One For the Kid's . . .
I recently read an article in which the author was up in arms because the ants in Disney's latest animated movie, A Bug's Life, had only four legs. According to the article, the movie is trying to warp young children's minds by misrepresenting the six-legged insects. Yeah . . . the fact that these ants are talking, inventing tools, forming girl scout troops, and hiring mercenary flea circus performers to fight off the evil grasshoppers fits right in with the everyday life of an ant. But Disney went too far when they stripped these poor, unaware insects of two legs.
In all seriousness, I saw the movie with my six year-old cousin, and I thought Disney did a great job of turning ants (creatures I normally detest) into lovable, believable fairy tale characters (with or without all their legs). But I digress - I'm not supposed to focus on the movie. We're here to talk about video games. Unfortunately, like most other movies, when A Bug's Life made the journey from the big screen to the game console, it lost most of its magic along the way.
Basically, the game is just another modern version of Mario. You take Flik (the movie's main character) through a series of 3-D levels. The only twist is that the 15 levels follow the plot of the movie. Along the way, most of the movie's main characters make cameo appearances to help Flik on his journey.
I would guess that Disney is aiming this game at the 5-8 year old age group. The levels are fairly easy to pass, and the basics of the game are easy to understand. You just collect things (grain, for instance) and kill bad guys. While there are a lot of different moves Flik can execute, each one has its own button, and you rarely need to string combos of moves together. I didn't find many secrets in the levels; it's usually quite clear what you need to do and how you can do it. The only thing a child might have difficulty with is maneuvering Flik through the 3-D universe. I find that any 3-D game takes me a little time to get used to, so I assume that kids probably have to work at it a little too. (No, just you - Ed.)
The movie's computer animated graphics were spectacular, and you earn a new clip from the film after you pass each level. The graphics when you're playing the game, however, are not as impressive. Frankly, they look a few years old. The characters do move relatively smoothly, but the camera often rotates to weird angles. Another complaint I have is the sound. Uninteresting background music, combined with a few catch phrases from Flik and friends, gets old real quick. I would have liked to see Flik say a lot more things, like Gex did in Enter the Gecko.
From my standpoint, this game just wasn't very fun to play. The levels were too easy and everything was just a bit too simple. A Bug's Life is for Disney fanatics only. There are plenty of other 3-D adventure games out there (Gex: Enter the Gecko or Medievil, for example) that are far superior in graphics, originality, complexity, and fun factor. The only reason I would recommend buying this game would be if you or someone you love (perhaps a six year old cousin?) absolutely loved the film. Otherwise, just chalk this one up to another failed movie to video game transformation. But beware for your young ones: even the ants in the video game only have 4 legs!