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Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Developer: Eurocom
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Platformer (3D)

Graphics & Sound:
At first glance, the idea of another Disney movie videogame tie-in often leads to a collective groan in the gaming community. Movie tie-in games, in general, don't have a good reputation, and those associated with kids' movies are typically even worse. Thankfully, G-Force comes through as a nice, solid action-platformer piece that will provide quite a few hours of fun gameplay.

The big gimmick that is attached to G-Force is the 3D glasses. The movie itself was in the new style of 3D that looks really good and have been spreading across films all over America. But since most home televisions can't support that kind of signal (though there are exceptions), when a 3D feature is brought home, it is still restricted to the red/blue glasses style of 3D, and the ability to turn that on in this game is also there. Fortunately, that feature can be toggled on and off with a few clicks in the Pause Menu. I started the game off with this feature turned on, but with most 3D features of this style, I found that while it was an okay effect, it wasn't nearly as good as the style seen on the big screen. After about a half-hour, I started getting a headache from the effect and was forced to turn it off and play the game in the boring, old 2D fashion that I am usually regulated to. But that's really okay, because while it is nice, it feels like little more than a gimmick and truthfully, turning on this mode darkens the screen, the colors go a little off and the game in the standard mode looks too good on its own to lessen it like this.

As far as the graphics outside of the gimmick are concerned, everything looks really good. I was surprised by how well characters like Darwin and Hurley looked, both in cut-scenes and in-game (though characters other than Darwin and Mooch are hardly seen in-game), and the buildings that Darwin must infiltrate and scamper around in are both well-designed and look great. One interesting note was how many people that walked in on me playing G-Force thought the game looked simply amazing, and I have to agree. Much kudos for the visuals in this game, and while it isn't ultra-realistic, it doesn't need to be to get the job done.

Sam Rockwell and Jon Favreau reprise their roles as Darwin and Hurley (respectively) in the game, while the other names from the movie are nowhere to be seen. Bill Nighy makes an appearance as the villain, Saber, but that isn't until late in the game. But that's fine, Hurley himself shows up rarely in the game as Darwin is your playable character and, for the most part, the other members of G-Force come through as voices that help guide you through the missions. From what I could tell, the replacement voice actors did a fairly good job standing in for the rest of the team and people who liked the movie shouldn't be disappointed by the lack of the full, original cast.

Saber is up to no good again, and this time, the G-Force Team (which now includes Hurley), will have to go through the Saber offices and production facility, as well as FBI headquarters and even into space to stop him from weaponizing all of his company's appliances and gaining control over everyone. As Darwin, you will run and gun your way through massive complexes trying to stop the production of these new menacing household terrors (while fighting them off, of course), and besides the little fly, Mooch, as your constant companion and means of reconnaissance, all you will have to help you is your weapons (which you get more of as the game progresses).

I was pretty pleased with the variety of enemies in this game, and that variety is one of the aspects that really made it enjoyable. It allowed the developers to come up with some pretty interesting rooms that not only require you to be fast on your feet and with your trigger finger, but even mentally quick. Besides your normal assortment of enemy types, like the small, easy-to-kill ones that swarm you (made from computer mice), the bigger, slower ones that pack a punch (made from food processors) and the quick ones that can dodge your attacks (CD players), there are also motion-sensors that shoot lasers at you, paper shredders that are invulnerable to all but the motion-sensor lasers, and satellite dishes that are used to project impregnable walls of energy.

This variety of enemies created rooms where a chain of satellite dishes were protecting each other and eventually protecting a food processor that doled out massive hurt, so you had to find the one that was at the beginning of the chain and take it out. Of course, with each dish you destroyed, you would be faced with a new wave of grunts (all the while being pelted with some kind of slime from the processor). Other scenarios involved having to activate the motion-sensors and dodge both its laser and the shredders until you could get it to fire at the shredder. Sometimes you could use the fact that the motion-sensor's lasers bounced off glass (not really sure how) to stay safe from both enemies while lining up the friendly fire. These are just a couple of examples of how the variety of enemies present in G-Force made for some pretty interesting scenarios, and once you get the Nano-Hacker weapon, and thus the ability to turn enemies against each other, the fun just gets better.

I briefly mentioned Mooch earlier, but his role in the game deserves a bit more. Mooch can be sent out at any time to go flying around the room. With the exception of red-lasers, fan-blades and bug-zappers (that pull you in to keep you from going into areas the developers didn't want you to), he is pretty much invulnerable. He becomes a very handy asset to do some early recon work or zip into vents that Darwin can't reach or get into. These vents usually lead into rooms Darwin can see, but the door is locked. With Mooch in the room, a little zap on the control panel opens the door right up for our hero guinea pig. Mooch has a couple of other abilities as well - besides being able to pick up collectibles and items that Darwin can't reach, he can also slow down time so you can make it between fan blades, or even at one point see a combination that spins too fast for the normal eye to read. When I first started playing, I got the impression that this little fly wouldn't be very useful and would be little more than a gimmick, but he is as integral a character as Darwin himself and, while he doesn't get quite as much play time, you do end up using him a lot.

G-Force has a good balance as far as difficulty is concerned. Sticking to the Normal difficulty setting gave me a solid challenge that allowed me to make steady progress through the game without too many issues. In fact, the only times I died were in a few rooms that were simply covered in enemies, but even those were rare. The only time I lost all my lives and had to restart from the checkpoint with all the enemies revived was in rooms with a lot of platforming action, and not because of the enemies themselves. The easier setting was, as the name promised, much easier to get through and I was able to make progress much faster, while the hardest setting impeded my progress a lot more. It still wasn't so challenging as to cause frustration. Since this is a game geared towards younger gamers, these subtle variations should appeal to a good variety of those young players and the kid's temperament is all that really needs to be taken into account as far as what setting to start them off on. Like I said, there weren't any truly frustrating points (except for a room in the Assembly Lines area that required I jump from hanging platforms and one false landing meant a lost life), but there are some places where patience and planning are required in order to progress.

Game Mechanics:
G-Force uses a fairly simple, but effective upgrade system that adds a bit of depth to the game, but nothing so complicated that it could confuse younger gamers. Throughout the levels, there are silver discs. These discs unlock new upgrades (more ammo for a weapon, better range for Mooch, etc.) and these upgrades can be purchased at vending machines also scattered about. You pay for the upgrades with Saber Chips that are left behind by destroyed enemies and found in the boxes that litter the levels, and for the most part, a diligent and somewhat-thorough player should never really run into any funds issues when seeking to buy a new upgrade or fill up their ammo with these vending machines. However, the more upgrades you accrue, the more expensive the next ones are (as you would expect), so if you find you use a gun less than another, you might not want to buy the ammo upgrades for that one as much just to be sure. These kiosks also let you refill your health bar in case you've come across a large number of enemies (or expect to soon) and don't have any boxes to destroy. Like I said, it's a simple system, and it is far from original, but it works well in the setting, and the upgrades (as well as new weapons) are paced out just right to make you appreciate each one.

In the end, G-Force is a very appealing game. Parents with kids who loved the movie should have nothing to worry about as far as quality or quantity of gameplay. Each level takes quite a bit of time to go through and a good save point system means dying isn't too bad. Older gamers should find this game pretty enjoyable as well, but if you had no interest in the movie, I doubt this game will be very appealing to you, though you only need passing knowledge of the film to understand the game's story.

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

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