Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Chicken Little

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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Electronic Theatre ImageAs any parent could tell you, Disney’s latest animated adventure Chicken Little will shortly be gracing big-screens near you. Following form its arrival has been preceded by the multi-format release of a tie-in Platform title. Platformers have been around since time immemorial, and whilst the  years have seen many changes and groundbreaking innovations in the genre, these have seldom been the territory of Disney motion picture tie-ins. That said, many of the Disney titles have provided hours of enjoyment to young fans of the related films. Chicken Little is a game primarily aimed at a young audience, and the pockets of their parents. The key question about Chicken Little is how well it appeals to this younger audience, and how long it is likely to hold their attention, thus justifying their parents’ investment.             The storyline of Chicken Little is based loosely on the children’s tale of Chicken Licken, ofElectronic Theatre Image “the sky is falling” fame. Chicken Little is based some time after this infamous incident. Chicken Little himself is now considered a laughing-stock by all-and-sundry, and nothing he does or said is taken seriously. He is bullied by most of the other school kids/animals, with the exception of his three friends; Abby the mallard, Runt (a rather inappropriately named pig) and Fish Out Of Water. Most of the initial stages of the game encompass Chicken Little’s battle against this bullying. However, one night whilst thanking the stars for enabling him to become the hero of the town by winning them the annual game of baseball with their biggest rivals, h e spots and alien ship. From here Chicken Little’s life become a lot more interesting; first he has to rescue his friends from the aliens, before telling the adults of their arrival. The adults believe this is just a repeat of “the sky is falling”. However it soon becomes clear to the adults that he is telling the truth. However theElectronic Theatre Image adults completely misjudge the situation (how typically Disney), they immediately think the aliens are invading, ignoring Chicken Little’s greater knowledge of the situation. In fact the aliens have arrived only to rescue a child, the later stages of the game are taken up by Chicken Little and his finally convinced father returning the child the aliens, and then escaping from the Spaceship for the second time. Unsurprisingly it falls to Chicken Little himself to rescue his dad, thus proving himself to all his doubters.From the very opening of the game Chicken Little is charmingly animated, and reminiscent of the film’s animation itself. In fact, several of the Cut-Scenes appear to be directly taken from the movie itself.  Upon starting the title it quickly becomes clear that the game would stick loosely to the storyline, but divert enough to keep the attention of the young players. Whilst it starts off with a typical Platform Level, the player will quickly find themselves facing all sorts of different challenges as diverse as piloting alien spaceships, playing dodge-ball, and using a bottle of pop as a jetpack to make it to school on time. This initial variety is one of the best points of the game; each task is worked perfectly to challenge a young player enough without being too difficult for said players to master. In addition, the tasks are placed so that a young player is confronted by a completely Electronic Theatre Image new challenge before he becomes bored of the game. This is unfortunately not the case in the last-third of the game. It seems that towards the end of the game the developers ran out of ideas, and the Levels become formulaic and simply slightly extended repetitions of earlier Levels. A particularly poor Final Boss compounds this: the Boss is possibly the easiest part of the game, any player who had managed to play through the preceding Levels, which should be just about anybody, should have already mastered all the methods required in defeating the boss; namely how to aim Chicken Little’s Pocket Slingshot.             This aside, Chicken Little is game that seems well designed for its target audience, and I would expect it to appeal to kids who are fans of the movie. A more experienced gamer would recognize in it a very competent Platformer, but would find little to excite them. Film tie-ins have provided some of the worst games on market, and resultantly their publication is often heraled by a collective wince by serious gamers; 50Cent: Bulletproof being a recent case for suggestion. They do however have an appeal to fans of their films, and often even the Electronic Theatre Image poorest of games have a few disciples. Whilst Chicken Little does not have such a limited appeal, I cannot see it being a game that will be remembered much longer than the film, unlike 2005’s The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay. However it does have a charm often lacking from Disney titles. It would be untrue to claim that the game does anything new, but what it does do is recognize what is expected of such a game. It appeals directly to its target audience, and is exactly the sort of game a parent would like their child to be playing. It doesn’t contain any over-the-top violence, and the most dastardly weapon Chicken Little has at his disposable is his rather scampish Pocket Slingshot; which he uses to fire acorns.             The graphics seen in the release, or at least on the GameCube version, are relatively good. There doesn’t appear to be any major errors, although the Default Camera can be annoying at times. The game may also look far too cutesy to the older player. The same is true of the sound – the music is relatively good, but is sickly sweet and will annoy the older gamer. The individualElectronic Theatre Image sound effects are slightly over-the-top in a typically cartoony fashion. The Voice Acting is good, and relates to the movie production. Listening to the in-game speech can also be quite amusing, with constant references to the fact that the game is based on a movie. At one point Chicken Little complains about the amount of related merchandise available, a feeling parents of Disney fans will certainly relate to.             As a game, Chicken Little represents the correct way to produce a children-orientated film tie-in: it’s funny and fun without being too taxing. A young child will be entertained for hours with this game, truly appreciating the small jokes and subtleties, like hatching screens replacing Loading Screens. Whilst not a title for the hardcore gamer, a parent buying this will find they have made a much better purchase than other recent tie-ins such as Zathura, The Incredibles: Rise Of The Underminer and Robots. Electronic Theatre Image









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