March 20, 2012
Pap the Disney Gamer's
Highlights: Disney's Hercules Action Game
Developed by: Eurocom
Bless my soul! Herc was on a
roll! Undefeated! Riding High! And the nicest
guy, not conceited!
I really love Disney's Hercules.
Despite what the critics and some Disney purists
say about how the story feels like the
Superman Saga meets Rocky, and the
eclectic choices made to tell this story, I
really find it to be uplifting and just plain
fun. From the colorful art style to the very
spirited gospel music, Hercules may not be the
perfect Disney movie, but it certainly has its
share of fans. At the time of its premiere, a
video game adaptation was released to coincide
with the event: Disney's Hercules Action Game.
Unlike some of the other games
I've written about in the past, this video game
adaptation makes a lot of sense as it is a story
about grand heroics with lots of action to
experience. Developed by Eurocom (the same folks
behind the Tarzan video game), Hercules is an
action platformer where players control Hercules
as he ventures through some of the major events
of the movie. The game starts off at Phil's
training ground as he fights, runs, battles and
jumps his way to becoming a hero, allowing him
to join the gods at Mount Olympus. Hercules will
do battle with the Hydra, fight the titans and,
most importantly, survive Greece's dangerous
In addition to his super human
strength, Hercules can also use a sword to
attack incoming enemies. The majority of the
gameplay takes place on a 2D, side-scrolling
perspective (like most platformers of the time).
Where Hercules varies its execution of gameplay,
however, is that every once in a while, the
levels switch perspectives for a 3D running game
where Hercules must dodge incoming obstacles.
These levels play similarly to the famous Crash
Bandicoot games, also on the PlayStation.
Finally, Hercules can collect dolls, coins and
even Herculade (the film's take on Gatorade) to
keep him strong.
Disney's Hercules doesn't aim to
re-invent how video game adaptations are made,
but it certainly treats its license very well,
and it is quite fun to boot! Easily the best
part of the game lies in its presentation. With
Hercules the film having a lively aesthetic
(provided by the artist behind Pink Floyd's The
Wall) it is expected that any video game
adaptation should follow it through, and the
PlayStation game is no exception to the rule.
The graphics look great. It sports the hand
drawn look made famous by many Disney games of
the 90s, but taken to a new level. The
characters move very smoothly and look just like
their hand drawn film counterparts. The levels
themselves also look great, sporting the curvy
lines seen in the movie. They also have a great
mix of 2D and 3D graphics for a presentation
that looks classic and modern at the same time.
In addition to loyally following
the look of the film, the video game also
features the great Alan Menken songs. 'One Last
Hope' plays during the first level of the game,
'The Gospel Truth' begins the game, and through
it all, 'Zero to Hero' triumphantly plays. The
music is easily one of the most defining aspects
of the feature film, and I am happy to see it
being used effectively in the video game.
Finally, since this was a PlayStation game, and
at the time full motion video was becoming a
great thing to use, clips of the movie play as
the story rolls along. It's a small little
detail now in an era of high definition graphics
and video, but back then loading the game and
being treated to clips of a movie that was still
in theaters was an awesome thing to see.
Overall, Disney's Hercules is
very fun, much like the feature film that
inspired it. It never tries to truly
revolutionize how licensed games are made, but
it does takes some of the basics and creates a
great game out of it. The usage of classic
graphics on top of modern design makes the game
have an unique design choice that makes it the
best of two worlds. In addition, it looks and
sounds great! Disney's Hercules deserves to be
played at least once.