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Gamer Tuesday

March 20, 2012

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights: Disney's Hercules Action Game

Developed by: Eurocom

System: PlayStation

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 streets.

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.

 

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