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Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge
Score: 89%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Buena Vista
Developer: Capcom
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:
Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge fits the style set forth by the cult classic movie perfectly. Not only does the general look of the world fit the claymation style, but also specific areas that were found in the film appear as perfect duplicates of the the movie's set.

Each of the characters resemble their film counterparts perfectly. Both the in-game and pre-rendered versions of the cast come off exactly like they did on the silver screen. Everyone from Jack to Oogie to Dr. Finkelstein and Sally comes off true to the license.

Audio is the game's other shining point. Since the movie was a musical, it makes sense for the continuation of the story to be a musical as well. So how do you make an action/adventure title be a musical?

Well you start by having a great score. Most of the music found in the game fits the bill and complements the movie's style, outside of that -- when you enter into a boss battle, Jack and your foe will (typically) be singing at each other as they trade blows. This plus the rhythm mini-game that crops up during boss battles makes the experience that much closer to a musical movie.

Tim Burton's new nightmare takes place about a year after the movie. Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge starts off with Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King and person in charge of making Halloween scary, for those of you who don't know, deciding that he needs something more (again). When he goes off to explore new possibilities, the terrible threesome, Lock, Shock and Barrel decide to bring back Jack's enemy, Oogie Boogie.

When our hero returns, he finds Halloween Town overrun by bad guys and Oogie claiming rulership. But that's not all, Oogie isn't satisfied with just this holiday. He wants to rule them all. Now our skinny hero must save all the holidays (Christmas, Easter, Valentine's, etc) and put things right.

Not only will you have Jack's new weapon, the Soul Robber, at your disposal, but you will also be able to put on two costumes that will give Jack a whole new set of attacks. These costumes include the Pumpkin King and Santa Jack.

The Soul Robber is a green shape-shifting blob that hangs on Jack's hand. He can use it to kill or taunt enemies, block attacks, and various other moves. This will be your main form of attack. The Pumpkin King suit allows Jack to spit fire and Santa Jack throws various presents that can blast your enemy with an arctic wind or scare them.

I mentioned earlier that boss battles were filled with singing and a rhythm mini-game. Basically, when you get into a boss fight, every blow you land causes musical notes to fly from your opponent(s). Collecting these notes builds up a meter. Fill the bar and you will enter Dance Mode. Here, you need to hit the face buttons at the right time --the more you get right, the more powerful the attack will be.

A few things worth mentioning -- all in all, the game doesn't necessarily offer a wide variety of action. Most of the time, you will work your way through an area beating up skeletons and other baddies, until you face off against a boss like one of Oogie's forms or Lock, Shock and Barrel. Though I can see people complaining about redundant gameplay, I never really got bored with what Oogie's Revenge had to offer.

Another point that caught my eye while playing through this game was the fact that even though you have an unlimited number of continues, each time you do come back to life, you will find that a percentage of your collected souls will have been forfeited. I thought this was a great idea, especially since most games these days give absolutely no penalty for continues. Alas, long gone are the days of one-hit deaths and only three lives.

Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge has three difficulty settings: Easy, Normal and Nightmare. On average these modes are pretty dead on. You will find enemies harder to take out in the higher settings and you will find more pickups (like the pumpkin shield present for Santa Jack) in the lower difficulty rankings.

On normal mode, I was able to plow through the non-boss challenges without breaking a sweat, but when it came to the song-and-dance fights, they typically took three or four attempts.

Game Mechanics:
Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge lets you do a wide variety of actions while keeping it simple enough to use no matter which costume or mode you are in.

In your normal Jack Skellington suit, the Soul Robber can be used as a whip with a simple tapping of the Square button. You can pick up your enemy and slam them with the Triangle, while holding down that button before attacking creates the Soul Cycle and does even more damage. This attack allows you to not only hit enemies all around you, but also deflect attacks like flying boxes.

As the Pumpkin King, Jack can shoot fire from his mouth with a tap of the Square button while the Triangle causes rings of fire to spread in all directions. Santa Jack throws presents. Each gift has a different effect. For instance, the Scared Stiff present stuns your opponents while the Cold Front present may freeze the enemy.

If you're a fan of Nightmare Before Christmas, then this is the game you've been looking for. This takes the license that has generated a cult following and beautifully puts it in the interactive world. Fans of the Action/Adventure genre will also find this game a nice challenge, though it does get a little repetitive, so if you aren't into the story, then you might want to keep away.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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