Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Welcome to this very special edition of "Gamers' Most Wanted." I am your host, RoyalRanger, and today we face the case of the robbery of Stanahana's Jewelry Store. I have a photo of the criminal here, which I shall show to you now.
Notice the mischievous hat...
The evil eyes...
The hideous smile...
::RoyalRanger realizes he's pointing to a picture of himself::
Heh, heh. Well, I think we should scrap this case for today and move on to a game review instead -- Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was a game based on a hit movie of the same title. The game was created by Rare and released by LJN for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988. Even with LJN's résumé of shoddy games, they had their good games, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? just happens to be one of them.
It all takes place in the 1940's. I knew there were a lot of suspicious-looking characters in Los Angeles, but when Marvin, a well-known guy in town, was murdered, something had to be up. Roger Rabbit, a character from a place near L.A. called ToonTown (No, you can't really go there, it's just in the game!), has been accused of the murder of this man. But obviously, not all believe this accusation, for Eddie Valiant, toon detective, has decided to work to clear the good name of Roger. All the while, Judge Doom is preparing to take over the town of L.A. little-by-little.
You, playing Eddie Valiant, must now search through the streets of L.A. and ToonTown to find clues-enough to free Roger from his doom and convict Judge Doom. The game is played in two different parts -- there's the overhead parts and the side-view parts. In the side-view parts, you'll be in a building or at the front of a building. You'll have to search different parts of these buildings as you look for clues, all while avoiding some of the dangers that threaten you. Luckily, you're not without total defenselessness, for you can collect weapons and other useful objects to aid you in your quest during these side-scrolling themes.
The overhead view is used when roaming the streets to head to the different buildings. You can use no weapons here (though there's not much use for them here anyway), but you can get into Benny the cab to help you get around quicker. One of the two main obstacles that you face with the overhead view is the danger of being run over by a car, which, by the way, drive right in the middle of the road instead of to the sides (World's Dumbest Criminals anyone?). The other is the two pesky weasels, sent by Judge Doom himself, that continue to try to capture Roger Rabbit; but if Roger does get caught, you have ten seconds to s save him by giving the correct punch-line of a joke given to you, making the bandits laugh so hard that they release Roger back to you. Unfortunately, the bandits follow you wherever you go, which gets rather annoying when you see or hear them approaching about every 30 seconds.
The game is advertised as a detective strategy game, where you must go around gathering clues to figure out the crime. True, you must go around looking for stuff, but there's really nothing to figure out. All you have to do is find four pieces of Marvin's will and beat-up Judge Doom at the end. There's not much brain power needed, except to figure out what the heck each object you get is supposed to do, like the crowbar. If you can figure out just a couple major secrets, you've pretty much completed the game, with no more detective work to be done, but mainly just action/adventure work. But not that it's much of a bad thing...
The control in the game is pretty solid, albeit slow. In fact, the only time you ever move fast is when you are being chased by the weasels while you're in your cab. Any other time, Eddie walks as slow as a snail stuck in the mud -- with his hand in his pockets! The guy acts more like he's going for an afternoon stroll in the park than a dangerous mission. And at the speed he walks, it can be difficult to elude an enemy when that enemy is about to attack you. Just as annoying is having to flip through many different objects to find the one you want, which takes a while and leaves you vulnerable to getting hit.
Graphically, the game is pretty good, with the exception of the title screen, which looks like some kind of cheap opening screen off of an old arcade game. Roger looks just like Roger, baggy red pants and all. Eddie Valiant, faceless as he is, is finely done as well, though the hands in his pockets still gets to me. The backgrounds in L.A. are set in a 1940 style, like they should be, while ToonTown has some well-done, freaky backgrounds. Unfortunately, in L.A., tan and navy blue are colors that occur a little too much, colors that make the game look 1940-ish, but also make some of the areas too boring to look at. That leaves the one other graphical gripe I have, which is the use of the same tree, hill, etc. hundreds of times in one town; not even one single, solitary tree or hill is different.
The music... well, it's nothing to gloat over. Just like the graphics of the title screen, the music also reminds me of something out of an old arcade game. The music in all other parts of the game are much better. The detective/searching theme is actually very good during the side-view parts of the game. The overhead view song in L.A. is decent, but still kinda lame, though the ToonTown overhead song is pretty cool. But most of the tunes manage to fit the areas and situations rather well. There's not much in the sound effects department aside from some thuds.
The game altogether is about average in challenge. With some of the dangers lurking about, you can lose all your lives and continues easily, but you are offered with a password, so all you'd have to do is copy down the password, insert it back in at the start of the game, and you're back to normal again. Since there's not all that much you really have to figure out, it's possible to find the will in no time. The biggest challenge there is, is the final boss, Judge Doom. The judge is so tough, compared to the rest of the game, that it almost makes the challenge seem unbalanced.
But it's the fun that counts, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? doesn't lack much in here. The game can seem to progress kind of slow, so it may turn to be a bore to fast-paced action game lovers. But to those who don't mind slower-paced games like this, it offers a good deal of entertainment. Many of the objects you find are random every time you play, though that really doesn't add much to the replay value as it should.
Combined, mixed, shaken together, and stirred, the outcome of this game is a decent movie-licensed game, better than a lot of the bad movie-licensed games that were ever on the market. Sure, it's not the best movie-licensed game there ever was. Sure, the movie may have been better. Sure, the game has it's flaws. But it still has a special touch to it the gamers may like.
- Story (6/10): They didn't completely match it to the movie plot, so there are some holes in it.
- Gameplay (6/10): Still with some problems, the gameplay is nice and varied.
- Control (6/10): The control is tight, but the characters are slow.
- Graphics (6/10): The title screen needs work, some colors re-done, but altogether nice.
- Sound (5/10): Some of the music needs to be reworked, but it's still not a bad job.
- Challenge (5/10): The game can be pretty easy, especially with the passwords available.
- Replay (5/10): It's pretty fun the first time, though it may not be as fun to play after that.
- Overall (6/10): It's not a bad game at all, and one of your better movie-licensed ones.
Wow, a lot of 5's and 6's up there!
Well, I usually say something here, so...
Thank you reading the review and try to forget the picture I showed you at the start of this document.
My Score: 6/10