15 December 2013 | redrum_9
Not flawless, but a very enjoyable Disney game, a classic in my book
This is more or less an answer to one of the reviewers here who was not so enthusiastic about the game, as I am. Since he described how the game works, I'm not writing it down again.
"Control is awful, camera is painfully bad, sound is poor and game-play is all over the place, random and barely making sense" The controls are not awful, you just have to get used to it. They are not the greatest controls ever created, but for example the slide option, and the high jumps make it easier for you to navigate Flik throughout the levels. The camera is indeed bad, I don't think that's something anyone can argue on, but sadly with the transition to 3D at that time, many games of that generation had terrible camera angles and control. It just "helps" that the PS1's right analog almost never has any function in PS1 games, and with the N64, the camera can sometimes be controlled with some of the buttons, which is needless to say, anything but comfortable. Sound effects are great, so is the music, which fits the mood of each level perfectly.
"Since I haven't seen the film, I can't say if the story faithfully follows it, but from what I've been told, it seems fairly accurate." The game follows the movie very well. Some levels are exaggerating the importance it has in the movie, making full levels relying on "smaller" scenes from the movie, but during a movie-game transition this is almost unavoidable.
"The game-play is pitiful, with most levels simply being about finding the way to the end of the level" Many games, dare I say most of the games are about going from point A to point B, the question is how well the game succeeds in making the player not feel this obvious fact. I think this game does it pretty well, mainly because of the seed and berry system, on which you have to improve on each level, making logic and smaller backtracks essential to the gameplay.
"I'm not kidding, this game has some of the most confusing levels I've ever played through, which doesn't really make sense, since it's a children's game." I don't think it's anywhere near as bad as you make it sound. Levels are more or less labyrinthic indeed, which is a thing I don't like either therefore my dislike for games like Metroid, but this game is a smooth version a real video-game labyrinth, which is, to me, perfectly enjoyable.
"If you collect all the corn in a level, you get full health. So?" That aspect of the corn collecting is just a small bonus. Collecting all 50 corns on the levels serves to -traditonnally- complete the game 100%, same goes to the FLIK letters you later mention.
"Most levels are either easy enough for you not to get hurt or has a plant that spawns endless supplies of health" These plants can be planted as well, if you have reached a certain seed levels, so therefore they are on every level, and it does make the game easier, unfortunately, maybe fortunately for smaller kids.
"If you collect a special weapon, a golden berry(more about them later) and kill every enemy in the level with it(enemies re-spawn when killed by any other means), you get a bonus clip from the movie. Wow! What a treat, huh? Really something you want to fight hard for, especially if you don't have the movie itself" To my knowledge, you have to collect the berries, the letters and the corns to unlock the bonus clip. Not a huge treat indeed, but you have to keep two things in mind: . 1. Back then, the PS1 was unique in many ways, including the fact that it could play clips from movies, and that was an easy way, to exploit this feature. People were more enthusiastic about it back then, even if they didn't have an orgasm or whatever because of it.* 2. A bonus level would have been nice, yes, but many games not even does that, because they know that many gamer's goal is 100%, and that will make them happy until they start playing a next video-game.
"The real problem with these is that the variations are often used as poor excuses to create levels around. " It's not an excuse, this is how the game works. Seeds are key elements to the game. At this point some can say shooting portals in Portal is an excuse to create levels around, but that's just its aspect, it is what's is the game is built on. Portal is of course a far superior game, but Bug's Life has its own aspects, and if you don't like the way the game works, then that's fine...but it certainly doesn't feel like an excuse.
I'd like to add, that I got this game for Christmas at a very young age, and didn't like it back then because of the seed system. The only thing you can do is try it and see if it's your cup of tea. A negative point for me is that during the boss levels the game just doesn't want to let go of the seed and berry system. In THAT case I CAN tell, that the bosses seem like an excuse, but they are still highly enjoyable, as the whole game is.