Game Check

GAME CHECK

August 03, 2006|By TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

The Ant Bully

Midway Games

[Various platforms] Rated E

Honey, they shrunk the kids ... and 17 years later, somebody decided that the same concept might work well for another movie and a series of video games.

You're Lucas Nickle, a young boy guilty of torturing the residents of an anthill in your backyard. A wizard ant shrinks you down to ant size to fend for yourself.

The game follows the plot of the movie fairly faithfully. As the game progresses, Lucas takes on more ant-like traits. His strength and stamina increase, he can climb like nobody's business and he learns to communicate telepathically to call ants to his aid, building bridges, ladders and catapults to assist in the quest.

There's danger aplenty from wasps, mosquitoes, spiders and people. Weapons like a staff, a bow, a silk squirter and seed bombs help you through 18 levels.

This one is harmless fun for kids.

Over the Hedge

Activision

[Various platforms] Rated E

If you saw this delightful and hilarious animated pic, you probably thought to yourself, "This would make a great video game!"

It doesn't. Like the vast majority of games based on movies, it exists simply to suck money out of your pocket. This one is a huge disappointment.

Repetitive, mechanical and cold (even though it's designed for a younger audience), Over The Hedge doesn't even use the voice actors from the movie.

To make matters worse, without the smart-aleck humor of the movie, the critters come across as bad-natured troublemakers rather than funny little forest creatures fighting the onslaught of suburbia.

You'd think somebody would learn a lesson from all this at some point -- either the game companies who keep trying to feed us movie-license garbage, or us dumb saps who keep buying it.

News you can use

Last September, Kuma Episodic Games released Assault on Iran, an online game simulating a U.S. attack on an Iranian nuclear installation. In response, Iranian programmers launched a game of their own. Now Kuma is firing back again with Assault on Iran, Pt. 3: Payback in Iraq. But there's a twist. The game's dialogue hasn't been written yet. Instead, Kuma is seeking input on the script from gamers around the world. The final title will be released in English, Farsi and Arabic. Add your two cents at kumagames.com.

Owners of the Nintendo DS need not worry about the impending launch of the Wii. And GameCube owners will be glad to know they're not forgotten either. Later this fall, Nintendo will release The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Cube (an enhanced version will launch with the Wii). And DS gamers can look forward to a fall lineup that includes Nintendogs Dalmatian, Pokemon Ranger, Children of Mana, Yoshi's Island 2, Custom Robo Arena and Kirby Squeak Squad.

[TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES]

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