As I have just said in my review of THE THING, there are a lot of video game companies that basically just slap a license on a game and ship it to stores. And that is what has happened with THQ's MONSTERS, INC. SCREAM ARENA. The game is just an obvious attempt to capitalize on the success of the movie, and to make a couple extra bucks on the newly released DVD.
The basic premise of the game is that this is dodgeball with the characters from MONSTERS, INC. That's really about it. But, if you want to get into the technical storyline, here goes: as in the movie, the monsters have to come up with a new source of power for their world, something other than screams, shrieks, etc. So, Radical Entertainment came up with the idea that entertaining kids by playing dodgeball is a way to do it. So there is your outline of the game: its dodgeball, plain and simple.
You are able to choose from 13 different characters from the movie (although only five are selectable at the beginning, and the rest are unlockable). There are seven different arenas in the game, each based on a scene from the movie, and each come with five different objectives. To move onto the next arena, you must complete all five objectives, in order. Objectives include hitting the most targets, getting the most points from hits, or just holding onto a certain ball the longest. There are also different types of dodgeballs around the arenas that are fast, slow, sticky, or explosive. There is even a "pet" ball that follows you around until you use it, and then it just comes back.
One of the high points for SCREAM ARENA is that it does look pretty nice. While the game isn't as detailed as the movie (though I doubt that would be possible), the characters do look pretty good. It's a shame they aren't animated very well, and the movements are somewhat erratic and awkward.
The sound is another high point. While the voice-acting pieces are simply clips taken from the film, the soundtrack is done very well, and is actually enjoyable to listen to. It is a shame that the soundtrack was put to such bad use, being attached to this game.
What it all boils down to is that dodgeball is an outside sport, and should not be attempted on a video game system. The game is mind-numbing, and after a short period of time, I was extremely bored.
MONSTERS, INC. SCREAM ARENA is a very blatant attempt at making the most money off of a license as possible. The idea of a dodgeball game isn't terrible, but at the most it should be a mini-game within another game...not a full game itself. My suggestion is to go buy an actual rubber dodgeball and find some friends to play with. It's a more enjoyable experience with this, a lot cheaper, and you'll get some exercise while you're at it.