Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge
I personally found The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton a magnificent movie, an animated pearl to cherrish. Unfortunately I think not a lot of gamers will think the same. This alone already limits the chances of success of a game that continues where the movie ended. On top of that, the successor on the white screen doesn’t look much like a big success so that this game, which already was released in Japan, will probably go down in silence.
As fan of the animation movie I was very surprised to see the makers have paid a lot of attention to transport the atmosphere and animation over to the game. You get dark and deadfun (get it?) surroundings, music and charm. Completely successful on this part and an sich this is already quite an accomplishment for a game.
The storyline is quite thin although this is really the big problem. Oogie Boogie, the big enemy of main character Jack Skellington, is being put together again by the young vermin. All the work from the movie is undone so to speak and you can start all over again. Luckily you get a multifunctional whip to help you through your adventure, you can whip your enemies with it or climb walls. The same weapon can also be upgraded and of course there are several attacks to be used, but at no time it ever comes near the coolness of the “chains-with-knife” from Kratos in God of War.
This is too bad as defeating enemies is an important part of your activities as Jack, but also platforming and finishing some kind of musically inspired minigames will take a chunk out of your gaming time budget. After a couple of hours, even less, you’ll start feeling sadness. Although the setting is very promising, the gameplay remains very simple. You need to find some items, clear some hostiles (constantly the same attack, no tactics necessary) and now and then you jump a bit or solve a simple puzzle. And when I say simple, I mean simple.
A review of an action-platformer wouldn’t be complete without a critical note on the camera. Well, here it is: the camere is very irritating at certain points! Fun are the large, and scarse, boss fights. At that moment you need to hit them at a specific spot so they let escape some musical notes. When you’ve collected enough of those, some kind of rythm game starts where you need to press the correct buttons at the right time. Quite challenging! If you succeed, Jack will do a super attack that gets your opponent down quicker.
As said the atmosphere is very good, and also the graphics follow that line. Jack is very well animated and has tons of charisma for sale, something we miss in a lot of other (though better) games. The same originality and imagination is also found back in the surroundings that technically may not always be the top of the crop but flow over with details and love for good design. Good job from the designers!
Also the voice actors have done their best. Jack was done by the actor from the movie and that makes a huge difference. On top of that he gets supported by a ton of other professional voice actors. Also the sound effects and music are strong, but here the makers do the same mistake as with the gameplay: the much the same makes something good also taste bad!
Personally I find it a pitty that I can’t conclude more positive than I’ll be doing now. The game breathes a charm and love for the movie that you won’t experience in many other games. The graphics, the music, the design, … everything is very authentic and inspired. Strange that the gameplay didn’t reach the same level. There’s little variation and depth, and a total lack of challenge that makes it impossible for Oogie’s Revenge to fill my appetite for gaming. Only for the fans!