When Good Monsters Get into a Bad Game - Mania.com

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When Good Monsters Get into a Bad Game

Poor Sulley - great movie, terrible game

By James Stevenson     June 23, 2002

John Goodman is the furry and lovable Sulley in MONSTERS, INC.
© 2001 Walt Disney Pictures

Nothing irritates me more than when a company takes a lovable license and uses it to cover up its own mistakes when it makes a bad game. Have you ever noticed that many games based off of movies or TV shows merely use the name recognition to try to sell the product?

Sure, there are some exceptions. Take GOLDENEYE for the N64. One of the best videogames ever made, and played for years after its release, GOLDENEYE used the OO7 license to complement the gameplay. Other games have used licenses successfully - many of the STAR WARS games are quite excellent.

But then you have those that think they can get away with a crappy game and a cute license. Sony has been guilty of this with Disney licenses: take a look at MONSTERS, INC. for PlayStation 2 or SCREAM TEAM for PlayStation One.


Both games are crappy platformers with shoddy control, graphics, sound and gameplay, and use the levels and collecting to chain together video clips from the movie. Who is going to buy this? Not you, the well informed gamer, but kids, or their parents, may be susceptible to bright packaging with a recognizable character on the front from one of the last year's hit movies. SHREK is another great example. Even Nintendo isn't immune; they've passed off a couple of crappy Mickey Mouse videogames just to earn an extra buck or two for the shareholders' report.

It's an easy way out. Just today, I received review copies of LILO AND STITCH for the PlayStation One and PlayStation 2 (which is the reason for this column). I can't pass any judgement, but neither of them is that exciting from the looks of it. I guess the PlayStation 2 version has promise since it's more of an action game than a platformer, but a look at the screenshots had me wondering whether it was PS1 or PS2.

A lot of times, the only reason you keep playing these games is to unlock more scenes from the movie. I know already that both games will feature elements like this, and in all honestly, I'd rather plunk down my $5 at the movie theater to see the movie itself again.

The moral of this story? Don't buy a game based on the fact that your favorite late night talk show host is the hero. In all likelihood, the expense of purchasing Johnny Carson's likeness and voice should've been put to a better use, like making a good game. As it stands, most of these games deserve an ample amount of caution.


The beta test for the PC version of FINAL FANTASY XI has begun in Japan... The next game in the SONIC series will be unveiled on July 13th or 14th... NEVERWINTER NIGHTS has shipped to stores... THQ has shipped PINBALL OF THE DEAD to stores... A mobile monitor is being developed for the Xbox, but who in the name of Mario is going to want to drag an Xbox around?... Square has acquired Quest, makers of the TACTICS OGRE/OGRE BATTLE series...

John Goodman is the furry and lovable Sulley in MONSTERS, INC.


No contest this week, ETERNAL DARKNESS: SANITY'S REQUIEM (GameCube) rules all here. The game is part-survival horror, part action-adventure and as you see creepy stuff you slowly go insane thus altering your perceptions. It's going to be very cool and definitely worth checking out.

Gamers' Thumb is our weekly Videogame column.

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