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The Incredibles Review

Developer: Heavy Iron Publisher: THQ
Release Date: November 1, 2004 Also On: GCN, PS2, and Xbox

Many are the days that I sit back and ponder important questions. One of the ones that keeps coming to mind is why THQ has never attempted to make a creative game. Heavy Iron has proven to me, first through SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom and now through The Incredibles, that they are capable of making games that are well worth playing. However, licensed games, such as these, rarely get much support outside the fanbase of the particular licensed character/movie that the game is based on. Given half a chance, I think that THQ, and Heavy Iron in particular, could take what they’ve learned from making licensed platformers all these years and make something totally new that could give them a real hit.

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The Incredibles is a game by THQ that is based on the movie by the same name. Now, it would probably be a good time to mention that I have not at this point in time actually seen the movie, so I am not going to be saying much about how well the game stacks up to it. Essentially, the game is broken up into eighteen missions, the brunt of which will see you playing as Mr. Incredible.

The graphics in this game are very well done, and look very much like a cartoon world. Everything looks very detailed, and most everything is identifiable to the point where you will have no trouble telling what kind of environment you are in. There are no major glitches to speak of, no slowdown to complain about, and the graphics are neither overly bright nor overly dull. Basically, there’s nothing to complain about in the graphics department.

The same thing can be said of the sound. What music is present is pretty good and sounds very much like the music that I have heard in commercials for the movie. The sound effects are pretty good for the type of game that this is as well. Even the voice acting is convincing. Overall, I have no major complaints in this category either.

So far as gameplay is concerned, there are many different types of gameplay packed into this game. For starters, you have four playable characters: Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible/Elastgirl, Dash, and Violet. Aside from those, there are other minor things packed in, such as sequences where Mr. Incredible hoists gun turrets above his head and shoots things through the air. There are also some boss battles to be had in this game.

The main gameplay seems to revolve around Mr. Incredible, so much so that I am going to basically count the three other characters’ levels as changes of pace from his levels. With him, you are looking at a high-action platformer. Basically, you go through the level, beating up anything that moves, and occasionally solving a puzzle to progress. Since he has great strength, you will often find him throwing items and enemies long distances as part of his puzzles. The great strength is also likely the reason for the almost beat-em-up feel to much of his missions. The boss battles are more platformer in style though. This makes for a game style that doesn’t require lots of thinking, meaning more thought-free fun is to be had.

The same cannot quite be said of Mrs. Incredible. Since she has stretching abilities, enemies can be taken out from a distance with her. At the same time, she can hit switches from a distance and latch onto things to swing from them or pull herself to them, depending on the circumstances. Although her levels tend to be a little more puzzle-oriented, there’s still quite a bit of beating up bad guys to be done in the few levels that she has.

It’s different with Dash though. Can you say Sonic clone? His two levels carry one objective. Get through as fast as possible without getting hit. In his first level, you find him running down the street trying to beat the bus to school while trying to dodge cars, semis, and all sorts of other things. If he hits anything, it’s back to the beginning or to the last checkpoint. These two levels are almost obviously meant to be diversionary from the main game, and in that sense the first one in particular comes at an opportune time when a diversion is needed.

Violet, however, is all about stealth. Luckily, as her style of gameplay is vastly different from the others, she only has one level. Her major ability in her level is to make herself invisible, and she needs it to stay out of sight because she has no way to defend herself if she’s seen. There is also one level where she and Dash combine their abilities to form the Incredi-Ball.

The gameplay itself is fairly good. Checkpoints abound to keep the game’s fairly good level of difficulty from overburdening younger players. With four playable characters, and other aspects such as the turret sections and the Incredi-Ball level, the game certainly is diverse in its offerings. Overall, Heavy Iron has done a good job of crafting a game that is well worth playing even if, with eighteen missions, it does clock in somewhat on the short side.

That does not mean that there is no replay value to the game though. There are icons that can be sought after and found to unlock secrets, although those secrets are hardly anything worth getting too excited about. Luckily, you can replay single missions to find these rather than have to play the entire game over and over until you get them. Also, you can watch any cutscenes you have already seen, but, although the cutscenes are done very well, you might not want to watch them too many times. So there is some replay value, just not much.

Overall, this game is very good. Even if you are not a fan of the movie, and especially if you are, you should consider picking this game up after you get all the holiday must-haves that you are going to get.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.4
Written by Martin Review Guide