Game Review

Mania Grade: B

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  • Platform: Xbox
  • ESRB: Everyone
  • Genre: Action
  • Players: 1
  • Online: No
  • Developer: Rare
  • Publisher: Microsoft
  • Suggested Retail: $49.99
  • Graphics: B+
  • Sound: B+
  • Gameplay: B-
  • Replay: C
  • Fun Factor: B
  • Reviewer’s Wild Card: B+


The creators of DONKEY KONG COUNTRY have their first Xbox title

By Troy Roberts     October 29, 2003

This last week or so, we have begun to see Jack-O-Lanterns and witches on people's porches, and candy is disappearing at a rapid rate from store shelves. What could this mean? Oh yeah, Halloween is this week. And what better way to spend your Halloween (other than trick-or-treating) is there than playing Rare's first title for the Xbox, GRABBED BY THE GHOULIES? You might be surprised.

GRABBED BY THE GHOULIES puts you in the role of boy by the name of Cooper. The game begins with Cooper and his girlfriend trying to take shelter from a storm. When she suggests a haunted looking mansion to stay in until the weather blows over, Cooper immediately criticizes the idea. Of course, when Cooper isn't looking, his girlfriend is kidnapped by some monsters that live in the mansion. What kind of game would it be if he didn't save the damsel in distress? Right, not much of one, so it's up to you to save her and any others you may find inside.

The gameplay in GRABBED BY THE GHOULIES is

Rare's new action fest, GRABBED BY THE GHOULIES.

pretty simple and straightforward: the left stick moves Cooper and the right stick is used for attack and direction of attack. The A and B buttons are also used, with A picking up weapons found throughout the levels and B dropping them. The triggers are used to rotate the camera. The controls are fairly easy to get used to, and while using the right thumbstick to attack may seem awkward at first, it doesn't take too long to get used to.

At first, GRABBED BY THE GHOULIES is a basic beat-'em-up style game, but as you progress, the game gets increasingly difficult. Each room will give you health restrictions even though you'll have the same amount of enemies to clear out. There are a lot of different restrictions that you'll run into throughout the game, being room time limits, rooms that require you to kill all enemies with a weapon, even rooms that forbid you to get hit. If you happen to break any of these rules, the Grim Reaper will appear. If you see him, run! If he touches you just once, you'll die and have to start that room over again. You'll even come across shocks, scary moments that will appear during gameplay. Something might pop out of the wall and Cooper will get scared, resulting in four buttons appearing on the screen. Hit the buttons in the right order and you'll be fine (think QTE from SHENMUE). If not...well, just don't mess it up.

The main


problem I have with GRABBED BY THE GHOULIES is that its simplistic gameplay, while fun and interesting, is also its downfall. While the game seems new and fresh at the beginning, there is only so much you can break before you begin to get bored. The game is completely linear, so unfortunately, there is no chance of randomly exploring any room you want.

Rare made sure that GRABBED BY THE GHOULIES was a good looking game. While it may not push the Xbox for all its worth, the game looks mighty impressive with its cartoon-style graphics. The animations for Cooper's facial reactions are great as well, and this game really is full of emotion from your character being scared to the loving looks he gives his girlfriend. The sound is that typical to a Rare game, with the characters speaking in a series of syllables. The music and sound effects are also strong, lending well to this type of game.

GRABBED BY THE GHOULIES, while a pretty easy game even with shocks and grim reaper, is a pretty fun ride. Most gamers would consider this a rental because it won't take long to beat, but Xbox owners wanting a good action game will be in luck.


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