Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure
|a game by||Nai'a Digital Works|
|Editor Rating:||4.8/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||5.0/10 - 2 votes|
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I think the developer of Universal Studios must be schizophrenic. On the one hand, this game seems made for kids: cutesy graphics, very simplistic controls and a tour guide in the form of Woody Woodpecker. On the other hand, the difficulty level is a little high even for adult gamers; especially the movie trivia section, which features questions about some flicks the biggest movie buffs on our staff have never seen. It's easy to see that Kemco was hoping this would be "fun for the whole family," but I doubt it'll really succeed in appealing to any age group. Instead, it's mediocre for all--too hard for the youn-gin's, and not nearly engaging or long enough for the pre-teen-and-up crowd. It's too bad, too, because I think the whole premise is pretty cool: Travel around the (overly difficult-to-navigate) Universal Studios theme park and go on a bunch of different movie-themed rides (read: minigames). It's just that the minigames are so dull. Even some of the best ideas--like the Delorean chase on the Back to the Future ride or the dino-shooting gallery from Jurassic Park -- are far too slow and boring to keep you coming back for more. About the biggest things Universal has going for it are the authentic movie soundtracks playing during each level. In short, don't bother with this one, no matter how much you might want a new GameCube game. Universal may be worth a rental for kids, but not a purchase.
When fellow reviewer Che Chou saw me playing this game, he said, "Have fun with that turd." He was right and wrong about likening this game to excrement. On one hand, no serious gamer will want to touch this with a 10-foot plunger. It's kiddie stuff, with bare-bones gameplay that poorly rips off classics like Excitebike, Panzer Dragoon and others. But that's the point: This is kiddie stuff. Theme Park Adventure is not meant for old farts or hardcore gamers. So even though it can take less than two hours to beat, this game should be plenty fun for the very young ones in your family. It's simple, colorful and well-designed.
Surprisingly, this is not as bad as I expected. Note that I didn't say "good." Underneath its exterior as an ad for Universal's theme parks are movie-themed minigames that are unpolished and simplistic, yet strangely fun. They don't even look that good, with bland, washed-out textures that would be more at home on N64 than GC. But there's just something very satisfying about yelling, "Chomp on that, jaws!" aloud while hurling boxes at the giant shark. (Or, "Eat DeLorean, Biff!" during Bock to the Future.) It's a shame more time's spent just navigating the meandering park layout than actually playing. Plenty lame, but this would make an enjoyable rental.