previews\ Apr 5, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Over the Hedge - NDS - Preview

Is there any such thing as too much of a good thing?

Apparently the folks at Vicarious Visions and Activision do not think so. So when Over the Hedge is released on the Nintendo DS, while the game will have the same general location, characters and title as the Dreamworks' film it departs from the movie's storyline completely. The DS version is a completely original story that takes place after the story that the Dreamworks movie will be telling.

Activision held a media event recently in San Francisco to allow for some hands-on time with the game and an overview of what will be offered.

For those who do not know, the game centers on many of the characters from the film, particularly Verne (the turtle), RJ (the raccoon ringleader) and Hammy (the squirrel, who for lack of a better adjective could be termed very squirrelly).

Where the DS version departs from other game versions is in the way it handles the core gamplay. The consoles and PC are very action/puzzle/platform oriented, but the DS version takes a stealthier approach to the gameplay. Using full-on cutscenes that sparkle on the DS screens, the creatures are trying to attain endangered species status (which Hammy mistakenly calls ‘engendered’) to prevent Gladys (from the movie, who has returned in full-on evil glory) from destroying what remains of their encroached home.

Not only does the DS version sport terrific three-dimensional elements, but the game also utilizes the touch screen to some degree. It is used sparingly in gameplay, but info pops up and players can access in-game menus as well as switch characters. Sporting intuitive controls, an easy-to-follow story, and terrific graphics, this is a title that truly shines on the DS platform.

When it comes to the characters, they are loaded with personality – not only in speech but in animations. The DS does a solid job of allowing these characters to sparkle.

With solid and easy-to-learn controls, a wonderful three-dimensional look that integrates the cutscenes flawlessly, destructible environment elements, a lot of charm and light-hearted fun, Over the Hedge looks to be the kind of game that will most certainly appeal to kids and those young at heart, in addition to fans of the movie.

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