treasure planet review

 

treasure planet review

From the PSOne version

 

treasure planet review

 

- Good Graphics

- Smooth Frame rate

- Disney bells and whistles

 

- Too short

- Too easy

- Too “been there, done that”

 

 


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Platform: Playstation 2/PSX

Developer: Disney Interactive

Publisher: SCEA

 

Genre: Platformer

MSRP: $50

ESRB: E (Everyone)

 

Release Date: Q4 2002

 

Treasure Planet

Score: 6.5 / 10

 

If someone held a gun to my head and told me to guess what genre the new Disney-licensed game would be or I’d be killed, I would have to choose platformer.  Over the years, at least eight out of every ten Disney games have been platformers—from the side-scrolling action of Mickey’s Castle of Illusion through the Rayman-engine using Tarzan.  The games have shared other traits also.  The graphics and sound tend to be above average and the movie or television show themes (while sometimes pasted on) are usually well-integrated.  At the very least, the games usually make good use of the wonderful art design of those masters at Disney.

 

Disney’s Treasure Planet fits the above template perfectly.  It is a solid platformer that is better looking than many games on the system.  It features beautiful cut scenes culled from the film itself and the cutting-room floor.  In the end, while it is un-inspiring and un-original, it is still a pretty good play.

 

If you are not interested in collecting items, do not apply here.  Treasure Planet features the most item collecting I’ve seen outside a Rare platformer.  Every level features at least two tasks that involve collecting items.  Though I often find such item collecting tiresome, it is somewhat offset in this game by the use of a Tony Hawk Pro Skater like mission structure.  Players need a progressively higher number of completed missions to open up each new level.  For the most part, players only have to complete about 60% of the missions in order to move on through the game.  This means it is possible to avoid some of the more annoying item collection and still complete the adventure.

 

Other than the straightforward platforming elements of the game, Treasure Planet features a good variety of gameplay modes.  My favorites (possibly because I’m currently going through my annual driving game addiction) are the levels that involve racing on a “solar” surfboard.  Other levels feature fun ways for the player to put their pal Morphy to use.  It is fair to think of him as a poor man’s Clank (from Ratchet & Clank).  Morphy can morph (eh…) into different items to help open sections of the level that are otherwise locked.  Often these sequences produce the highlight of otherwise bland game play.

 

treasure planet review          treasure planet review

 

The levels themselves are pretty good looking.  It is certainly a step down from Ratchet & Clank, and even Jak & Daxter, but the game does feature stunning draw distance, good lighting effects, great character design, and, as you might imagine, great animation.  Overall, Treasure Planet looks as good as or better than most of the recent PS2 offerings.

 

I had enough fun playing Treasure Planet that it might have finished up in the 7.x range if not for the level of difficulty.  The game is simply too easy.  I rarely had to repeat a level.  After I got used to timing the double-jump, deaths were rare.  With less than ten hours of game play needed to beat the game, it could have really benefited from a higher level of difficulty (and, yes, I understand that these games are aimed at younger gamers).

 

In the end, though it wasn’t a chore to play for review, it is hard to recommend Treasure Planet as a purchase.  It is a little too derivative of the better games in the genre, a little too short and a little too easy.

 

- Tolen Dante

(January 13, 2003)