 has colorful, cute visuals that kids will enjoy. They’re not super-realistic or anything; they’re very cartoonish. Some of the character models could have used some work — it looks like Snowball, the family’s cat, got hit in the face by a truck. His face looks very flat. Still, the game doesn’t look bad. The sound is a different story — I never felt that the music was appropriate for the levels, and the voice acting is off a little bit. Still, a kid won’t know the difference, and that’s what matters. For $20, there isn’t a better children’s game on the market. Though it’s tedious to this 18-year-old gamer to collect little orbs of light to take a single photo, a child could and probably would really enjoy the gameplay found here. It’s clean, harmless fun; a true anti-GTA game for parents to buy for their children.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.2
Written by Cliff Review Guide