Tom and Jerry Tales (Game Boy Advance) - Review by Andrew
It would be difficult to think of a better known, not to mention longer established duo in the world of animation than Tom and Jerry. It was something that almost all of us watched as children. The cartoons themselves started out in the 1940's and were produced by MGM (under the watchful eye of Bill Hanna and Joseph Barbera) to play along side their movies. They ran for an impressive 17 years and then a host of other studios and animators, including Chuck Jones, took their turn in bringing these much loved characters back to our screens. This new GBA and DS outing marks a new direction for the cat and mouse duo but, as with everything else from your childhood, is it as good as you remember it?
If you've ever seen a Tom and Jerry cartoon, and who hasn't, you'll know the plot. Let's just say that when everyone has left the house, Tom and Jerry do what they do best: create mischief, mayhem and general destruction leaving Tom to take the blame. To be fair though, he generally does start it. The game takes you on a trip around the house via a series of mini-games. Most of them involve avoiding items being thrown or simply falling on you, and then throw them back at Tom so depleting his energy. This is one of the main problems with the game. Yes, there are plenty of mini-games but the only thing that separates them are the visuals and unfortunately none of them are particularly challenging. You can't even revisit them although why you'd want to is anyone's guess. Linking these mini-games together are the Jerry platforming sections, which tend to link the rooms as they take place in the wall cavities. They challenge you to collect a given amount of cheese in order to open the exit door. This starts out simple but quickly becomes a lot more challenging. This is not because the cheese becomes more difficult to locate but rather the 'leaps of faith' become more frequent leading to levels of frustration that simply shouldn't exist in a game of this nature.
Actually one of the better aspects of the game with each section preceded by static screens with instructions of how to play and which buttons to press. More importantly the collision detection is tested constantly with your character able to inch up to the edge of platforms without mysteriously falling off through no fault of yours. Still, this has little effect when you encounter one of the many blind jumps, which seem to pop up just when you are on your final life.
Not bad but definitely more from the Chuck Jones era than the richly detailed Hanna Barbera originals. The problems here arise when anything moves as characters occasionally have so few frames of animation that this looks more like a shockwave game than anything approaching a handheld title. On the plus side the menu systems and interface are nice and it's pleasant to see developers attempting something different.
Like the visuals the soundtrack is best described as average and, while it does replicate the kind of manic orchestrations heard in the original cartoons, it repeats far too much. The sound effects have a similar problem and because there are so few it means that you'll hear them almost on a loop changing what could have been comical into something annoying instead.
You'd imagine that a collection of mini-games linked with platforming collect 'em ups would be fun wouldn't you? Well, it certainly should be but unfortunately it's not really and much of this is down to the lack of a battery save, which would at least let you revisit the mini-games at a later date. The other problem is that they're not that interesting (or challenging) in the first place making this game suited mainly to the very young or maybe first time gamer. It's not as if the developers have even hit on an original concept. Gamers should expect more for their money but if you are really tempted this is a definite try before you buy.
Pro: Good for Younger Gamers.
Con: Password Save and Poor Navigation.
Final score: 5.5
|Platform:||Game Boy Advance|