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Around The World In 80 Days Package Art
  Hip Games

Around The World In 80 Days

Around The World In 80 Days, having performed modestly at the box office, placed Jackie Chan in what looked to be a delightful summer flick for the whole family. The film garnered mixed criticism, with (re)viewer’s opinions vastly differentiating from publication to publication, some put off by how the classic novel was transformed as such into a rollicking martial arts escapade.

One could surmise the plot in a single sentence: Through a series of rhetoric discourse inventor Phileas Fogg makes a bet with his nemesis and colleague (Lord Kelvin) that he can circle the globe in 80 days, eliciting the aid of “French” valet Passerpartout (Jackie Chan) to guide and protect him as they embark on their quest. Following this rapid narrative chain, as one would guess, madness is sure to ensue.

Sierra has developed this action title for the Game Boy Advance, published by Canadian third party Hip Games, the title basing itself off the exact same adaptation as the aforementioned movie put out by Disney and Walden Media. From a third party perspective, that seems like an awful lot of production attached to such an obscure product. From all that I’ve absorbed, however, I get the feeling that this pint sized adventure will be met very similarly by gaming critics the world over.


While the variety of artwork amidst the ten locations was rather pleasant, placing everything from the Giza pyramids to the Eiffel Tower in the background, the quality of said visuals left much to be desired. Using an engine disturbingly similar to Revenge of Shinobi, which I also (rather unfortunately) took for a spin early last year, ’80 Days is built on a system of rough, distorted pixels. Though seemingly suitable in screenshots, the muddied graphics truly are quite horrid. It would appear that the idea of being able to distinguish between characters was to apply color blotches of varying widths over a central stick figure, rather than taking the time out to etch enemies or Jackie himself in any unique fashion. I’ve seen better looking titles on the Game Boy Color, including those that did not take any considerable length of time to apply a developer’s own artistry to the product, and that’s just not acceptable.


Critiquing the implementation of sound in Around The World In 80 Days is like asking one to evaluate the practical purposes of mathematical identities in every day life. In simpler words, there’s little point, as it was clearly an afterthought on Saffire’s part. Every little bit of audio an enemy lets off is the same muffled grunt, no matter what the situation may be or who you (as Passepartout) are facing off with. The musical score is absolute trash, a waste of the “composers” time (as if any significant amount was allotted in the first place) and your own. A thirty-two bit system should be pushing audio that matches its innate capabilities, though it’s not unusual for a developer to slack off with licensed handheld product and place in a “filler-track” solely for the purpose of being there. To put things into perspective: I’d rather listen to Gyromite in Dolby surround sound than go back to this game and absorb any more stilted, excruciating note patterns.


Now, my friend, we’re making some headway. To a certain extent, that is. Where it fails to dazzle the player through any sensory means, ’80 Days initially had me thinking that a surprisingly deep and intuitive combat setup had been contrived. And, in numerous facets of the scheme, it had.

Passerpartout can execute six attacks in total. Punch, uppercut, jumping punch, kick, crouching kick, and jump-kick. The secondary attacks are executed via pressing the lower node on the D-pad to lower oneself, or by attacking following a jump (with the A button). I was happy to see them take advantage of the shoulder buttons by making the “R” button the designated kick button. In theory, this should free up a face button for the jump-function, which it did; however, Saffire didn’t bother making the upper node of the D-pad combine with the action buttons to create additional attacks. That’s a waste of space. A simple “block” would have worked well in such an instance. Because of how nice the moves look however, from a martial artist’s perspective, I was very disappointed to discover how shallow the setup really was. You can even hang on ledges, wires, and kick off walls – yet more features that showed promise but amounted to very little.

Through evasion and elimination of opponents, you must reach the right-most end of each level, ala the typical sidescroller formula, with the ability to collect coins to net yourself some extra health if all are gathered. There also exist four Chinese glyphs that shine a blue hue. You’d best not pass them up, either, four all four are required in order to reach the subsequent area. Good luck with that, too, because the game has no logical curb in difficulty meter. While some levels are extremely simple, others are nigh unbeatable. Your opponents will generally make quick work of you, as combat is sloppy and unresponsive, making it the wisest maneuver to simply avoid any confrontation. However, that’s often not an option for you and your virtual Chan.




Honestly, this title was released not a month or so (if not less) after it first appeared on release lists across the retail quagmire. Likewise, it was a clear afterthought on the part of Saffire and Hip-Games, the respective developer and publisher. Both houses are filled with considerable talent, so it’s a shame to see them take the cheap way out and purportedly rush this product into market without giving it the sort of touch-ups it so sorely needs to retain the attention of those younger audiences it is obviously marketed towards. Little fun is to be had from this experience, for any thrills will be derived from the first couple levels, if at all. Certainly, save your hard earned dollar for Hip’s far superior action title, CT Special Forces 2.

final score 4.0/10

Staff Avatar William Jacques
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"Oh oblivious, naïve Humanity... How ignorant we really are - safe only in our blind "superior" view of the world."

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