Rugrats: Search for Reptar review

Back in the 1990’s there has been more than plenty of video games based off of a cartoon program. If the show has a large fan-base it’s guaranteed that they would buy anything with its name on it. Rugrats was Nickelodeon’s most popular program on that network. The show had an audience of all ages; from little children to adults who still watches cartoons. Seeing a video game based on the show, I had to see how could a concept of little babies that have wild imaginations and the thrill for an adventure could work well in a video game…

Premise

The game follows the main character of the cartoon, Tommy Pickles, who has lost a puzzle featuring the cartoon dinosaur Reptar. So eager to finish this puzzle, he goes on a long journey of finding that all the puzzle pieces by getting his friends to tag along with his adventure. Trying to represent the public to the show, the game makes the player go through levels/challenges that was seen from the many episodes of the show. But after completing a level/challenge you’re rewarded a Reptar puzzle piece. The object of the game is to collect all the pieces and that’s the “search for Raptar” (pun intended).

Gameplay

Now this is where I have a big confusion one what type of game this is. It’s fully in 3D graphics that has platforming that are few and far between (not many as you might imagine). However it’s not quite a 3D Platformer because there aren’t really that many platforming segments offered here, but instead this game is filled with finding collectables (which are side-objects of the game) or completing mini games; which include children games to play like tag, hide and seek, mini golf, playing catch with a box of cookies and more. Other levels include taking out certain enemies like throwing objects at creepy robot clowns or collecting a specific number of objects in a certain time limit. Also there’s are occasional levels where we play a level from a character’s imagination (like Alien Space stations, hanging upside down or Reptar innovation) just to get off the dull everyday locations like parts of the house, super market, and parks. So basically this sorta-kinda 3D adventure game that focuses on mini games and missions.

In order to select a mission, the player controls a Rugrats character by moving around in Tommy’s house. You’re able to interact with any object you can find and you can explore the house from the show, but now in 3D, in search of a mission to do (mostly Tommy’s house is a hub-world). You can find a level by looking for a sparkly objects and before you press accept, it tells you what the title of the mission is and how difficult is the level. Once you select it, you watch a cutscene to see what was the cause of the mission to begin which almost gives us a subplot of the story of the game. But not all the missions are available to the player, so it’s up to you to accomplish the levels in given to the player in that order. Once you accomplish a level, you’re given an ending cut scene to see the conclusion of that level for the player’s satisfactory. Some times when you finish 2 or 3 missions, you’re given a bonus mission that’s a requirement to accomplish and you can’t skip it.

Certain missions allows the player to play as different characters from the show, Chucky, Phil, Lil, Angelica, or Spike. It doesn’t really matter what character you plays as because they all have the same controls and abilities. They can jump (not very high), pick up and throw objects, and interact with any object that allows the player to toy around with. Since you’re toddler age, you don’t have an attack button, but the only way to defend yourself from enemies is to grab an object and try to place your character facing directing at the enemy and just throw it. Pitifully, that’s the only combat the game has to offer. Be aware that even though they are babies, they can get hurt with a symbol of a bottle running out which signals how much longer till the baby breaks down and cries, instead of seeing them die (and we don’t want to see that).

Level Design

It’s really nice to see a game that opens up a traditional animated program into an interactive 3D world. You’re able to explore the house, basement, and the backyard. They do change a bit when you select a mission. But when you’re in missions that takes place out side of the house, you’re in locations like the park, supermarket, and the sewer. What I don’t like about the levels taken place out of the house is that that you’re in a freaking maze and we all know that if you can’t see over the head in a maze, you can’t see or judge where you’re going. But it’s even worse when they give you a time-limit to rush the player to get from point-a-to-b without even knowing where they’re going. The only level that is out of the house that I enjoyed was the mini golf stages which were enjoyable to say the least. But for levels that takes place in a the characters imagination, like the Space station, it actually feels like a breath of fresh air, the problem is is that there aren’t that many of them.

Presentation

Trying to capture the same feeling from the show, the game did it’s best to make everything to look like its Rugrats in 3D.  They have kept the voice actors from the show to make it feel like we’re playing these character when they speak, but annoyingly enough, just like other console games based off of an animated movie or show, since CD-rom based games can handle voice acting the programmers have the tendency to add couple of tracks for the character to say in each level and you’ll be hearing them again and again after spending a long enough time playing that level. It’s annoying to hear them say their line repeatedly making the player want to finish the level as fast as possible. As for the soundtrack, I like that there’s a variation of tone where it’s happy and campy (which is the majority of the game) and some levels that are chilling they had to give out spooky music which is quite effective. But the tracks in this game is a bit childish for my taste where they have composers playing the synthesizer to make it sound like “waa-waa” noises and not music.

Conclusion

It was interesting to try out a game that’s based on the show that I grew up with, but by the end of the day there isn’t really much to talk about. Oh sure, the show gave the player everything from the show to be interacted in 3D but the boredom of being placed in the house most of the time, not that many good levels out side of the house, pointless collecting, and a very disappointing ending there isn’t much to be excited for. When you’re done with this game, you have no real sense of accomplishment nor do you feel like coming back to it and play more. You’re dealing with children playing games with each other in a video game and searching for everyday stuff, but these are the activities that we too can do in our personal life. You have to think, why would you want to play a game that deals with everyday stuff while you can do that too in real life. Not to mention there are episodes from the show that’s actually more fun to watch instead of playing the game.

Pros:

  • Everything from the show to be in 3D.
  • Amusing cutscenes.
  • Nice Sense of Exploration.
  • Mini Golf Stage.

Cons: 

  • Boring missions.
  • Too many mazes that would want to pull your hair.
  • Sluggish controls.
  • Lack of imagination with levels.
  • Platforming is pathetic due to lack of high jump.
  • Throwing objects is hard to manage (especially when attacking enemies).
  • Anti-climatic ending.

The Top Lister’s video game score  –  2 / 5

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