Ratatouille – PS2 – Review

The secret is
finally out – the world now knows that, contrary to a horrifying incident at
Kentucky Fried Chicken, a rat is not the scariest thing you could find in a
kitchen. In fact, when it’s a rat from the studio behind Toy Story, Finding Nemo
and The Incredibles, the Mickey Mouse effect starts to weigh in. From the moment
Remy jumps through the window with a cookbook resting on his shoulders to the
conclusion that has audiences cheering, Ratatouille is another Pixar

The game,
brought to you by Heavy Iron Studios, is easily the best action/adventure based
on a Pixar movie since Toy Story 2. It’s a collecting game, a sneaky game, an
adventure game, and a roll-down-the-tunnel game. Ratatouille doesn’t go in the
direction of other licensed products and makes no effort to try something new
that can’t be perfected. It simply says, “We know what’s good, we know what
gamers like, and we’re going to be that game.”


Always On
The Move

Ratatouille has
picked up more than a few of our industry’s greatest tricks, and not just from
the action/adventure genre. The base of the game is set in one large,
interlocking world that keeps you coming back to the same place. But as players
leap between stages, they will be faced with different gameplay types. Early on
Remy uses a cookbook and kitchen utensil as a boat and paddle. Next he’ll be
climb on walls, crawl through narrow passages, and walk across a rat-sized

Just as that
level has been completed (and you expect to repeat the process all over in a new
environment), the game introduces a sliding mini-game similar to the
racing/sliding portions of the recent Mario and Sonic games. After that, Remy
gets chased by Linguini, the human star of the story. By the time you get back
to the action/adventure portion of the quest, a new mechanic will have been
added that presents another kind of challenge. In a move that brings back
memories of the last Ape Escape, the infamous box technique Solid Snake uses to
hide from question-mark guards can be used by Remy to avoid detection from
rat-hungry felines.

none of these features are new. But having them crammed into one
action/adventure is a very rare occurrence. Furthermore, it’s not very common
for a licensed game to have a good control scheme, but that’s another area where
Ratatouille excels. If you’ve played video games before, you can play this one.
The controls are very smooth and responsive, whether scurrying through the
sewer, across pipes, or jumping to and from the numerous platforms you’ll
encounter. There again, players will be amazed at Remy’s diversity. In addition
to his double jump and Crash Bandicoot-style tailspin attack, Remy can swing
from poles like a gymnast – or to gamers, like the Prince of Persia.


Very Worldly

worlds are large but are not without direction. Remy’s most unique feature is
his scent vision, a special ability that reveals a glowing trail to each
destination. It’s not necessary in every stage. Part of the fun of an
action/adventure is exploring. But if you get lost, forget what’s next, or just
need to verify that you’re on the right track, hold the L1 button to pick up the
scent. While viewing Remy’s version of a GPS, the camera is fully movable,
allowing you to see the trail from any angle. This adds to the seamlessness of
the experience, as players will not have to struggle to perform a move or figure
out what’s going on.

Those of you
who have seen the movie will love the world designs. Most of them are taken
directly from the film, while other locations were inspired by the story and
things that didn’t make it into theaters. Likewise, there are quite a few lines
that resemble (but are not exact to) the film’s dialogue. The scenes are played
out in CG form, but it’s a lower-quality CG that more closely matches the look
of the game, as opposed to high-quality images that match the beauty seen on the
big screen.

Remy, run!

Action/adventure camera systems come in three forms: automatic, semi-automatic,
and manual. Ratatouille goes for the latter style and achieves flawed (but
above-average) results. For the most part the camera moves very freely. Most
locations don’t have a significant restriction. But if you’re standing in
between two large objects, such as a box and a garbage can, the camera is more
likely to get stuck. You can fool with it and jump around to fix the problem, so
it’s unlikely that the average Ratatouille fan will give it much thought. (I’ve
seen the movie twice, and the theater had more teens and adults than kids both

The younger
fans, however, might find this part of the game to be very frustrating. I can’t
imagine how difficult it’s going to be for a seven-year-old who is new to gaming
and camera problems. If boredom sets in, he or she may quit before the camera
moves back into place.


Like any good
French pastry, Ratatouille is a short but sweet dessert that’ll leave gamers
hungry for more. It’s a great action game whose only significant flaws – length
and camera problems – are unlikely to keep you from enjoying this delicious

Review Scoring Details

for Ratatouille

Gameplay: 7.6
Ratatouille contains
the ingredients for action/adventure success: great worlds, great controls, good
music, cool bonuses, and a fair amount of replay value. It also has two
ingredients that could’ve been left on the shelf – the game is short and has
camera issues. The former is more damaging than the camera, which is generally
manageable. Replay value aside, there are some gamers who won’t want to spend
$40 on a game that can be finished in a couple of days.

As the console
version running at the lowest resolution, you probably wouldn’t expect
Ratatouille to look good on PlayStation 2. But the visuals, character
animations, and world environments are very appealing. The game mimics the
movie’s grand effects with memorable results.

Sound: 7.8
At least some of
Ratatouille’s tracks come from the movie. The rest, whether on the big screen
are not, are very enjoyable and have that distinct and infectious sound you’ll
be hearing for weeks after seeing the film.

Difficulty: Easy
Ratatouille is an
easy game with some slightly challenging bonus objectives. You won’t have fully
completed the game until all of the items have been collected.

Concept: 7.0
A refined collection
of numerous and traditional action/adventure gameplay mechanics.

Multiplayer: 6.5
multiplayer mini-games consist of objectives that mirror the single-player goals
(rat races, item collection, etc.) but aren’t as fun.

Overall: 7.4
The only rat you’d
ever want to have in your home. Ratatouille is an enjoyable action/adventure
rendition of the current number-one film in America (and the most entertaining
comedy of the year). Rent it for quick fun; buy it for the lasting replay value.