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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Adventure/Platformer

 

Publisher

Eidos

 

Developer

Core Design

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q2 2002

 

- Excellent Graphics
- Even more excellent music
- Ambitious attempt at a new form of platformer

 

 

- Horrid Camera
- Weak dialogue and voice acting

 

 

Review: Ratchet and Clank (Playstation 2)

Review: Starfox Adventures (Gamecube)

 

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Herdy Gerdy

Score: 6.5/10

 

It has always been a dream of mine to sit around a table with a bunch of talented developers who are brainstorming for a new idea.  Witnessing the birth of Seaman must have been something special to behold. Picture 12 red headed Japanese techies hopping up and down shouting in unison "himono san!" (Mr. Fish), truly special stuff.  Of course the farther west you get, naturally the more dull things become.  Enter Herdy Gerdy, a watered down westernized Seaman, ..wait ..that's not right.  I take that back, it's nothing like Seaman.  It's actually like nothing else ever before conceived. It's new, it's fresh, it is ruined by a faulty camera!

 

herdy-gerdy-1.jpg (19709 bytes)          herdy-gerdy-2.jpg (30814 bytes)


Eidos first announced Herdy Gerdy long before PS2 became bonafied.  At the time PS2 was in search of the "killer app" that would save it from the coming onslaught of the big N and bigger M.  Core Design delivered screen shots of a graphically sharp innovatively conceived title centered around herding.


Hmmm, herding huh?  Incredibly, the herding aspect of Herdy Gerdy is as well thought out and exciting as any mission or goal found on a platformer to this day. 
Gerdy, our pint sized hero, wakes one day to find his father, the master herder, fast asleep.  Attempting to wake his father reveals to Herdy that it's going to take something real potent to get him up.  Drama builds as Gerdy realizes that his father is in danger of missing the island's annual herding competition. It is soon found that a spell has been put on Gerdy's father with the intention of keeping him out of the tournament.  The only way that Gerdy can wake his father is to get to the tournament, and win.  A simple premise, to say the least, told in simple dialogue with even simpler voice acting, in place only to get the game going.  Thankfully it gets going quickly and maintains a steady even pace throughout.  Gerdy's first herding job is to round up what will become the most plentiful creature on the island, doops.  To get doops to move into their respective pens they require that you get behind them and run, they in turn will run in that direction, away from you. Traversing the land with these purple critters ahead is no easy feat.  They have the tendency to branch off if you don't guide them properly, and regrouping them is more tedious than shucking corn (my roots are unearthed!).

 

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On his travels through the Terra Incognita, Gerdy encounters many more species of vermin all which must be herded into some sort of pen.  Each animal expresses clearly what its likes and dislikes are, for example, doops hate water, bleeps love to fly etc..With this in mind it should become clear which are the best routes in getting your critter to it's pen.  There is a map provided covering each locale to help in your navigation, though they are all

 pretty shoddy, and tend to get in the way more than anything. Thankfully the map can be brought up and closed on the fly, providing relief when needed.

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The graphics and sound in Herdy Gerdy are excellent and keep the atmosphere enjoyable.  Most games of this nature (of which there are none I must emphasize) tend to bog down and become extremely boring after a short while, however HG's combination of fresh scenery and lively music provides a ideal ambiance with which to play out the game.  At one point the music had me so enthralled that I sat transfixed at the level select screen for a good 5 minutes.  This hearkens back to the days of Sonic CD where I would pause the game and crank the stereo for background music while doing whatever 13 year olds do.  Music is crucial to keeping a game entertaining, and Herdy Gerdy delivers in this department.

 

herdy-gerdy-4.jpg (60600 bytes)          herdy-gerdy-31.jpg (56420 bytes)


Alright I've stalled long enough, lets discuss the camera issues.  I believe it was Confucius who stated, "If camera is not workable, game is not playable". This very true statement causes Herdy Gerdy to lose the majority of its credibility because (drum roll)... the camera doesn't work.  Nearly every level has tall structures which at every turn obstruct you're field of vision.  Though there are three different camera angles you can select, they automatically switch to give you what should be the best view.  This best view, however, is non-existent.  On some of the levels, particularly the earlier, less populated ones, the camera is not so much an issue.  Yet later, when levels become more complex they also become virtually un-navigable.


The camera is the unfortunate third strike to what should be a ground breaking killer app.  Herdy Gerdy has the charm and atmosphere to keep a gamer, albeit an open minded one, occupied for a good while. However it lacks the crucial elements of gameplay and camera to create an appeal that will last through the weekend.

- Tolkiemingway

 

(April 9, 2002)

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