Wii Roundup • Page 2

Secret Files: Tunguska, SEGA Bass Fishing, monkeys, fire engines and crazy golf.

George of the Jungle

  • Publisher: Ignition
  • Developer: Papaya Studios

Oh God. Why didn't I leave this until last? It's a platform game. Based on a cartoon. Based, in fact, on a cheaply animated Flash cartoon which in turn was based on a cheaply animated 1967 cartoon which was never funny. They turned it into a movie with Brendan Fraser. That's how bad it was.

How bad is the game? This bad. You can't see it, but I'm holding my arms as far apart as possible. And now I'm holding two brooms to make it even wider. This game is awful. Wretched. Foul. I'd actually forgotten that commercial games could be this irredeemably terrible. I instantly understand Ellie's escape. It wasn't truculent disobedience, but an instinctive survival response. Godspeed, you wily fox.

While the graphics are 3D, the action all takes place on a linear 2D plane. You control George and slowly lollop across the screen, jumping with all the vigour of a depressed sea urchin onto platforms that seemingly only exist because the developers realised that they couldn't get away with a game where you just walk in a straight line. There's zero inspiration or thought in the layout of the six levels - they're the most basic obstacle courses you can imagine.

There's some awkward combat against evil monkeys and other jungle appropriate enemies, but the collision detection is so haphazard and the response so sluggish that even defeating a single enemy feels like an unpleasant chore. There are also boss battles, and you can guess how much fun they are.

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Bendy straws - a surprisingly effective alternative to vines for the swinger in a hurry.

Does the game feature completely unnecessary and poorly implemented Wii controls? You betcha! Like the roll manoeuvre, exercised by sharply jerking the remote to the left or right. Unfortunately, the game constantly reads this motion as a circular rotation and instead sends George on his feeble dash attack instead. As there are sections where you need to roll under obstacles to continue, this makes for hours and hours of hilarious hand-jerking fun.

And as if this startlingly ugly, half-baked excuse for a game needed any more black marks against its name, it comes crammed with interminable, painfully unfunny and sloppily animated cut-scenes which cannot be skipped.

Go away, George of the Jungle, and die horribly in a fire.

1/10

Emergency Mayhem

  • Publisher: Codemasters
  • Developer: Codemasters

The idea of doing a Crazy Taxi-style game on the Wii, and mixing it up with some obligatory mini-games, isn't a bad one in theory. There's a certain thematic suitability there, and when you dress the whole thing up as an over-the-top emergency services spoof, there should be mileage for something fairly amusing.

Unfortunately, Emergency Mayhem squanders pretty much every drop of potential squeezed out of the concept through clumsy control and mindless repetition.

The city is going insane, goes the setup, and you hop from police car to ambulance to fire engine in order to calm things down. There's a handy mayhem meter on-screen to show you just how zany things are, and success in each challenge lowers this gauge by a small amount. You're constantly against the clock, and so must thunder around the cartoon streets from one mini-game to the next, trying to put everything right before the time ticks away.

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Hang on a minute, lads. I've got an idea...

Steering is of the exaggerated arcade style, which is no bad thing, but it is fairly hopeless for any sort of precision. You never feel fully in control while the vehicles have an annoying tendency to get stuck on the scenery. Luckily, and rather strangely, there doesn't seem to be any penalty for how much mayhem you cause while reducing the mayhem so you can plough through pedestrians and other vehicles with impunity.

Inevitably, it's the mini-games that really muff things up though. Most simply involve more driving - there are far too many "hurry from Point A to Point B filler" missions. Those that actually use the remote fare slightly better, but still offer thin amusements. Flapping your arms to put out a fire, or using a skittish pointer to defuse a bomb, are bare-bones efforts that would be buried deep in any decent mini-game production. Here, they're the main course.

There are also not nearly enough of these games, with the same ones repeating three, four even five times in just a few minutes. If they were uninspiring the first time, they become agonisingly dull by the time the clock has counted down, leaving you with a game so loud, so shrill and yet so blandly monotonous that it feels like being trapped in a phone box with ten hyperactive kids off their faces on Sunny Delight, all doing the Crazy Frog thing at the same time.

3/10

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