Hankuna Matata? Bah, humbug.
The late Osamu Tezuka was known as the 'God of Manga' in Japan. His work has contributed
heavily towards the modern storytelling techniques of Japanese comics. Some of
his classic works include Blackjack
, Astro Boy (Mighty Atom)
Kimba the White Lion (Jungle Emperor)
Kimba the White Lion is the coming-of-age story about a young lion
cub in Africa. An evil lion with a scar across his eye has killed Kimba's father.
With a band of hyenas in tow, the evil lion seeks to become King. But with the
help of his buddies, a parrot and a wise old baboon, Kimba thwarts the evil
plans and saves the land.
Many, many years later, a Disney movie called The Lion King comes out.
It's a coming-of-age story about a young lion cub in Africa named Simba. His
uncle, Scar, an evil lion with a scar across his eye, has killed Simba's father.
Scar seeks the throne and has enlisted hyenas to help him. But Simba has the
aid of a hornbill bird and a wise, baboon. Oh yeah, and Sir Elton John is in
there somewhere, too.
The official word from Disney is that none of their animators have ever heard
of Tezuka or Kimba. Ignoring the similarities, The Lion King was still
a great twist on the classic Hamlet and a cool flick. Then it was followed by
the awful straight-to-video sequel, Simba's Pride.
Now there's a game that combines both movies into one bad trip into the jungle.
Simba's Mighty Adventure is a rote action game. Keyword: rote. Some
levels are 2D side-scrolling and others take a Crash
Bandicoot "behind the back" view with a horribly placed camera. To make
matters worse, the game isn't interesting or even fun at all. It's almost as
if the wacky house of Mickey Mouse nabbed the Tarzan
game engine and copy/pasted a lion into it.
On top of that, the game controls badly. You'll have better luck yelling orders
at a real lion. Simba butter-paws constantly misses crucial jumps and often
falls into one of many abysses that seem to dot the landscape. The game tries
to compensate for the loose controls by heaping on extra lives, but that's no
way to balance a game.
Another thing I don't get is the fact that a big burly lion like Simba gets
hurt by itty bitty bugs. Poisonous bugs, perhaps? Entomophobia, maybe? Can't
we just call in the warthog and the meerkat to eat the bugs?
game will take you through all the key sequences of both movies, mechanically
recreating 15 minutes of the film with each passing level. Not terribly creative.
The graphics are bright and cheery, matching the look of the movie. It isn't
the best looking 3D, but it captures the cartoon feel. And like all of these
animated movie games, there's plenty of film footage for the FMV's.
At least the in game voices are done well, matching their movie counterparts.
The music is the same jungle beat as the movie, and helps establish the atmosphere
of the game.
To give a little comparison of these Disney video games, take a gander at
The Emperor's New Groove. It isn't the
best action game by any means, but as a translation of a Disney movie, it offered
an imaginative spark separate and apart from the movie. The game didn't just
repeat the same jokes and antics, but created new laughs centered on the video
game. The idea behind that game was to offer something that the movie didn't.
If you want a Lion King game, you are much better off playing the original
Super Nintendo or Genesis versions. The stampede level alone from those games
puts this updated version to shame. Had this game offered something new like
Emperor's New Groove, perhaps Simba's Adventure would be more
likable. Instead, you get a formulaic 3D game featuring extremely bad control.
The Lion King: Simba's Adventure is just milking an old cash cow. Not
a single spark of imagination went into the creation of this game. You're better
off watching the movies again. Not only is the movie a copy of another movie,
it's now a game which copies a movie which copies another movie. Too
much copying means no innovation.