Animaniacs: The Great Edgar Hunt

Animaniacs: The Great Edgar Hunt

Written by Sean Colleli on 11/4/2005 for 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. This is however where one of my complaints arises. Until you acquire the special items for each of the Warner siblings, they are all basically the same character with a different appearance. They all have their unique personalities, which come through abundantly in the voice acting, but swapping between Yakko, Wakko and Dot is pointless without the special items. I would’ve liked to see character-specific moves and abilities that were available from the get-go. You even need scuba gear to do any water diving. Despite this lack of variety, the characters have a proficient set of attacks and techniques. Spinning, sliding, and ledge-hanging aren’t new, but they’re better than just having the typical jump/duck layout.

Even with the uniformity of the skills, playing through the myriad environments is enjoyable and oftentimes amusing. The game spans the Warner movie lot, and the various soundstages within, so you get to experience a wide range of locales, from a wild west set to a haunted mansion. The intrinsic details within each location are ripped straight from the cartoon, including the slapstick characters. You’ll run into Dr. Scratchansniff turned Victor Frankenstien in the ghost house, while Pinky and the Brain are constantly trying to take over the world with their ingenious minigames. Enemies and bosses are classic Warner Brothers, even if they can be easily beaten with simple strategies.

The way in which these environments are presented also surprised me. Though lacking in high poly counts, the texturing is pretty high-res, and all of the little extras are a treat for the eyes. Character models are not only faithful to their cartoon counterparts but mimic their animated look as well. The facial expressions on the Warner kids themselves were particularly well done. The worlds are solidly constructed both visually and from a gameplay standpoint; most areas serve a purpose, and look appealing at the same time. In addition, the water effects are quite impressive.

I would recommend Animaniacs: The Great Edgar Hunt to the loyal fans of the series. It doesn’t bring anything fresh to the gaming table, but offers a substantial adventure that should take at least six hours to complete. The quality is uncommon for a licensed title and the show’s charm is intact for the most part. For adventure fans I suggest something meatier like Zelda; Edgar Hunt will be nothing but a passing amusement to the hardcore audience.
After a throw-away attempt on the DS, Warthog has constructed a passable platformer with the Animaniacs franchise. You won’t find anything fresh or spectacular, but the gameplay is competent and the show has (finally) been recreated with some decent accuracy.

Rating: 7.6 Above Average

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.

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About Author

Sean Colleli has been gaming off and on since he was about two, although there have been considerable gaps in the time since. He cut his gaming teeth on the “one stick, one button” pad of the Atari 800, taking it to the pirates in Star Raiders before space shooter games were cool. Sean’s Doom addiction came around the same time as fourth grade, but scared him too much to become a serious player until at least sixth grade. It was then that GoldenEye 007 and the N64 swept him off his feet, and he’s been hardcore ever since.

Currently Sean enjoys a good shooter, but is far more interested in solid adventure titles like The Legend of Zelda or the beautiful Prince of Persia trilogy, and he holds the Metroid series as a personal favorite. Sean prefers deep, profound characters like Deus Ex’s JC Denton, or ones that break clichés like Samus Aran, over one dimensional heroes such as the vacuous Master Chief. Sean will game on any platform but he has a fondness for Nintendo, Sega and their franchises. He has also become a portable buff in recent years. Sean’s other hobbies include classic science fiction such as Asimov and P.K. Dick, and Sean regularly writes down his own fiction and aimless ramblings. He practices Aikido and has a BA in English from the Ohio State University. He is in his mid twenties. View Profile

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