Disney's Chicken Little Ace in Action - PS2 Review
In April 2005 Disney released their latest animated feature movie, Chicken Little. It was a moderate success with a worldwide gross of $US314 million (which compares to $461 million for Pixar's Cars), just over double the production cost. Thanks to Disney Interactive Studios we now have a new game Chicken Little: Ace In Action which isn't really a movie tie-in but more of a spin-off.
|Ace, just posing for the camera.|
Chicken Little: Ace in Action takes inspiration from the "superhero movie within the movie" finale of the movie. In the game Chicken Little receives a copy of the latest video game starring his superhero alter ego and invites his friends to come over and play the game with him, in effect creating a video game within a video game. The game features Ace, the superhero alter ego of Chicken Little, and the Hollywood versions of his misfit band of friends: Runt, Abby and Fish-Out-of-Water. The crew of the intergalactic Battle Barn faces off against Foxy Loxy and her evil Amazonian sidekick, Goosey Loosey, who have an evil plan to take over Earth.
The game is split up into 23 missions over four worlds - Pluto, Saturn, Mars and the Moon. Ace in Action actually takes three main gameplay forms. As Ace you are a foot soldier with gameplay taking the form of on foot action from a third person perspective (much like Ratchet & Clank). In fact it's very clear that the developers at Avalanche Software have taken more then a good look at Insomniac's series. Ace is equipped with a blaster as well as some very handy hand grenades. The levels are littered with explosive boxes, enemies, platforming sections and some solid boss type encounters. As you destroy boxes you earn credits which can then go towards a series of upgrades (see I told you it was inspired by Insomniac's title!).
|Graphics are cartoony.|
The second style of gameplay sees you in the role of Runt, the driver of an armored tank. This tank section is quite impressive. The controls are responsive and the levels pretty entertaining with some great enemies to take care of. The third and final gameplay sees you taking control of Abby, the pilot of a spaceship. To me the spaceship levels were the least exciting. They're not bad, but just lack that something special when compared to similar games (read: Star Wars based space combat titles).
The developers have also put in a couple of multi-player modes, primarily in the tank and spaceship levels. They're a good distraction from the main game and is well worth a couple of hours play. Finally, Ace in Action also includes a tonne of unlockable content including artwork, music and movies.
|Remind you of any movies?|
Given that this game is actually a port of the Nintendo Wii version. That game uses the motion sensing controls of that system to good effect, but PS2 owners need not worry as we found the PS2 Dual Shock controller quite capable in the game. If you do have a Nintendo Wii, and want another title to use with the controller it may be worth checking out that version ahead of this PS2 one.
I must say that I was pretty impressed with this game overall. Being a movie tie-in you never expect much, but this game kept me entertained. There are plenty of amusing moments and the gameplay is surprisingly solid with some frantic action in many of the levels. Technically it's not up there with Ratchet & Clank, but there are certainly a lot worse attempts at copying the formula.
Graphically I was fairly impressed overall. With a fantastic cartoon approach the title certainly suits the license perfectly. Texturing is a little bland in places however the frame rate, animation on characters and visual effects including explosions and smoke are solid enough. Cut-scenes are pretty entertaining with some amusing set pieces put in place. While there is no Widescreen mode the game does include a 60Hz mode to keep the action flowing nice and fast while the entire game has a pretty solid frame rate as well.
|Tank sections are pretty fun.|
Audio in Ace in Action is highlighted by the return of the original movies voice actors. Zach Braff (Chicken Little), Steve Zahn (Runt) and Joan Cusack (Abby) don't have as many lines as I would have hoped but what they do have they work with pretty well and it adds a sense of authenticity to the title. Besides those three characters Adam West (yes, the original Batman from the 1960's TV series) provides the voice of Ace with plenty of amusing lines. I was a little disappointed that the game only includes Stereo sound, and nothing more.
While Disney's Chicken Little: Ace in Action isn't the greatest game on the PS2 it certainly isn't one of the worst either. In fact I would go so far as to say that this Ratchet & Clank inspired game will keep youngsters entertained for quite some time, but perhaps even some adults as well. I was impressed that the developers didn't make this a direct movie tie-in, I just couldn't see enough 'key' moments in the movie to turn into a 10+ hour game. With a release date set for late April, and a launch price of only $AU49.95 this is a game worth having a look at upon release. Quite entertaining.
|Frikin laser beams!|
Review By: Dave Warner
Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
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|GRAPHICS||Cartoon styled graphics that suit the license perfectly. Animation, character modelling and effects are pretty solid.||72%|
|SOUND||A wonderful voice cast is the higlight with solid music and effects backing up the action.||78%|
|GAMEPLAY||A bit simplistic in places however this is still a fun title to play through - and perfect for the younger audience.||70%|
|VALUE||At $AU49.95 this is worth a purchase to keep youngsters happy.||74%|
|OVERALL||Chicken Little: Ace in Action is a very solid title which fans of the comic book - and indeed upcoming movie - would do well to check out. Very solid.||72%|