Chicken Little – PS2 – Review

Little wanted to be a lot of things. It wanted to be an action/adventure. It
wanted to be a space shooter. It wanted to be a sports game, and a racing
game, and incorporate pieces of Crazy Taxi. Technically it became all of those
things, forgetting that as important as variety is, there is one thing that
precedes it: continuity.

Little starts like a great action/adventure should: with a big, obstacle
course-style level. Slide down pipes and wires, ignoring the threat of gravity
and electricity. Chicken Little has a yo-yo that doubles as a weapon and a
grappling hook. He’ll use it periodically to ward off robot clones of himself
(made by one of his bratty classmates, it seems), and to climb poles and swing
across large gaps. These mechanics are on par with the best in the industry. I
didn’t know what to expect from the game, but that first stage put a smile on
my face.


lasted for about 10 minutes. The following stages drove the game down a
different path, having short- to medium-length mini-games in place of real
action/adventure stages.

Too easy to be
long-lasting fun. It only takes one hit to eliminate your opponent from the
round, but Chicken Little was allowed to stick around after a hit. Handicaps
are lame and should be reserved for the easiest play modes (I was playing with
the “normal” difficulty setting).

A frustrating
mini-game that won’t go away. First you’re running away from a bully, then
you’re running toward something, then you’re sliding down a circular tube in
space, etc. They’re too slow and need more check points. I’d get close to the
end and have to start over because I crashed into a wall. The controls are
less open since you’re restricted to moving down the predetermined path,
whether that means you’re running toward or away from the screen does not

Chicken Little
has two kinds of space battle mini-games: one in the vein of classic shooters
(top-down shooters like Ikaruga) and one in the vein of Star Fox (the original
Star Fox, not the ridiculous GameCube iterations). Each are no more than a few
minutes long but the game considers them to be full levels. The top-down
shooter is pretty fun and provided the best challenge. Dodging laser streams
is never easy, and with only two kinds of weapons (missiles and unlimited
lasers) at your side, defeating enemy ships takes a little more strategy than
you’ll expect. This might be the one moment in the game where Little Timmy can
hand the controller to his big brother and he won’t object.


The Star
Fox-inspired stage gives you a third-person view of the ship. The level
constantly moves forward — there’s no stopping, backtracking, or multiple
paths to explore. Basically you’re expected to shoot whatever comes near your
ship to stay alive. Cross the finish line (one is floating in space for no
apparent reason) and you’re done. Onto the next.

Another mini-game
that won’t go away. Though you only end up behind the wheel a couple of times,
both last so long that it feels like an eternity. The first couldn’t be any
simpler. Chicken Little’s friends hop into a tiny red car and cruise the area
for things like groceries and paper deliveries. This could’ve been fun – if
Crazy Taxi can make it work, why can’t Chicken Little? But the controls are
terribly slow. Sharp turns should be a breeze, and backing up should be too.
Instead backing up could cause your vehicle to spin out. I like the idea. It’s
intended to help the player turn around and drive away quickly, but it doesn’t
work very well.

Alien Pod
Kids are going to
have a love/hate relationship with this one. I know that when I was a kid I’d
see a movie and think, "Man, if only I could take control of the alien ship!"
Chicken Little has these weird pod-like ships that have four legs and shoot
lasers. The film was being developed at the same time as the new War of the
Worlds movie, but I feel the novel must’ve influenced the design of these
pods. I can’t say how it happens without revealing the latter half of the
story, but Chicken Little gets the chance to control one of the pods. The
controls aren’t too bad, but it isn’t the most fun mission. Alien robots
strike in full force, coming out of their replenishing tanks if there was no
end. Shoot the tanks long enough times and they’ll blow up, stopping the flow
of robots until you enter the next room. Laser beams block your path; the goal
is to figure out how to kill the lasers and the robots before your pod’s
energy depletes.


Clearly game
developers are listening to us – we’re just not saying the right thing. "We
want more variety!" is all we say when a game is repetitive. But that’s not
all there is to it. If it were, Chicken Little would be king of the genre.
With over five completely different types of gameplay, players will not have
to experience the same kind of level twice in a row. There are a ton of CG
movies and exclusive clips that were made specifically for the game.

If this was
all that it took, I wouldn’t have to continue. The truth of the matter is that
even with multiple types of gameplay Chicken Little is still a highly
repetitive game. With the exception of the first level the game seems too
long. It’s not – you could finish it in less than half a day. But the levels
tend to drag on, whether you’ve completed it in five minutes or 20 minutes.
The real time doesn’t matter.

Scoring Details

for Chicken Little

Gameplay: 6.0
Scavenger hunts,
space battles, joyrides through town – it’s all here, and very little of it
works. If you were to play each and every stage independently it might be Ok,
but it’s hard to get past the repetition that develops within each stage type.
They created more than one kind of stage to avoid repetition, and like a
relentless virus it found its way in there anyway, infecting the gameplay from
the start of the second stage.

Graphics: 7.5
Chicken Little’s
character models are a close match to the film, but the backgrounds vary from
stage to stage. I was impressed with the overall look of the first stage –
very colorful and imaginative. Some of the later stages, especially the space
battles, don’t pack the same visual punch.

Sound: 7.5
Zach Braff as
Chicken Little, who would have thought? He plays the character well without
making him too weak or too nerdy.

Difficulty: Easy
With the
exception of the gaps between check points (which is more frustrating than
challenging), Chicken Little is a pushover.

Concept: 8.0
Lots of game
, not enough game. Chicken Little is one of the most original
attempts at bringing variety to a genre that’s known for being repetitive. Few
of the mini-games end up living up to that first, magical stage, but as far as
concept goes Chicken Little does more than most.

Multiplayer: 6.0
mini-games that marginally expand on the rest of the experience.

Overall: 6.0
Chicken Little is
a winner for originality, its decent soundtrack, and the professional
voice-overs from the stars of the film. It’s a loser for its disappointing
idea of variety. Their best bet would have been to make every single level

The first
action/adventure stage is fun but the rest are boring. Finding Chicken
Little’s baseball uniform could’ve been a cool scavenger hunt had it been
designed differently.

One thing
that doesn’t seem to obvious at first is that every single stage is linear.
The game covers that secret up well with environments that appear to be big
and wide-open. You’re not allowed to go off and explore. The missions were
made to follow the film’s story, leaving little room for franchise growth.