DS Roundup • Page 5

Top trumps, crosswords, dragons, etc.

Dragon Hunters

This game is based on the apparently-popular animated series of the same name. It follows the adventures of a big fat man called Lian-Chu, a small thin man called Gwizdo and an annoying blue pig-rabbit-dog thing called Hector. The cartoon show looks all right, and the theme tune by The Cure is quite good. The game, however, is rubbish.

It's a side-scrolling platformer that lets you play as all three characters, who each have different abilities. Gwizdo can double-jump to reach higher ledges, Lian-Chu can punch and lob projectiles at enemies and Hector can curl himself into a ball and roll into small spaces. The problem is that's all they can do.

To get through levels you have to switch between characters using the touch-screen while the action plays out on the top screen. This is highly tedious. You have to switch from the running man to the fighting man every time you see an enemy, then back to the running man so you can jump to the next bit of the level, then back to the fighting man and so on.

It doesn't help that the touch-screen icons can be irritatingly unresponsive. By the time you've jabbed a thumb at Lian-Chu's face three times the enemy will have taken several bites out of Gwizdo, who is utterly defenceless. You're left wondering why you can't just play as a character who can double-jump and punch things and crawl, as in almost every other game in history.


Oh good. A lava level.

The whole thing smacks of spectacular laziness. There are only a handful of "realms" (environments), each with just a couple of "portals" (levels). They're desperately sparse and the "puzzles" are stupidly easy. You have to play through each level repeatedly as you complete five different missions - race against the clock, race through a load of checkpoints, hit things, collect things, collect some other things. You might get to explore a new area of the same level now and then but essentially you're trudging through the same landscape again and again. And again. And again. And again.

The boss battles are so boring I've forgotten what happens in them in the time it took to write the preceding paragraphs. There are two mini-games. One involves collecting things and the other involves hitting things. You can play against a friend, but only if you both have a copy of the game. Thanks for that.

Even if you know a small child who loves the Dragon Hunters TV show, do not buy them this game. It's devoid of charm, imagination and variety. Buy them something more entertaining instead, like a yoghurt. Or just sit them down and tell them about the good old days of cartoons, when the tales of Homer and Dumas were told through the mediums of space and dogs, and for those golden moments the children of Britain were able to forget they lived under perpetual threat of nuclear holocaust. Ah, ah. Ah ah ahh.


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