Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (Game Boy Advance) - Review by Andrew



Blue Sky Studios surprised everyone some years ago with the release of Ice Age indicating that yet another of the big studios was trying its hand at a full length CGI feature. At the time it was a huge gamble. With Shrek winning over the family audience the previous year and the mighty PIXAR delivering hit after hit surely Fox's entry was one player too many? That seems nonsense now of course and The Meltdown is one of around a dozen CGI features this year alone all of which have some type of computer game license and most of which will appear of the DS or GBA. The original Ice Age was, of course, released on the latter format with disastrous results. The game was a formulaic platformer, which could be completed in a matter of hours. We've already reviewed the DS version of Ice Age 2, which wasn't much better except for the rather engaging mini-games so can the humble GBA version save the day? Read on and see...


Like the DS version, the game is split into sections or worlds and each of these begins with a 'Scrat Rush'. This is a standard side scrolling platformer with the objective being to collect (and retain) as many nuts as possible and reach the safety of your own home before the timer runs out. Most of the game is given over to an overhead puzzler with the three leads seeing out the exit and bonus points given for rescuing stranded animals along the way. This is a game of cooperation and it's only by switching between your characters that you are likely to get anywhere because each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses. Manny, for example, is fine when walking over lava but is far too heavy for weaker terrain and useless on ice although he can both float and swim in water. Diago is just as bad on the ice but is a great jumper and has a very useful set of razor sharp claws. Finally, Sid has the ability to swim and melt ice (in addition to being able to skate on it) and can view the whole level allowing for some forward planning. Once you've fully embraced these individual qualities it's up to you just how you use them and a little trial and error will eventually deliver success even in the most difficult of circumstances.


Couldn't be simpler really with each character controlled with the 'd-pad', one button controlling jump whilst the other is concerned with the actions which change depending on which character you are currently playing. The only real challenge you'll have here is deciding when to change characters and exactly who should be aiding whom, although this does become obvious after you've spent some time with the game.


Visually the game is viewed from a kind of three quarter perspective, which gives you a decent playing area although it's not generally enough to find some of the smaller stranded animals. The backgrounds are best described as functional although the creature animation is very good indeed with each of the three main characters managing to convey subtle emotions. Better still are the cut-screens, which consist of flat backgrounds and minimal animation, but this approach really seems to highlight just how good some of the artwork is. The other part of the game is the basic side-scroller, which unsurprisingly also has basic backgrounds and animation and thankfully is only a small segment of the whole game.


The various music tracks are somewhat generic and don't really relate to the movie's theme at all which does appear to be a growing trend of late. One improvement is in the characters' voices, where, instead of the garbled nonsense that peppered the DS version, we have some dialogue for each character, which is at least recognisable. It's not much, but it's better than nothing.

Final comments

While this GBA version is undoubtedly better than the DS effort it's still not without its problems in the gameplay department. Most of this is down to the slow paced and incredibly generic structure of the levels and you'll swear that you've played the whole thing before with different visuals. It is saved, to some extent thanks to the references to the big screen outing that has been a runaway success at the box office despite critics' misgivings. It's a certainty that this game will do the same but you can't help feeling that even the most patient of gamers will quickly tire of what is an unfulfilling gaming experience.

Pro: Decent Animation and Cut-Scenes.
Con: Slow Paced and Can Be Difficult.
Final score: 6.1


There are no comments yet on this article.
You could be the first one!

Post a new comment

To place a comment, you need to be logged in.
Register or log in.
Boxart of Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (Game Boy Advance)
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Genre: Action
Developer: Amaze Entertainment
Publisher: Vivendi Universal