Stuart Little 3
The way I see it, I have two options: I could sit back and enjoy another fantastic episode of Lost (we are still stuck in the first season here in Europe) or I could go and test Stuart Little 3: Big Photo Adventure. Do notice the mighty fine difference: test and not play because even I cannot have fun playing games like this. So, easy choice you would say hey? Nope, not at all because I feel like writing a review but even touching the games’ box is disgusting. That means that this will be an atypical review because although writing is fun, playing the game usually is just that tiny bit more interesting. Normally it is fun first, work later but I like writing and I definitely like it better than playing games like Stuart Little. So, in fact it makes a lot of sense when I first write the review and then play the game afterwards: fun first, work later remember.
In an way, it reminds me of A Dog’s Life: a dog role playing game for children made by people who think kids are dumb retards all the way. Like they are morons that will jump for joy when you wave a dirty handkerchief in front of them. Come to think of it, that RPG might just be the cause of my prejudice!
However, A Dog’s Life was based upon, you never guess, dogs and a dog is man’s best friend. I could quote that dirty-talking niggah who saw the light in Pulp Fiction but that feels cheap. That does mean I am fucked because what he said, was supposed to be the central core op this paragraph. Were was I? Oh yeah, they used dogs because our four footed friends have personality while mice are filthy, pest-spreading parasites. Before you start defending them: they don’t have a sphincter so they let it go whenever, wherever! Mankind has always detested mice while they liked dogs. Even an animal-lover like myself can see this realistically: the only good mouse, is a dead mouse. Without budging in on the sociological cause behind this phenomena: mice must make way for men so men can kill every mice there is and it would be the right thing to do! No, how can you possibly, after thousands of years, make a mouse the protagonist for a whole series of games when even those with dog-heroes failed? Well, don’t expect an answer … I haven’t play the game yet you know!
As a reviewer, games like this can keep you up at night though because after all, who do you write them for? The children who play them don’t read reviews and parents won’t bother either because convincing their kids that they are buying a product not so much for the product but for the image, the lifestyle that comes along with it is far too complex. (Perhaps, they should start making television series which explains Georges-Eugene Haussmann instead of those stupid corny moral lessons.) What about gamers then? Well, let’s face they only reason why the average gamer would consider taking a diagonal peak through this text, is because of a smouldering need for self-assurance: “Pf, what are some people doing. Get a life”. Obviously they will say that it is because they are bored but I am sure you can see the irony in that.
So I do not know if anybody cares what I say or don’t say about this game. Question remains … or better the question is: do they give the children something in return or is Stuart Little just another dirty bloodsucker?
The story isn’t original but it sure is decent and well elaborated: Stuart accidentally destroyes George’s photo album, a school-assigment. It ended up in the aquarium when Stuart’s plane crashed into the room so it is once again entirely his fault. Being a mouse of principles however, he takes responsibility for his actions and swears to make up for it by taking every photograph again.
That is where the game starts. First area is the garden in which you have to take about ten pictures. To do so, you will have to collect and find charges for your camera to work properly. It does not stop there though because you have to manipulate the environment before you can shoot the desired photo. There is a wide variety to do so but winning RC-races or mini-golf tournaments seems to be an ever returning element. Besides those you’ll have to get into different outfits and vehicles so you, being a little mouse, can open doors or hatches by shooting water, arrows or tank-rockets at it.
It is quite need to see the world through a mouse’s eye but it would be quite slow if you had to walk all the time so with a press of a button you’ll be standing on your skate or surfboard. I can imagine that kids will love these scenario’s and they sure will be completely absorbed within the atmosphere. Obviously, this game is far from revolutionary in a technical perspective but more importantly, it perfectly knows how the recreate the enchanting look and feel from the movie by blending sublime cut-scenes with in-game movies which puts the gamer in control so subtle that their fantasy, which went wild during the movie, will become reality. After all said and done, this will given the youngest of children a great time and that is all what matters.
You can’t judge a book by its cover, let that be clear because SL3 is a fantastic game which a 4-year-old can easily learn to play by itself. It sets quite a high standard in its genre as this is one of few games that focuses completely on toddlers, knows what they want and gives it to them without compromising. Sony knows what they cannot handle yet either, for starters all voices are dubbed in a lot of languages and every written piece of text is translated but there is more than that. It is very forgiving too: falling of great heights will never hurt, you can just try to climb up again. When there is something new to learn or an objective is added to the list, there will be plenty of explanation so that a child knows what to do next. What I liked best however, was that they did try to make it exciting too, an example: during the 2 round RC-race I could hardly pass one opponent in the first lap. Suddenly, in the second half of the final lap, I start to catch-up and just managed to cross the line in pole position. Of course, a slightly older gamer will see through this immediately but because of the age-group that SL3 aims at, this definitely is marvelous concept.
The third movie is of straight-to-video quality but luckily the game has nothing to do with that and it shows. Focus on the right aspects, on the right audience, put some effort into it and what do you get?
Five exciting worlds that will provide all the fun and adventure a child can possibly dream of. A perfect gift for fourteen days of Christmas holidays, a holiday they will remember and a remembrance they will cherish for ever!