When I first unwrapped the Muppets Party Cruise, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. While I was excited to see the Muppets ensemble, I was a little worried that the game would be just another lame attempt at the party genre. I wondered if a great cast of characters, one most of us grew up with, would be enough to pump life into a tired and run down genre. Perhaps I was expecting too much.
The Muppets Party Cruise is pretty much what you’d expect, a board game masquerading as a PlayStation 2 (and GameCube) title. It has a brief story involving Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the rest of Jim Henson’s stuffed creations reminiscing about their troubles last vacation on that cruise liner. No, no, they didn’t contract the Norwalk virus or any other weird flu like symptoms, they were stuffed into the bottom of the boat and forced to play insanely dull mini-games.
Your adventure may start at the bottom of the ship, in the engine room to be more precise, but soon enough you are invited to play in the Crew’s Quarters, the Star Suites, all the way up to the Royal Staterooms. Instead of featuring a one-directional board so common with games like Mario Party, the Muppets Party Cruise throws away the board all together. Instead you walk on a grid, similar to what you’d find in tactical role playing game (like Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre). After you determine the amount of moves you get (done with the help of a strange pinball game) you are free to move where ever you want.
The mini games are held behind closed doors, each with their own specific color. Your goal in each level is to collect a certain amount of a color (or more party favor) before anybody else does. Of course, since everybody is working against you and doing their best to thwart your plans, this is a lot easier said than done.
Though there are dozens of well-known Muppets, this game only allows you to control six: Kermit, Miss Piggy, Animal, Gonzo, Fozzie, and Pepe. Regardless of who you prefer (I’m a Gonzo man, myself) each of these characters plays the same, the only difference being their look and annoying one-liners. All of the Muppets are modeled well, each with a few different familiar animations. Well, all of the Muppets except Animal, who looks mighty ridiculous without his drum set.
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