Genre : Action
Developer: Heavy Iron Studios
Release Date: October 24, 2004
In Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, THQ announced that it had secured the rights to publish games based upon Pixar’s next four animated movies.
The first wave of the lot is The Incredibles, based on the upcoming movie about a family of superheroes. As the superstrong Mr. Incredible, the stretchy Mrs. Incredible, their son Dash, or the other members of the Incredible family, you’ll be called out of quiet suburban retirement to face a threat to the world.
First surprise: it’s not cel-shaded. Second surprise: it looks a lot like the movie. We got to see the PS2 version, which maintained a steady rate of 55-60 frames a second without slowing down, no matter what was going on onscreen. Clearly, Heavy Iron Studios employs practitioners of black magic.
Most of the actors have reprised their roles for the game, with the glaring exception of Craig T. Nelson as Mr. Incredible. (This includes Samuel L. Jackson, who narrates the in-game hints, and was clearly having a ridiculous amount of fun with the job. Let me tell you, man, when Sam Jackson tells you to jump, you $%#*ing jump.) There are over twenty-five hundred lines of dialogue, including ambient one-liners for each character, and some of it’s taken straight from the movie. Heavy Iron estimates that there are about eighteen minutes of film footage in The Incredibles.
In each of the game’s eighteen levels, you’ll play as one of the five Incredibles, each of whom have different powers. Thus, each level’s usually a different experience than the one before it. For instance, Mr. Incredible’s super-strong, so when you play as him, the game focuses on brawling action. He can use throws, including a vicious giant swing, to level hordes of enemies (there are twenty-five different types of enemies and four bosses, but the basic entry-level grunts all appear to be mimes), but can also shove around giant bits of machinery to solve puzzles or clear obstacles. Connecting a series of consecutive hits will grant you more Incredipower, which fuels your better moves.
Mrs. Incredible’s levels are a lot like her husband’s, although her moves and combos rely on her super-stretchy limbs. She can bend around her enemies to pummel them, or reach high areas by reaching out for labeled grapple points.
We also got to check out a level we apparently shouldn’t’ve seen yet, starring the Incredibles’ son Dash. In a sequence that was faintly reminiscent of Sonic Adventure meets Road Rash, Dash had to use his superspeed to catch the school bus. At speeds of well above a hundred miles an hour, you have to race through the suburban streets, jumping over cars, sliding under trucks, avoiding open manholes, and dodging pedestrians.
The Incredibles will launch the week before the movie comes out in theaters, on PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC and Macintosh. For Xbox users, there’ll be some special content available on Xbox Live, which you can download the moment you put the game in the drive. For all other platforms, the same content’s available as an unlockable extra.
All in all, this is looking pretty good. If the PS2 version’s a clean-looking brawler with great sound and control, then you can expect the others to be at least as good. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a game based on a film license, let alone saying it twice in one year, but The Incredibles looks like fun.
More articles about The Incredibles