Thursday, 3 September 2015

SNES game review 89: Pinocchio

Ok so it feels like time for a little bit of Disney Magic so I figured I would give Pinocchio a try. Pinocchio was developed by Virgin Studios London with assistance from Walt Disney Feature Animation it was also a pretty late game being released in 1996 near the end of the Super Nintendo’s lifespan. I remember the game getting reviews back in the day with a crazy range of anywhere from 40% to 80% I never got to play it back then as I didn’t know anyone who got it, I guess they were put off by the wild range of review scores and decided to settle on something a little more of a solid bet, either that or they had moved on to the PlayStation.

Obviously it’s based on the classic Disney cartoon of the same name and well it’s easy to tell that as soon as you put the cart in the machine and turn it on.  After the usual logos you would expect you are met with a picture of a book with Pinocchio written on it and a cool midi rendition of the song ‘’when you wish upon a stat’’. You can tell that Disney had its hands in the making of this game as Pinocchio is a very good looking game, featuring plenty of colours, lots of sprites and beautiful animation the game moves like a dream, it is about as close looks wise to a cartoon as you could imagine a game would be at the time. Pinocchio's music is basically composed of midi versions of songs from the film it’s very basic but also sounds good and really fits the mood, there are also voice clips and sound effects.

For me though it is the gameplay where Pinocchio begins to fall on its ass a bit. Basically it is a platformer. You run and you jump and you try not die. Now nothing in the controls feels horribly wrong but nothing feels brilliant either it comes across as a very by the numbers sort of thing. The game does sod all when it comes to explaining anything to you, it just leaves you to guess and hope. For example nothing tells you that you have to press up to enter arches or that you need to use sign posts to fling yourself in to the air.

This also extends to the mini games there is a Simon says style mini dancing game where you copy what the computer does so you see the things you’re supposed to copy wave the left hand then right foot and you work out which button will make you do the same but with some of the animations you click on straight away and go oh it’s the lower left limb so I will press left and down but then the dancers your copying spin in place and your left wondering what the heck to press to copy them, this then descends in to a trial and error process of trying to press anything or nothing until you do what it wants you to, this is not fun.

The game would be easy if it wasn't for it plain just not giving you any idea of where you’re supposed to go. It made me Jiminy cricket and put me on a platform in the middle of nowhere with no explanation and after falling off a few times and wondering what the heck I was doing I just decided to murder any and all insect life that flew near to my platform with a few lamps on and this turned out to be the answer, this is what it wanted me to do, it wanted me to become the cricket serial killer, thanks for the heads up on that one game.

This game is basically a pretty but dull game, if it was on another system it might have got an easy pass but look at the machine we are talking about here the Super Nintendo. The SNES was released alongside one of the best 2D Platformers of all time. I think this game gets a 5 out of 10, it is though a dull game, it’s so neither good nor bad that it is in some ways totally boring, is it better than the last Disney Game I reviewed beauty and the beast yes, is it more frustrating though because it feels like it could have been more? Hell Yes. Give this game a miss and just watch the film. If you are burning with a desire to own it though a cart only pal version tends to go for between £6 to £10, sure you will see some rip of merchants trying to get more for it but you shouldn’t have any issues finding it in that price range, again though there are much better uses of your cash.

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