reviews\ Dec 8, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Fairly OddParents!: Enter The Cleft - GBA - Review

Despite the name, Fairly Odd Parents isn't an odd game, but rather is a standard side-scrolling adventure game featuring characters from a popular TV cartoon. The story is that Timmy's alter ego, Cleft the Boy Chin Wonder, has been transported to a comic book world created by his wacky God-Parents in order to rescue his comic hero, The Crimson Chin. While in these strange worlds, Cleft will have to battle his way through enemies such as a spatula toting mama, a pig-tossing woman, a pop-corn throwing man, Vicky the babysitter, Francis, the Bronze Knee Cap, and assorted birds, bees, dogs and many other weird opponents.

Cleft's main job is to pick up wands while fighting off enemies - the collecting part isn't difficult, but the fighting is made harder than it should be by quirky game designs. These include the default slow movement of Cleft, which can be speeded up by hitting the control button two times then held down, but this is hard to remember to do most times when already moving. Taking out enemies isn't too hard, but with many of them Cleft will almost always take at least one hit in so doing, as evading the items tossed by them is almost impossible even when running away from the projectile, as in the popcorn throwing man. Cleft can duck or jump the projectile, depending on if the man is standing or crouched, but often-times the projectile is already being thrown when Cleft can first see him. Unseen enemies are also a problem when climbing down ladders and are impossible to avoid when trying to access that area from the ladder. Other interface problems include the strange tendency of Cleft to fall between cracks of ledges when jumping, instead of jumping across.

Thankfully, though, Cleft has some pretty nifty powerups to help him defeat some of the more tricky opponents, like a megaphone that shocks them off the ledges, a bat that packs a mean wallop and can also return projectiles, a gyro to fly with and several other like items. Gaining these items is simple; Cleft just needs lots of wands to buy them with when the Wanda and Cosmo (Fairy God-Parents) icons appear. There are also several health powerups scattered about for renewed lives and health. There are five worlds, each with four levels, for a total of twenty locations to beat.

The game's overall appearance is quite attractive and showcases the GBA's graphic abilities very well. Cleft and his weapons are amusingly drawn, with the special effects of the weapons standing out comically. The enemies reflect the bizarre world view of the show Fairly Odd Parents and are pretty strange looking, but in a cute way. Everything is brightly lit; a hunting spotlight isn't required to see the scenes. The music is outstanding, and adds to the enjoyment of the game. The tunes are all pleasing and catchy, unlike many GBA games' musical scores.

While Fairly Odd Parents is a decently amusing game to pick up and play, especially with the almost unlimited powerups with specially funny features, the interface makes everything a little harder than it should be for a kids' game. This game is obviously targeted toward younger players, but will lead to some frustration because of the difficulty of getting past some of these enemies, due to the placement of the opponents that sabotages Cleft from unseen locations. This game design was probably implemented to make it more interesting for older players, but sometimes game designers need to decide on just who the audience is, as it's almost impossible to make a kids' game that is going to please adults, too.

Still, Fairly Odd Parents is a decent platformer, and older kids who're fans of the show will enjoy playing.

Gameplay: 7
A pretty average platformer, with some interesting powerups.

Graphics: 8 
The animation shows off the GBA's capabilities very nicely and is exactly like the TV cartoon.

Sound: 8
Great music and tunes!

Difficulty: Medium/Hard
While this isn't that tough a game, it's still hard enough to be frustrating for younger players who will be the ones who want to play.

Concept: 7 
A TV character on a GBA, 'nuff said.

Overall: 7.1
The action is similar to most games of this type and doesn't offer anything new or exciting. While the powerups and general animation are cute in a retro sort of way, retro drawings and props can't elevate average to excellence.


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