Monsters, Inc. Scream Team
Monsters, Inc. is an international corporation specializing in scaring the bejeebers out of children the world over. Here monsters are sent all over the world to sneak into little kids' bedrooms and really turn up the scare meter. The problem is, as scary as little kids think the monsters are, the monsters are twice as frightened of the children they are supposed to be terrifying. This brings us to the "Scream Team," the elite members of the Monsters, Inc. franchise and the very top scarers in the business. Mike and Sulley are two candidates for the Scream Team. They've got the look, they've got the talent, but do they have that special something it takes to put it all together?
As either Mike or Sulley, you've been invited to Scare Island in order to train and pass the rigorous tests required to become a top scarer for Monsters, Inc. Your quest is to complete the various level challenges and scare the required amount of Nerves (robotic children used to refine scare tactics) in order to graduate with top honors from Monsters, Inc. Are you up to the challenge?
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
If you are reading this review, chances are you are the parent of a child who has recently seen the Disney/Pixar hit movie Monsters, Inc. And chances are at least one of your children has informed you that there is a PlayStation game that allows you to play as one of the characters from their most favorite movie ever. So let's get down to your question: is this something you want to purchase for your kids?
Monsters, Inc. Scream Team is played from the third person perspective. When you first boot up the game and start playing, you are given the choice to play as either Sulley, the hulking blue furry monster, or Mike, the one-eyed green whiny monster. Next, the game guides you through an informative training mode. Here you learn how to jump, double jump, attack and scare. You are also taught that the way to power up your scaring ability is to collect the various containers of primordial ooze.
The whole point of the game is to complete the 15 plus levels of Scare Island by finishing each stage with either a bronze, silver or gold certificate. In order to do so, you run around the stage collecting canisters of primordial ooze, which slowly fill up the scare meter on the left of the screen. As you collect more and more canisters, the meter has colors that are added to the overall length. Each color corresponds to the various Nerves' colors on the other level. In other words, the Nerves all have a colored shirt on (green, yellow, red, etc.). Once you have filled up the correct colors on the scare meter (like green) you can scare the Nerve wearing the green shirt.
To scare a Nerve, you must run up to it and activate the scare mode (the "O" button). This changes the play screen to a three-quarter view where you are prompted to hit the square, triangle or circle button rapidly. When this happens, your monster growls and screams at the Nerve in order to frighten it. Once you achieve the appropriate amount of scaring, you must then hit the "X" button to activate your finishing scare, which in effect shorts out the robot. Scaring the minimum amount of Nerves is required to finish each level. Some Nerves will even run from you, forcing you to chase them down in order to scare them. And some Nerves are fairly well hidden on the level, forcing you to make sure you hit all sorts of objects (crates, garbage cans, etc.) to find them.
Each monster has an attack in order to destroy the toxic toys that attempt to stop them. Some toys can be destroyed using a simple attack, while others are so tough you must use your jump attack. If a toy hits you enough times you are stopped and must start the level over. Remember, this might be a training island, but some of the dangers are real.
Finally, there are other items to find and activate in order to beat the game. Find and consume a bag o' calories in order to heal your character if he has become injured. You can also find extra try tokens, giving you an extra life, or monster tokens to ensure a silver certificate. A gold certificate can only be achieved if all eight Nerves are scared and all 10 monster tokens are found on each level.
Monsters, Inc. Scream Team is a single-player game.
I have become so used to the higher-quality graphics of the PS2 and PC that I first thought the graphics were really terrible. In reality they aren't too bad. There is no lag when multiple items are moving on the screen and both Sulley and Mike look and move really well. There are no choppy movements or muddy environments. For a PlayStation game that isn't epic, the graphics translate well and should please even the most picky nine-year-old kid.
There are even cutscenes taken directly from the movie, and while they most certainly don't look as sharp as the beautiful movie animation, SCEA did a good job translating to the PlayStation format. I'm not entirely sure why the cutscenes were put in the game, as they had no relevance and failed to move the story along, but I'm sure this game's target audience will be excited about them.
The first thing I noticed when Mike and Sulley talked was that, outside of the movie cutscenes, the actors were not Billy Crystal and John Goodman. The two people they got to provide the voices did a fairly good job of sounding like Crystal and Goodman. One pleasant surprise was that movie actors James Coburn and Steve Buscemi DID lend their voices to the game. Hey, the voice acting is the coup de grace of the game's audio and I will admit, it was done really well. I really liked the crabby Monsters, Inc. receptionist/advisor in the beginning training mode.
While the movie is the most original part of the game, the controls and play are not. This game is played exactly like most third-person adventures: jump, attack and run, with the mildly interesting yet eventually monotonous scare mode.
Like most Disney Interactive games, Monsters, Inc. Scream Team is tailored for an audience in the age range of five to 11 years. Older kids and most adults will tire of the gameplay, but young children will think the game is cool with its movie cutscenes and easy controls. This is a fine holiday purchase for the parent whose child is a Monsters, Inc. fan.