Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue
Pixar and Disney sure do know how to mate computer graphics with a good script that equals mega-dollars at the box office. Can Activision, Disney Interactive, and Traveler's Tales do the same thing with a 3D action game on the Nintendo 64?
Toy Story 2 (TS2) is an action adventure game as Mario 64. The storyline of the game loosely follows the movie of the same name. You control Buzz Lightyear in a 3D environment that consists of five zones and 15 levels that range from Andy's house to the tarmac of an airport.
As Buzz Lightyear you have to find or earn Pizza Planet tokens (sound like stars in Mario 64?) and the more tokens you get, the more zones that you can access. While you play through these zones and levels you will get help of varying types from Buzz's friends Mr. Potato Head, Rex, Slinky Dog, and Hamm the piggy bank. They either give you some play help or they provide a challenge where you can earn more tokens. Each level also has a race, a puzzle, and a mini-boss to provide more ways to get these elusive Pizza Planet tokens.
Buzz pretty much has your standard moves for a game of this type (e.g. run, jump, grab n' pull up, pole climb, etc) which do take some time to master. One of the hardest things for designers to implement is the camera control for a 3D game. In TS2, I found this camera to be frustrating -- during some sequences in gameplay it worked extremely well but in others it gave me mild motion sickness. You do have the option of having a fixed camera or one that moves around, however neither was entirely successfully implemented.
One area where this game exceeds expectations is in the size of the levels -- they are huge! Not Donkey Kong 64 big, but larger than most of the platform games out there today.
Graphics & Audio
The graphics are average for a fifth generation N64 game that doesn't require the expanded memory card. If you have Mario 64 (who doesn't?) and use that as a baseline then this is slightly better in raw graphics. The audio in TS2 is okay but nothing that Randy Newman would put on his resume.
If you love the movie Toy Story 2 and haven't played too many of the 3D platform games out there on the N64 then add this title to your library. But for me, this game wasn't all it was cracked up to be.