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Happy Feet

 

 

SCORE: 72

 

Happy Feet 

 

Happy Feet on the Nintendo Gamecube, Playstation 2, Xbox, and Personal Computer is quite a fascinating game. Players get to dance, sled, and swim their way through a plethora of levels as Mumbles the penguin. This video game is based on the controversial movie of the same name. It is a rare surprise to see a family friendly title from Midway. There is a slight message against authority, and for environmentalism in the game, but much less than displayed in the movie. Penguins have to find their heart song, and sing it. Mumbles can’t sing, but can dance - so he decides his heartsong is dancing.

The graphics are an interesting bag. The dancing levels have some nice big animations of the different penguins. The flow of these animations is choppy though. The speed displayed while sledding down hill was nice, but many of the levels look just like the previous ones. In other words there were a lot of recycled images. It may not help that almost all of the game’s action is done so in the frozen tundra. The only warning in the graphics department is a few larger sea creatures that try to eat penguins. These level may scare younger players.

There is quite a bit of voice dialogue from the different penguins as they discuss different aspects of their lives. I listened closely to the songs, and they are all known songs that dancers enjoy. Only a lyric here or there would be ones I would say watch out for. I found the music to be upbeat, and energetic. When the female friend of Mumbles came to help out, I was disappointed that he talked her out of helping because he was a skilled dancer. I am still trying to figure out what that has to do with going up against the “aliens.” (Editors note: the aliens in this game are humans who are taking all the fish).

The main area of disappointment for me in Happy Feet is the length. I took it down in under two hours. This game can be found for under twenty dollars, so the decision is in your hands. More than one player can play this at the same time, and it is a generally safe game for children.

Midway kept the controls pretty simple. Dancing levels have the player pressing up, down, left, and/or right as the arrows reach the top of the screen (yes like in Dance Praise games). Sledding levels control nicely with the joystick part of the controller. I did run into some trouble with the swimming levels. Since many of them are timed, and boosts were in certain places the changing views would mean missing boosts.

I have not seen the movie Happy Feet, but had read some bothersome reviews of the movie. I must say there are a few light issues to pay attention to in the video game, but nothing as bad as I had expected. Mumbles helps out others, and even his own village. Part of that is they blame the lack of fish on his dancing. Certainly worth a rental.
- Paul

 

Graphics: 72%
Sound: 76%
Replay/Extras: 61%
Gameplay: 73%
Family Friendly Factor: 79%
System: Gamecube/PS2/PC/Xbox
Publisher: Midway
ESRB Rating: 'E' for Everyone
{Comic Mischief, Mild Lyrics}

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