Perform drive-by shootings on your skateboard!
Ah, Saturday morning cartoons- the only good reason to ever wake up early on a weekend. From Eek the Cat, to X-Men, to good ol’ Captain Planet, there’s something for the kid inside every one of us. For those of you who don’t watch Saturday cartoons anymore, ReBoot is the first fully computer-animated series to have a successful run on the coveted Saturday morning spot.
Yeah, when I was a kid we didn’t have all that fancy computer animation. Nowadays they try to cram in any and all the computer graphics they can (when they aren’t plugging the newest toy). It’s really pathetic sometimes. As you can infer from its success, ReBoot isn’t all graphics- there is a plot and the humor you would expect from any other cartoon.
ReBoot aptly takes place in a computer world called Mainframe. Every week Guardian Bob, Dot Matrix, Enzo, and his dog Frisket are called upon to foil the evil plans of the siblings Hexadecimal and Megabyte. In this particular episode, Megabyte plans to destroy Mainframe by releasing explosive ‘tears’ in vital areas of the world. So diabolical is Megabyte that he sent a tear to destroy his very own sister. It is up to Guardian Bob and his trusty zipboard to contain the threat before Mainframe is destroyed.
You could best describe ReBoot as skateboarding with a gun. Your zipboard is very much like the hoverboards from Back to the Future 2, but with a separate saucer section for each foot. Guardian Bob rides his zipboard around the 3D environment while shooting it out with the evil viruses that plague Mainframe. Your main objective in any given level is to destroy the tears that Megabyte disperses. Eventually you destroy the tears and then search for the exit to the next level. There are a variety of weapons at your disposal, ranging from rocket launchers to flamethrowers. These are very important to pick up as most of the enemies are tough-muthas.
Graphically, ReBoot is very well done. The 3D environments are huge and very detailed. The cities of Mainframe are realistic (well, if a computer world did exist that’s how I imagine it would look) and provide an excellent place to skate. All of the viruses and villains, along with Bob, are made of polygons and are straight out of the television show. Although it would take a high-end computer to capture the true look of the series, the Playstation version is lookin’ pretty good.
Because this game is treated as an episode of ReBoot, you are treated to nice cinemas straight from TV. Actually, you receive never-before-seen footage because this is an original episode. Fortunately all of the sarcasm and dry humor typical of ReBoot is intact.
For some reason there is no music in ReBoot; but I didn’t really notice. There are a lot of sound effects and voices coming at you, so there aren’t any extended periods of annoying silence. Plus, there’s always the hum of your zipboard.
Control in ReBoot is easy to adapt to and is very intuitive. Most importantly though: it’s very forgiving. This is comes in handy because much of the time you have to perform amazing, death-defying ollies (jumps) onto tiny platforms. As mentioned earlier, you basically go around killing the tears until you pass the level. Fortunately, there’s always some interesting scenery on which to skate and explore.
Problems with ReBoot? Well let’s see… I really don’t have any major complaints about the game, but just for the sake of criticism: I guess the thing that was really annoying is how I got motion-sickness after playing for about thirty minutes. Bob performs tons of crazy jumps and has crazy fights, so you’re bound to experience nausea sooner or later. Plus, the water in the game is psychedelic, so be sure to stock up on your pain reliever of choice.
Lack of variety is another problem with ReBoot. I wish Bob knew some cool tricks on his zipboard or did something to break up the tedium. Instead, much of the game is plain old fighting and exploring. A solution for this could have been sticking to the plot of the show. In the show, “games” come down periodically and interrupt the lives of everyone in mainframe. They then have to get through the “game” in order to survive (ie Win the race, beat the dragon, uncover all the mines, etc). Instead, the game can get tedious to some players due to its repetitive nature.
ReBoot is also on the more difficult side, so young gamers will probably have a tough time with the game. Once again, a game targeted for children ends up most suitable for adults (refer to Klonoa: Door to Phantomile).
ReBoot definitely exceeded my expectations. It’s not exactly the most popular cartoon out there, so I wasn’t expecting much of a game. Even if you aren’t a fan of the series or have never seen it, ReBoot‘s worth a try. I imagine that only fans of the show will get the full thrill, but it’s a worthy game on its own. Hey, all those pajama-wearing viewers can’t be wrong!