This game is great for Macaulay Culkin fans. Both of them. Everyone else may find the levels too short and the tricky controls too difficult.
Turn the Page
You play as Macaulay's movie character, lost in a world of books. You travel through three main worlds -- Horror, Adventure, and Fantasy -- that are split into a total of 68 areas. You'll meet characters from classic books, like Captain Ahab and Humpty Dumpty. Among the power-ups are Magic Shoes for extra jumping abilities and Sticky Eyeballs to throw at adversaries.
The graphics in Pagemaster aren't bad, with good detail and imaginative backgrounds. The hero looks a little undersized, but his bookish appearance suits the story.
Some small but clear voice clips and lots of explosions headline the above-average sounds. The music changes for every level, so you won't have to hear the same tune over and over again.
The real problem is the dismal control. If you try to land on an enemy while wearing the Magic Shoes, you lose sight of the enemy. When you land, you're usually behind your target. And the first stage's wall hooks are so hard to hang on to; you may hang this game on the wall before continuing.
Throw the Book at 'Em
The Pagemaster won't satisfy most palates, but it may be just the thing for young tots who aspire to be like Big Mac. Otherwise, go find something to read.
- Chase down your power- ups when hit. They act as a buffer so you don't lose a life right away.
- Once you get Invincible, run through the level. Don't waste any time!
- Check out all suspicious-looking elements. These dark patches on the wall are hooks.
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Pagemaster takes a cool idea and adds colorful graphics, but weak controls reduce this video game to barely above average.
A magical library provides young Richard Tyler with a bookworm's dream: entry into the books themselves. Through three worlds (Horror, Adventure, and Fantasy) and 74 levels, Tyler hops-n-bops his way into such diverse settings as a torture chamber, a wacky pirate ship, Jack's famous beanstalk, and more.
It sounds better than it is. Almost all of Pagemaster is redundant platform jumping against the same enemies who reappear over and over again. A few 3D forward-scrolling levels and race-against-the- dock areas spice things up, but the sheer repetition may make impatient gamers stop turning these pages.
Weak controls also detract from the enjoyment. Not only does Tyler have few skills, he can't even effectively perform what skills he does have.
Think you've jumped directly onto an enemy to nail him? Nope, Tyler somehow missed. Ready to swing that sword against pirates? Doesn't matter, they'll inexplicably outswing you. And good luck trying to jump onto those ropes on the Adventure World ships. As on the Game Boy, Richard Tyler must sit and read a lot because he's so ineffectual standing up.
- As you bounce around the books In the first Horror World level, jump up to these hooks and leap to a 1-up.
- Don't watch the meter in the upper-left comer in the forward-scrolling levels. Just concentrate on picking up items.
Enchanting graphics might keep you going. Effectively recreating the settings of famous books, each lush level is colorful and filled with appropriate details. The characters, especially Tyler, have some good animations (watch the Fantasy World wolf huff and puff).
The decent sounds are inconsistent. If Tyler sounds familiar, it's because he's modeled after Macaulay Culkin, star of the similarly titled big Christmas movie, and the few vocals do sound like Culkin. Too bad all the enemies lost their voices, though. The music tries hard to evoke the right mood for each setting, though, and usually succeeds.
- Jump on this parrot's head in the Irate Pirates level to get the sword.
- In Looking Grave, pop out the hidden shield from behind the book, and jump on it to reach an item.
- The imprecise controls don't give you much of a chance against this persistent pirate in Adventure World. It's better to jump past him or climb the rigging over him.
Streets of Page
Pagemaster isn't bad; it just isn't as fun as it could've been. Younger gamers might enjoy this game the most, because the action's simple and the levels are relatively short. But with these controls, gamers are better off in the library.