reviews\ Nov 17, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Disney's Treasure Planet - PS2 - Review

When Robert Louis Stevenson penned "Treasure Island," perhaps the furthest thing from his mind was that this classic adventure would one day be the playground of Muppets. But that seems rather tame compared to the transition the story has made to the realm of outer space.

Treasure Planet, a Walt Disney film, is slated for release on November 27. But if anyone wishes to get an advance look at the movie, all they need to do is launch Disney’s Treasure Planet, a Disney and Bizarre Creatures release for the PlayStation2.

This is an arcade-adventure that looks terrific, challenges and plays well.

It is the tale of Jim Hawkins searching the galaxy for the lost treasure of Captain Flint ­ reputed to hold "the loot of a thousand worlds." It all begins when Jim finds a sphere that he triggers into opening. When it does, it reveals a map, which will lead Jim to the lost world.

That is all the basic story (a few characters aside) and almost all the game has in common with Stevenson’s story. Jim is added by his mentor Dr. Doppler (voiced by Frazier’s David Hyde Pierce ­ if you listen closely, you’ll also hear Martin Short and Emma Thompson, among others), and a shape-shifting alien name Morph. Morph is particularly important because the creature can take on shapes of different objects to aid Jim in his quest.

The first part of the game begins with five small quests that must be met in order to unlock five beacons, which will guide Jim along his path. These quests are all arcade-like, such as collecting all 100 gold drubloons, which are scattered throughout the map board. Jim will need to battle a variety of creatures, both organic and robotic, jump, explore and use his little buddy to accomplish all the tasks. Opening the beacons allows Jim to travel through a portal to the next game level.

Jim won’t only travel by foot, but will also fly using a jetpack, glider, speedy boots (which  as well as solar surf.

The controls of this game have been kept quite simple, though they do varying depending on whether Jim is solar surfing or in normal mode.

The game’s sound is very good, not just in the vocal characterizations, but in regards to effects as well. Graphically the game is wonderful and joyful. The movements are terrific, the three-dimensional environments are lushly colored and intriguing, and the array of effects is well done.

This is the type of program that fluidly employs the arcade style of gaming with an adventure game to create a fun gaming experience. While the game is oriented more toward the reflexive style, there are certain tasks, which require players to use their wits to figure out. Take catching the grazing beast in the first level for example. You can chase, and chase, and chase, or you can try to outwit the creature.

Treasure Planet may be a loose adaptation of the tremendous Stevenson story, but that doesn’t mean the game lacks in terms of fun. This game is the first to play off the movie, and while it captures that essence well, it could have been so much more than an arcade-adventure.

This game is rated for Everyone.


Gameplay: 8.2
The game is quite linear in nature with set tasks that must be accomplished to advance. The individual level mapboards may be vertical as well as horizontal, but really are not that big and have predefined paths through them.

Graphics: 8.8
This game is lush and bright, and the animation is, for the most part, very good. Morph is a bit overdone, but the shape-shifting ability is nicely done.

Sound: 8.7
There are some repetitive sounds that can get tiresome, but the vocal characterizations are well done, and the overall audio is excellent.

Difficulty: Easy
The control elements are not overly complex, and the game does have some challenge. However veteran arcade adventure gamers may find it a little too simplistic.

Concept: 7.5
While well done, considering the plot and setting, the game could have been much more than a simple linear arcade romp.

Overall: 8.0
The game looks very good, and plays quite well, but it could have been a much better game. Linear gameplay and regeneration features (which preserve some things, such as drubloons found, but not other elements like green energy) do take away from the overall game.  


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