Saturday, February 28, 2004

Rugrats: Scavenger Hunt (Nintendo 64)




Rating: 2 out of 5
Pros: Simple game, easy for small children to understand, and not violent
Cons: Awful graphics, little replay value, boring design

Introduction

Rugrats Scavenger Hunt is not one of those games you sit down by yourself to keep you entertained when you are bored. In fact, you would probably never bother with the game, unless you have small children. It is based on the popular Rugrats cartoon, and thus contains characters children can relate to. Each game can have up to four players: Chucky, Tommy, Lil and Phil.

Rugrats Scavenger Hunt contains three games on one cart. They are really nothing more than board games - they even have a spinner to tell you how many spaces to move. You can choose from small, medium, or large sized game board, and you can also toggle hidden squares on or off. Hidden squares cover the square up so you do not know what it is you land on until you have already landed on it.

Control & Gameplay

The three games you can choose from are Angelica's Temple, Pirate Treasure Hunt, or Reptar Ralley. Each game contains a couple other characters, controlled by the computer, that may help or hurt your character. These characters include Grandpa, Suzie, and Angelica.

All right, so you spin the spinner, and move however many spaces the spinner says. Once you land, you follow the instructions on the square. You may end up receiving some cookies, taking a nap, or any number of things. Ideally, you want to land on spaces that allow you to search the room. When you land on these spaces, you get to pick one object from around the room and search it. They are placed obviously enough that even a toddler can tell which objects can or can not be searched. Searchable objects mostly include things such as paintings, plants, etc.

In Angelica's Temple, the objective is to find all of the pieces to the baby's statue before Angelica finds all the pieces to hers. You may also find it helpful to collect as many cookies as you can find. They can be exchanged for toy cards, or they can be used to let you rest. If Angelica runs into you though, she can take some of your cookies away. She can also steal a piece of your statue, or take one of her own statue pieces in the event that you found one of hers along the way. All four of the babies work together on this board.

Pirate Treasure Hunt is the second game. You and the other babies compete to see who can find all four pieces of pirate treasure first. Angelica is not in this one, but Suzy is. If you and Suzy bump into each other, she can help you find pieces of treasure.

In each of these first two games, there are a few objects that may help you win. The first of which is a screwdriver, which can help you enter the secret passageways. You can use these passageways to help you get into different rooms quicker. The second helpful object is the compass, which lets your character move backwards. The last item is the magnifying glass, which lets you search twice when you land on a search square instead of once. Also, bumping into Grandpa will be rewarded with four cookies, and landing on the dog will allow you to ride him for up to six spaces.

The third and final game is Reptar Ralley. The objective in this game is to collect three different kinds of candy. (There are four total, but each baby must collect only three - Licorice, Ice Cream, Chocolate Milk, or Pudding). You must collect Reptar Bars instead of cookies in this one, in order to go to where the candy is and collect the required amount.

Graphics, Sound & Video

The graphics in Rugrats Scavenger Hunt are just awful. Polygon counts that seem as though they number in the single digits, and disinteresting graphics all around make for a pretty low score here. Level design is bland, characters are blocky, what were the developers thinking? I've seen Super Nintendo games with a lot better graphics than this.

The video clips, or what there are of them, are a bit better than the graphics, but not by a whole lot. At the very least, the low polygon counts were a bit less pronounced, and the disinteresting graphics were replaced by an attempt to make the video look like a small segment of the television show.

The game is practically void of any music. What little bit of music there is, is so plain that you won't notice it being there anyway, so it really don't count for anything. The sound effects are at least mentionable, if only average. The best thing that can be said about the sound, is that the voice acting seems to have been done by the same actors who did the voices for the cartoon. If not, then they sure did one bang up job of finding voice doubles, because the characters sound exactly the same as the television show.

Conclusion

This game is rather bland in comparison to most other games on the market, but it is also one of the few I have seen that caters to the younger audience. While the game gets very low marks from me personally, I am sure it would be an excellent game for toddlers and younger children. If you have kids who are between two and ten, they may enjoy this game. If your kids are slightly older, I would pass on this and purchase Mario Party instead.

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