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The Sky Is Falling!


Disney?s Chicken Little is a passable title much like the movie of the same name. There really isn?t anything done that is new or different in this game from a platformer standpoint. This is not to say that CL is a bad game, it?s just very average in most of the categories. The original tale is about the main character claiming that the sky is falling, when it is later found out that he was mistaken. In the video game and movie version, the sky really is falling. Well, that?s only partly true as the object that falls from the sky turns out to be of alien origin. The aliens are a hostile species and look suspiciously like the extra terrestrial race in Steven Spielberg?s spectacular summer blockbuster, War of the Worlds. As Chicken Little you will have to save your friends and the day, from the evil aliens while you are armed with only a few weapons and a heck of a lot of acorns.

As stated earlier, Chicken Little doesn?t do anything particularly well. For everything the game does right, it seems do another thing rather badly. For instance, to gain health you have to find acorns. To get the acorns you either have to find them lying around, destroy a breakable object, or beat an evil Chicken Little robot. The first two options are easy enough, but the last choice can be a bit on the cheap side at times. When you beat a robot they break apart and leave behind an acorn or two. But since they usually break apart in the air, the acorns often appear too high and out of reach, leaving poor Chicken Little with no means of reaching the much needed health.

Another example of the one step forward, one step back issue is that the game gives you help on what buttons to press throughout the entire adventure, but the controls can be sluggish and unresponsive at times. This is most evident during the jumping sections of the game. It won?t frustrate you as much as it could because you have an infinite amount of continues, and you hardly ever have to restart from the beginning of a level.

The game does a nice job of making the missions fit into the story for the most part. The problem is that the tasks usually fall into either the searching/finding or minigame categories. This still wouldn?t be so bad if the camera angles weren?t so awful in the minigames. In one of the spaceship games the camera remains still while your ship moves around. The snag is that your ship often gets in the way of the aiming reticule, and since the camera is always in a fixed position, there really isn?t anything you can do about the problem. In one of the searching chores you find yourself in a driving mission. Again, the camera can cause more problems than it?s worth at times. Since the controls are very sluggish in this part you will have to reverse a lot, but when you do back up, the camera swings around on a delay which makes it change angles often times right when you?ve finished using reverse, so when you try to drive forward in a direction you usually end up making a turn you didn?t want to make because of the aforesaid camera delay. Another issue is an early level in which you have to run towards the camera. This has never been a good idea for video games and it baffles me as to why developers still use this gimmick. It is extremely frustrating to not be able to see what?s in front of your character. Both categories suffer from multiple issues such as these.

The graphics are pretty average as well. The in-game cut scenes are just okay, while the game switches to some very bland and uninspired screens during the baseball minigame segments. It?s almost like developer Avalanche Software either couldn?t make a real minigame for a baseball situation or just didn?t want to go the extra mile in creating one. So gamers get stuck with a deceptively difficult button rhythm game instead of a batting interface. The segments from the Chicken Little movie look very good and have funny moments. The in-game graphics look nice enough although a lot of the areas feel very confined. Another positive carried over from the movie is that the acting talent is at a pretty high level because the actors from the movie signed on to do the characters in the game also. Staying in the audio department, the music in CL is nothing to write home about as it is quite repetitive in addition to feeling a bit generic.

It may seem like I?m beating on Chicken Little, but that?s only because I can see that there is a lot more potential for this game than what publisher Buena Vista Games has put on store shelves. The game on the whole is pretty easy for kids (excluding the baseball portion). The game has a healthy amount of save and check points, which is another nice element for children. The minigames add some replay value to the title, but they are only multiplayer games, which was a huge mistake on the part of Avalanche Software. All they had to do was give the player the choice to play the minigames in 1 or 2 player. It?s not like implementing that kind of thing would have set back development for months. This is yet another case of the game not living up to its full potential. Chicken Little makes up for it somewhat though by letting you decide if you want to save the multiplayer games you buy. So fans of the movie and game can try out each minigame and decide which one they actually want to permanently purchase.

If you?re looking for a fun children?s title, Chicken Little can certainly fill the need, but know that there are better titles on the market. As far as movie-based games go Chicken Little really isn?t that bad of a choice. It does some sections well, but it could do others a lot better. All-in-all the game will be fun for its targeted audience (kids) for a while, but the problematic controls and tedious missions will eventually lead younger gamers to other, more enjoyable titles.

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