Kicking Some A(liens)

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I am always a bit leery when I’m handed a movie to game port to review. And like most movies in this genre, Monsters vs. Aliens starts our fairly promising, but in the end I found it to be just an average game.

Basically the developers start out with a pretty good concept and then beat it into the ground by repeating the same fun stuff level after level until you just get tired of it. That said, I don’t think I’m the target audience for this game by quite a few years, so where my level of annoyance with repetitiveness is far higher, I am going to note it here and not to let this flavor my entire review.

The playable monsters in the game include Ginormica (Susan Murphy), voiced in the game and the movie, no bias here, by the wonderful Reese Witherspoon. Susan was hit by a meteor on her wedding day and has grown to be 49 Feet 11 1/2 inches tall and she is also very strong.

There is also B.O.B (Benzoate Ostylezene Bicarbonate) an indestructible gelatinous mass who can pass through anything but has to ingest a box, human, or other solid object to pass over grates and other porous surfaces.

The Missing Link is also here. He is a 20,000 year old fish-ape hybrid who is the main attacking force in the game with a pretty cool charged power attack. Basically you hold down the attack button and once enough of a charge is built up, time stops and you select all the bad guys around you. When time resumes the Missing Link whips around and hits everything.

The non playable monster characters from the movie who make appearances in the game are Dr. Cockroach, Pd.D and Insectosaurus a one inch grub transformed by nuclear radiation into something even bigger then Ginormica.

The game opens when Susan, bored with captivity, decides to escape from the top secret military facility where all the monsters are being held. The facility is being commanded by General W.R. Monger (I thought that was really funny). While escaping, she ends up with a car on each foot which she uses as roller skates to zip away. Along the way she has to jump over, duck under, dodge or grind along walls to escape. When she encounters a door you button mash repeatedly until she can open it with her massive strength. Ginormica, B.O.B and the Missing link are all advised about what to do and how to do it by radios given to them by Dr. Cockroach, Pd.D.

For the most part B.O.B’s adventures involve puzzles of some variety. B.O.B. can stick to different surfaces so most of the puzzles involve Bob sticking to the ceiling or walls and ingesting boxes so he can pass over grates or guards so he can pass through security doors and spitting them back out to hit buttons or pass through grates when he wants to. He can even hide on the ceiling and grab stuff from the floor in a "death from above" maneuver. Every once in a while B.O.B also gets to sit on top of a building and shoot at stuff, and then raises a shield around himself when attacked.

The Missing Link has all fighting levels where you go around smashing and fighting bad guys and boxes and equipment. He also has a really cool special power that I mentioned earlier.

As you travel thought the different levels you collect DNA points which can be spent in the DNA lab available at the end of each mission to unlock cool stuff from the movie as well as short repeatable sections from the game. These can be pretty cool as they add an additional element in the time clock. You can also unlock advancements and upgrades within the game.

For the parents who usually sit and watch their children play, there is a little co-op mode where a second player can hop on at any point and shoot stuff anywhere on the screen with the second controller. I though this was a very cool addition by developer Beenox Studios. I don’t know if this is something completely new, but I thought it was a great addition for parents to help out, or perhaps for an even younger sibling to participate without taking away from the game.

Overall I found Monsters vs. Aliens to be an okay movie to game port with some fun game play and good unlockable content. I thought the graphics where really good, but what I am hearing is that I was playing on the system with by far the best graphics in this game, and that they where not as good on other consoles. However I can neither confirm nor deny this as I only played it on the Xbox 360, where everything looked really good.

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