Incredibles (The) (Game Boy Advance) - Review by Andrew



It was a PIXAR title that introduced me to this new era of gaming and A Bugs Life on the GameBoy Color was the first title that demonstrated to the world that handheld gaming would no longer appear as a series of dot matrix visuals but instead make a stab at 'real' graphics. The Disney/PIXAR relationship has been ongoing for some time now with all their films making an appearance on at least one of Nintendo's handheld systems and while we're expecting next years 'Cars' to be a DS release too, for now we'll have to settle for a single GBA version. For anyone who hasn't seen the trailer (and how could you miss it) The Incredibles tells the story of a family of undercover superheroes that are trying to live a quiet, suburban life but are forced back into action in order to save the world. Now you've probably heard all this before but remember this is PIXAR and if their previous output is anything to go by we're in for a treat. Games though have been more hit and miss; most notably Monsters Inc. where the GBC version was Good but the GBA wasn?t. There's only one handheld version of The Incredibles though so what's it like?


The Incredibles gives you the opportunity to play all of the main characters featured in the movie and as expected you start out playing the head of the family Mr. Incredible. In fact you'll play most of the game as this character with the action taking place on a scrolling landscape with the odd static 'boss' encounter. The Incredibles makes no excuses for being a brawler in its most basic form and the gameplay is often simply a case of hitting some things whilst avoiding others. It is occasionally a little unfair though (even for a super hero) either because you are seriously outnumbered (and outgunned) or because there are mines exploding all around you. To make things worse the odd gun emplacement may just appear out of the ground or flying robots will take pot shots at you all depleting your health at a frantic rate. Fortunately these automated foes aren't too intelligent and by far the most irritating thing you'll encounter is the 'alarm bird', which unless you dispose of it quickly, will continue to summon wave after wave of guards.

Next up is Frozone, Mr. Incredible?s icy sidekick and his ability to freeze H2O means his appearances become a kind of speed/avoidance affair with the screen steadily scrolling by whilst henchmen attempt fire upon you draining your energy. Here you must remain on your ice track and jump when it breaks or to collect bonus items. This style of level is replicated during a joint family level but the real fun starts when you get to play as Elastigirl with her stretching abilities. This clearly has nods to the classic Bionic Commando but the ability to not only scale great heights but also disarm henchmen is something we haven't seen for some time and it is very welcome. She's also the best fighter, which does raise the question as to why she, rather than her male counterpart, isn't battling through the majority of the game? The remainder of the game is left in the hands of Violet who can become invisible for short periods and the most obviously named super hero we've encountered for some time - Dash. Saving is done via a four-digit pass code and while it's not the preferred battery back up, it really is the next best thing.


The Incredibles is one of those very user-friendly titles with every new move accompanied by an on screen dialogue box explaining what to do and how to do it. Control on the whole is not too bad but it's not without its problems and it does become very frustrating as the game progresses. This is most evident when you realize that you'll occasionally have to position yourself pixel perfect on the horizontal plane just to punch a henchman. It's even more frustrating playing as Elastigirl as she not great at hitting upwards or anything at a height for that matter so dealing with the flying robots demands a great deal of skill.


We've come to expect quite high standards from the Disney/PIXAR titles and even though Monsters Inc. was not the best gaming experience the main characters looked wonderful. It is a bit surprising then that developers Helixe, rather than utilizing the movie?s original animation files, have produced a comic book take on the adventure. Fortunately this works very well with all of the main characters wonderfully animated and displaying the type of fun loving personalities they no doubt possess in the big screen outing. The backgrounds are less inspiring as while they're initially well drawn and pleasant to look at they do suffer from repetition but given the game?s design you probably already know why. Rounding all this off are a number of screen grabs which look wonderful on the GBA's tiny screen and will no doubt delight fans of the movie.


Not bad at all although it does suffer from the age-old GBA problem of repetition due to its limited capacity. The soundtrack is filled with a small but perfectly suited selection of tunes helping even the feeblest feel like a super hero. The sound effects are not as good and once again there's little in the way of samples from the movie.

Final comments

While The Incredibles both looks and sounds good enough it suffers from a serious lack of variety. If the movie it's based on features endless running around whilst repeatedly punching henchmen there's a good chance it won't be the success Disney are hoping for. This really is the bulk of the game with only Elastigirl providing anything even close to a break from the monotony. The problems with the game?s pace become even worse when you consider that most of the boss levels are exactly the same with only the location changing. The sad thing is that all the ingredients are here to produce a movie tie-in that could be recommended to all but you get the impression that whilst the development team spent some time on the overall design, they lost their way when it came to putting the pieces together. I know I've said it before but to see how things should be done check out Disney's Lilo and Stitch.

Pro: Elastigirl
Con: Very Repetitive
Final score: 6.1


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Boxart of Incredibles (The) (Game Boy Advance)
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Genre: Action
Developer: Helixe
Publisher: THQ