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Tak: The Great Juju Challenge Review

Developer: Avalanche Software Publisher: THQ
Release Date: September 19, 2005 Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox

THQ hasn’t done much in the way of creating new franchises this generation, preferring instead to concentrate on licensed games. Indeed, other than the recently released Destroy All Humans, the only major franchise they have launched this generation is the Tak series, now entering its third installment. A joint effort between THQ and Nickelodeon, the Tak concept does certainly seem like it would make a good Nickelodeon-style show at some point in the future, but they are likely waiting until there is more name recognition before doing so. I haven’t had the privilege of playing either of the first two games in the Tak franchise, and I therefore don’t know for sure what things might have changed or been left unchanged between this game and its prequels, but The Great Juju Challenge comes across as a pretty good linear platformer in its own right.

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The graphics in the game look cartoony. They aren’t Wind Waker quality, but neither are they abysmal. There’s just enough detail and just the right style of detail to make the game look like it was based off of a cartoon, and that look, which is likely the style they were going for, works well in this game. The music in the game is okay, but forgettable and somewhat repetitive, and the sound effects are similarly average, but the voice acting and cut scenes are done very well for a cartoon-style game, so that makes up for the unexciting music.

So far as the gameplay is concerned, this game is, as I said, a linear platformer. Essentially, you try to get from point A to point B in each level as fast as possible. Yep, that’s right, you’re timed in this game, and the time actually holds a purpose. The objective of this game is to beat three other pairs of participants in the Great Juju Challenge and the easiest way to accumulate points is by time remaining at the end of the level.

Don’t assume though that this game is as straightforward as, say, Super Mario Bros. 3, because it isn’t. Indeed, there are many puzzles in this game that you’ll need to solve, and they often require switching back and forth between Tak and Lok. It is my understanding that Lok has never been playable before, so his addition is a noteworthy change to this game. The main problem with this two-person mechanic is that unless you have a second player so each of you can control a character, you will often find that the AI-controlled character won’t follow you so you’ll have to switch to him. This wouldn’t be as big of a deal if it weren’t for the time-based score. I should note though that the availability of two-player cooperative gameplay isn’t found in too many platformers, so that is a definite plus.

So basically you’re just trying to get through each level as fast as possible to get points, but there’s more to it than that. If you want to get more points, there are side-quests that can be found and completed. Attempting to complete them though will take time off the clock like anything else in the level, so there is a delicate balance in determining whether it’s worth taking the time to complete a side-quest, particularly if it is a challenging one.

What can be said in conclusion? Well, you probably won’t have much reason to replay this game after you beat it, as there is no reason to do so that I am aware of and the game lacks the addictiveness of Super Mario Bros. 3 or even Super Mario 64, but the game is fun while it lasts and seems to have a fair length to it. If you are a fan of the previous Tak games, you’ll probably enjoy this one as well, and if you are a fan of platformers, it is also worth looking into.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 6.9
Written by Martin Review Guide