Developer: Heavy Iron Studios
Release Date: June 2007
Ratatouille will be released to tie in with the next big Disney-Pixar project. It features Remy, a Parisian sewer rat who has dreams of becoming a famous French chef. The obvious problem with this is that, well, he's a rat. Hilarity, as is Pixar's wont, ensues.
THQ is publishing the video game tie-in with Ratatouille on every system under the sun, from next-generation consoles to ostensibly dead platforms like the GBA and the GameCube; only the dear departed Xbox has been spared. In any incarnation, it's a kid-friendly 3D adventure-platformer, where you control Remy and his friend Emile as they navigate their bizarre shrunken world.
In the 360 version, which is representative of most of the console and PC versions, you'll explore the world as Remy or Emile, solving puzzles, collecting charms, outwitting enemies, and playing mini-games. The big difference, though, is that the 360 and PS3 versions will be different games than all of the others, featuring a completely new set of missions. This won't be last-generation shovelware at current-generation prices.
In most versions, Remy will explore up to five worlds, facing adventures like rafting down a flooded gutter on the back of a floating book or dodging the unwitting footsteps of a French chef. There's a certain "Rescue Rangers" kind of vibe to the game, as the environments are all set within the parts of the world we don't usually see. Remy can use a cocktail umbrella to gently fall to earth from great heights, for example, and you use a spoon as an oar during the rafting levels.
The gameplay's neatly color-coded, too, which makes it very easy to play. As you approach an object you can interact with, it'll light up and be outlined in various colors. Objects Remy can pick up will be green; objects he can climb are blue; and objects he can jump onto are red. It means you'll rarely be stuck because of the dreaded "find the one thing in the environment you can actually work with" syndrome. The game is also set up to reward you for exploring, with plenty of collectibles hidden in every nook and cranny.
As you progress through Ratatouille, you'll gradually unlock a variety of multiplayer mini-games which can be played with your friends offline. THQ is being closemouthed about what those mini-games actually are, though, although I'd hesitantly guess that the rafting may be turned into a multiplayer race.
On Nintendo's consoles, Ratatouille naturally plays a little differently. On the DS, for example, the touch-screen and microphone are used to help Remy do his cooking. You'll stir and chop ingredients with the stylus, and then blow into the mic to cool it enough so you can eat it.
With 10 different versions coming out this year, it'll be difficult to avoid Ratatouille, especially if you have kids. As more details appear on which versions will have which features, we'll be providing you with them. Stay tuned.
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