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Disney's Lilo and Stitch - GBA - Review

A Disney shooter, hmmmm.....actually, as it turns out, not a bad idea! And of course, being Disney, it's still really cute. Disney has a very checkered record when it comes to game quality, with a few winners scattered here and there among the many stinkers. Lilo & Stitch, with its fun and challenging gameplay, deserves a spot among their best.

Lilo and Stitch are enjoying a day at the beach, when suddenly she's snatched by Aliens. It's up to Stitch to find a spaceship and rescue her, but Lilo also has a few tricks up her sleeve. So much for the story line, which is always just window dressing, anyway. There are nine levels to conquer, which consist of three different game styles: shooter, arcade and platform. Stitch's levels are shooters, with almost unlimited firepower at his fists. The action is hot and intense, with scads of enemies coming from all directions. Luckily, there are also lots of powerups and other goodies lying around for Stitch to pick up. Stitch can crouch, crawl, jump and run, shooting in all directions. Unfortunately, Stitch cannot shoot from a crawling or crouching position, which hampers him somewhat when avoiding certain enemies. Also, it's sometimes difficult to get Stitch far enough away from the enemies coming from behind, to be able to shoot them. This is awkward when Stitch is sandwiched between two enemies. Despite these minor movement flaws, the gameplay is frenetic and exciting, with lots of challenging moments for even the most jaded players! Once Stitch reaches the end of the level and destroys the Boss, a spaceship awaits.

The arcade levels are basically space arcade action games in the style of Asteroids, with Stitch driving a spaceship to find Lilo. These levels are diverting, but don't offer a whole lot of depth. Lilo has two levels of her own, which are classic platformers. Players have to maneuver Lilo around different obstacles, jumping, running and sneaking from platform to platform. She'll need to hide sometimes, too. Her stuffed animal, Scrump, can be a useful weapon. The goal in these levels is to find and activate various switches to open doors and gain access to more platforms.

The animation is superb, some of the best graphics I've ever seen on the GBA. It's a beautifully drawn game, with the vibrant colors really adding to the gameplay. The sound is nice, but nothing spectacular.

This game is a whole lot of fun! It's also pretty difficult, which will frustrate younger players. In fact, despite this title having the Disney name, it's not really for kids, but more for older gamers. The shooter levels with Stitch are the most difficult to traverse, which is too bad, seeing that the very first level features Stitch. Different difficulty levels would have been great, to open up the game for the younger set. The levels with Lilo aren't as frantic, and can be played at a slightly slower pace, even though players will still have to restart several times to get an idea of the geography of the platforms.

When I first opened the box, I expected another typical game from Disney, one that offered cute scenes but nothing much else. Boy, was I in for a surprise! Arcade shooters are not my strong point, and I had to play these levels many times to get through, but I found myself wanting to keep going to get through to the end. However, this game was too difficult for my twelve year old daughter, who is no arcade queen. A good age range for this game is probably ten and up, depending on the arcade skill of the players. Parents of young children will be better off getting one of the PC versions of Lilo & Stitch, either Hawaiian Adventure ages 3-6, or Trouble in Paradise, ages 6-12. And of course, although the violence is mild and non-graphic, this is a shooter, which parents of young children should be aware of.

An excellent offering from Disney that will provide lots of entertainment. Once the game's over, there's limited replay value as there aren't many hidden items aka Donkey Kong, but the kids that are able to play it will probably want to play it over again, anyway, because it's just so much fun. [Note: for hints and tips, visit Disney's game hints page at http://asp.interactive.go.com/support/disney/tech/ght.asp and choose Lilo & Stitch.]


Gameplay: 8.7
The gameplay is thrilling and deep, offering lots of challenge!!

Graphics: 9 
The animation is rich and lovely, showcasing the best of Disney.

Sound: 7.5
The music is bland and average, but not annoying.

Difficulty: Hard
Very difficult, especially the shooter levels. Young kids will have problems successfully negotiating these. Difficulty levels would have helped.

Concept: 8.7 
The different types of levels are refreshing and innovative, offering a change of pace when needed.

Overall: 8.9
Lilo & Stitch is a well-done game, one that will challenge most players. The levels are fast-paced and exciting, with lots of non-bloody mayhem. However, the game offers limited replay value, and will be too difficult for many younger players. Still, a worthy effort from Disney, and a whole lotta fun!

Great

Gw
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