Mr. Sw Crow Reply to on 12 March 2010
|We will be perfectly honest with you: Disney's The Emperor's New Groove sounds like the most tweaked-out cartoon movie to come out of the Mouse House since Fantasia's Dancing Hippo scene (or Fantasia 2000's Yo-Yoing Flamingo sequence). Here's the storyline, as we know it: An arrogant, pompous, cynical, sarcastic emperor so infuriates his citizens that somebody casts a curse on him that has him into a llama. As the llama, the Emperor is supposed to learn humility and the meaning of love (we kind of made that part up, but it is a Disney movie, so...), but instead he's just as caustic and bitter as he always is, only now he's trapped as a llama with a rotund buddy tagging along, trying to help the llama emperor get back to power.
Got all that?
Don't sweat it if all that went over your head, because the gameplay in The Emperor's New Groove is just as cookoo as the game itself. The first level alone is some outrageous trip on a surrealistic roller coaster inside something like a tea cup. Gamers will have to steer the tea cup thing on the track, leaning towards jumps and boost on the ride. Somewhere along the way the cup spins backwards, and with it goes the control -- very disorientating, but still fun.
And so it goes. The game gets even stranger later on, as the llama character can transform into other creatures like a frog and a fish. There are also standard platforming levels where gamers play as the llama, spitting on enemies and battling them with his front hooves. All of this is set to bright Disney gospel-type music, very much akin to the energetic Hercules soundtrack.
Technically, this game looks strong. The visual style is unique and outlandish, somewhat like Spyro with more strange characters, and the animation is great. In the main 3D sequences, the llama really looks like the film counterpart, with funny animations like the useless flailing of his front hooves. The environments are not nearly as detailed, with low polygon counts and simple textures, but this fits the films. Hopefully the designers will be able to open the game up a little more, as the levels we saw were very tight and blocky. Also, the roller coaster scene had a very narrow horizon -- not enough to obstruct the gameplay, but not very impressive either. Hopefully later levels have more going on, as we would hate for the game's entire engine to be wasted on swell character animation.