Developer: Heavy Iron Studios
Release Date: June 24, 2008
In the same way that movies can ruin the books on which they're based, the WALL-E video game has ruined the movie for me. As a hardcore fan of Pixar's latest hit, I eagerly took up the challenge of reviewing the PS2 game, and while it's a decent iteration of the movie, I was slightly disappointed by the way that it retold the story.
WALL-E generally follows the same events as the movie. A small trash compacter robot named WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth class) is programmed to clean up a polluted Earth until a sleek, new robot named EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) visits and he falls in love with her. When EVE discovers that the planet is habitable, she's taken away to report to the humans, and WALL-E does what he can to help her. That part works well, but in addition to playing through the action sequences of the movie, the game adds scenes that weren't in the movie, which I found to be annoying.
WALL-E is your typical child-friendly, movie-based platformer, although it follows the 3-D Zelda style, where you can only jump across gaps by getting up to a decent speed and then pressing the X button at the edge of the platform. For all but a few levels, you'll be controlling WALL-E, and in the other levels, you'll be speeding across great distances as EVE. The WALL-E levels essentially involve him getting from the beginning to the end, which basically involves collecting a certain number of items or locating keys.
Not only do the levels have a common objective, but they also have the same types of obstacles. Some include low overpasses under which WALL-E can duck by going into his box form by pressing Circle. He can also tackle enemies and destroy boxes with this move. WALL-E's directive is gathering garbage and transforming it into a cube, and he can then throw these projectiles at out-of-reach buttons and enemies. WALL-E can also throw cubes that dispense from various areas in a level. If no cubes are available in the vicinity, he can use his laser beam to zap enemies and objects. The laser is the only thing that can destroy red crates, which contain health and laser recharge packs. Health can also be restored by moving WALL-E to sunbursts that appear throughout levels of the game.
Security doors are some of the repetitive puzzles that you'll have to complete. You can unlock them by solving puzzles, such as: pressing the colored button that appears, matching a sequence of lights with the appropriate colored buttons, copying the order of colored buttons that appear, and a memory game where pairs of colors appear and you have to find all of the matching pairs before time runs out. The problem is you have to clear these puzzles multiple times in every level, and they are the exact same puzzles.
WALL-E also features situations where you'll enlist the help of the misfit robots in a variety of ways. A vacuum-cleaning robot will create junk cubes for WALL-E, while an umbrella robot will bounce WALL-E to hard-to-reach places. If you see one of these robots, you can charm them by holding down the L1 button, which plays the sound clip from the musical, "Hello, Dolly!" that is stored in WALL-E's memory. Upon completing levels, you'll unlock multiplayer racing and time attack stages, in addition to free-roaming versions of the levels through which you've just played. Unfortunately, these efforts fail to retain your interest. The game still manages to be somewhat decent, despite the endless stream of fetch quests and poor jump detection.
One thing I enjoyed in the movie was the gorgeous animations, but unfortunately, they didn't quite transfer over to the PS2 very well. The visuals are what you get on the PS2, which isn't aging well. Even the CGI cinematics, which appear to be taken from the movie and are used to tell the story, aren't quite up to snuff. As for the audio side of things, it seems that practically the whole movie cast does the voice work for the game characters, which is a very good thing. The tunes from "Hello, Dolly!" are included in appropriate sections of the game, but the rest of the soundtrack is notably absent. Instead, we have some generic stock music that sometimes ruins the mood of the story. In short, the presentation doesn't live up to the standard of the source material.
WALL-E for the PS2 is not a great adaptation of the movie. There are some wonky control issues, the graphics aren't very good on the aging console, and the gameplay is very repetitive. The audio portion makes up for some of its shortcomings, so all in all, WALL-E manages to be a decent game.
More articles about WALL-E