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WII
GENRE
Other
DEVELOPER
Kemco
PUBLISHER
Kemco
WI-FI ENHANCED
no
WII EXCLUSIVE
only-gcn
EXPECTED RELEASE DATE
BUY NOW AT

Universal Studios

In a move that smacked of lip-service to GameCube, Universal Studios was declared “Game of the Show” at the recent ECTS show in London, despite being decidedly, well, average. If we were to be kind. It was also, entirely coincidentally, the only playable GCN game at the show – and much as we like to see GCN games doing well, the makers of other titles at the show, such as the fabulous-looking Burn Out, would have a right to feel a bit peeved.

Based on the Theme Park in Osaka, Universal Studios is the sort of game, Kemco assured us that the Japanese will love. Its essentially a collection of sub-games, each based around an attraction at the theme park, which in turn are all based around Universal Studios franchises. The player is able to move around the theme park at will, and time passes from morning to evening the more you explore – each game you play takes an hour off your clock, and until you’ve stayed all day and seen all eight attractions, you can’t access the final game.

Players are guided around the park by the irritating Woody Woodpecker, whose Japanese ramblings were unreadable, and signature laugh inaudible. As the only playable GCN game at the crowded ECTS, the queues for Universal Studios weaved their way around the Kemco stand – and thus we were only able to take in two of the eight attractions the final game will include.

The first we played was based on Back to the Future, the 80s franchise of dodgy time-travel physics and even dodgier Oedipal maternal lusting. Thankfully, neither are present here, just straightforward airborne racing, DeLorean a DeLorean. The tracks we played -- featuring decidedly non-BttF locales such as volcanoes and canyons – were bland and uninspiring, and also seemed a trifle slow. Then again, seeing as the cars can’t go past 88mph without travelling through time, perhaps it’s a problem with the licence.

The second, based on Will Smith ego-vehicle Wild, Wild West, looked something that stepped out of ancient Genesis game Lethal Enforcers. It’s essentially a target-shooting game, something like Point Blank without either the fun or the gun, and we most certainly did not get jiggy with it. Other games will be based on more promising licences such as ET and Jaws, and less exciting ones such as Waterworld and Backdraft. Other bits of interest include the opportunity to breed your own dinosaur (from the Jurassic Park franchise, natch), and the finished title will also feature – uh oh – a quiz with over 600 questions based on Universal franchises, which is a must only for true Universal fanatics and couch potatoes.

Universal Studios is set for release on December 1st in Japan, but won’t make Europe or America until Easter of next year. While no doubt some of the attractions will be fun–– whether it will be enough to tear punters away from – sigh – Pikmin and SSB Melee is doubtful.

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WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Gearóid Reidy
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"Compare your lives to mine and then kill yourselves."


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