reviews\ Jan 3, 2003 at 7:00 pm

Island Xtreme Stunts - GBA - Review

Island Xtreme Stunts is a pleasant collection of arcade games, tied loosely to a theme of performing stunts for a new movie on LEGO Island. Pepper has been chosen as the top stuntman, but the Brickster has other ideas...

There are a total of nine different games, which are repeated several times throughout this linear adventure. Each game has to be completed successfully in order to unlock the next game in the area. Once all the games have been beaten in one of three areas, then another area will become unlocked. Special challenge rooms will become available once all the areas have been unlocked and a certain number of points have been earned in each game. The games increase in difficulty for each area.

A good variety of games are present, with several racing and stunt games interspersed with sliding pictures, a dancing "match this move" game, a Dr. Mario type game and a crate sorting game. For each game, "stars" are awarded for points earned: a Bronze Star for 3000 pts, Silver for 6000 and a Gold Star for 10,000 pts. The number of stars earned determine if the other areas of the game can be opened. Once a game has been unlocked, it can be played again at any time. The special Challenge areas feature a Challenge building where four of the games can be played (these are the same games already played, but with special attributes only in these challenge levels), and two movie areas, where the progress of the movie can be checked on. The final Movie room is where the finished movie will be viewed and signifies the end of the game.

The racing games are the hardest, as Pepper has to race very fast to catch up with the Brickster. The two stunt games are not quite as difficult and are pretty fun, especially the skateboard game, where players have to perform stunts for points. This becomes progressively harder with more stunts available in the later levels. The Pizza Delivery game is the best designed and is somewhat like a cross between Dr. Mario and Snake, with a conga line of different colored pizzas snaking around two delivery lines - players have to shoot matching pizzas to get three or more in a row and clear the lines. The lines become faster as time progresses, with the goal being to keep the pizzas from reaching the end of the lines as long as possible. The sliding puzzles are fairly easy in the beginning, but get harder in the later levels.

There is a multiplayer option for four of the games, as well, Motorbike Mayhem, Freeway Frenzy, Wave Catcher and Pizza Delivery (the first three are also in the Challenge building). This requires additional copies of the game for each player. Motorbike Mayhem is only for two players, but the rest are for two-four players. The racing games basically involve trying to beat your opponents to the finish lines, but Pizza Delivery sounds really quite fun, with the ability to drop pizzas on opponents, a la Dr. Mario. As we only had one game cartridge, we didn't get to test out the multiplayer feature.

The graphics are nice and easily visible, but nothing spectacular. The music is quite catchy and fits the theme very well.

Island Xtreme Stunts is obviously targeted toward younger players, but the linear nature of the game may preclude the youngest from playing, as the games cannot be played until a certain number of points earned unlock each successive game. As the first game played is one of the harder ones, Freeway Frenzy, which involves racing the Brickster and crashing into his car to knock off parts, some young players may be stumped before even getting a good start on the game. Simply making all the games available from the beginning in a special "play" mode would have alleviated this, similar to the design in most PC children's games.

Varying ages ranging from six to forty have played this game and have enjoyed it for the most part, but no player has been overly enthusiastic about the entire collection. The games are well-designed, but are basically the same sort found in most arcade collections and offer nothing new. Our favorite game is the Pizza Delivery; in fact, I'm quite enjoying it! However, that is the only game I really like out of the nine offered.

A decent arcade game which offers good variety in the games, but none that stand out from the crowd except for Pizza Delivery. A free-play mode should have been made available to accommodate the younger players, too.

Gameplay: 7
The games are fun for the most part, but nothing special, except for Pizza Delivery. The linear nature of the game may frustrate younger players unnecessarily, which is unfortunate.

Graphics: 7 
Average graphics.

Sound: 8
Catchy tunes add to the enjoyment.

Difficulty: Medium
The games start out fairly easy and progress in difficulty as the game advances. The racing games are the toughest, and as the first game is a racing game, some players may be stuck before even leaving the starting gate.

Concept: 7 
For the most part these games are average arcade games, but are designed well. The multiplayer mode is done very nicely.

Multiplayer: Yes
There is a multi-player mode for two-four players, each with a game cartridge. Four of the games can be played in this mode.

Overall: 7.2
A decent arcade pack that offers a good variety of games. However, nothing here is outstanding except for Pizza Delivery and the longevity of the game may be in question.


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