Animaniacs: The Great Edgar Hunt

Review

posted 11/4/2005 by Sean Colleli
other articles by Sean Colleli
One Page Platforms: GC
You may recall that earlier this year I reviewed Animaniacs: Lights, Camera, Action, a craptacular DS game from Ignition and Warthog. That title had little to no redeeming value (although its box makes a nice coaster), so I expected the GameCube Animaniacs outing to be comparable to eating shards of hot glass. After all, Edgar Hunt is from the exact same developers, how could it possibly be good? Well, back up that semi full of humble pie, because I was caught completely off guard by this game. Warthog managed to do the Animaniacs franchise right this time.

I’ll start by saying that there’s nothing spectacular about this game. It is the kind of adventure-platformer we’ve lived with since Mario made his 3D debut back in 1996. It is simply so refreshing to see such a competent use of the medium, and all with respect paid to the subject material. Warthog actually enlisted the voice talent from the show, and the writing isn’t half bad either. Each of the three title characters, Yakko, Wakko and Dot, are fully playable and retain their sardonic wit. I found myself laughing on a number of occasions, recalling the show from my sixth grade days. Now, if they’d only make a Freakazoid game...moving on.

The vocal aspect is well rounded and includes most of the original cast, but the writing is a mixed bag. A good number of the jokes and gags are humorous enough, but some of them fall flat. There was a nice in-joke about Luigi’s Mansion in the haunted house, but times I had a frozen smile on my face as I tried to choke down a particularly lame punch line.

The goofy, stock cartoon sound effects make up for the small shortcomings of the dialogue. You’ve heard the same bonks, beeps and ka-boings ever since you watched Bugs Bunny, but an Animaniacs game would be hollow without the classic, beloved sounds. The music, on the other hand, is a train wreck, and not the good cartoony kind. Warthog could apparently afford to hire the cast, but the music license was out of their budget.

As a result, the original theme has been butchered and is barely recognizable; it’s the same bastardization from the puke-worthy DS game. Even worse, it’s constantly playing at the overworld, and I cringed every time I had to go back there. Music in the other areas isn’t so bad, but it isn’t noteworthy either. It’s a good thing the actual game plays well, or the music would’ve ruined it for me.

The gameplay is basically what you’ve come to expect from a platformer, but just a notch above most other mediocre titles on the market. There are some challenging, if unoriginal puzzles that require the skills of the differing characters. A good deal of the interaction is context sensitive, and I found that each character’s unique approach to solving a problem was chuckle-worthy and reminiscent of the show. For example, Dot is able to perform a limbo while wearing a special skirt, and Wakko’s weapons of choice are oversized boxing gloves.
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