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Platform

PSP

 

Genre

Mini-Games

 

Publisher

Crave Entertainment

 

Developer

Crave Entertainment

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2008

 

 

- Emulates the bizarre humor of the movie quite nicely

- Unique visual style

 

 

- A good number of the mini-games are pretty bad

- You need to appreciate the humor to really "get" it

 

 

Review: Pocket Pool (PSP)

Review: Call of Duty: Roads to Victory (PSP)

Review: PaRappa the Rapper (PSP)

 

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Napoleon Dynamite: The Game

Score: 6.0 / 10

 

Quite frankly, I'm amazed that this game exists. Why create a tie-in to Napolean Dynamite, an exceedingly strange movie about a bunch of social misfits? And furthermore, why three years after the movie was released? Granted, very few probably expected that the flick would reach the goofy cult status that have led a generation of kids to deck themselves out in "Vote for Pedro" t-shirts, but it seems almost impossibly deranged.

 

napoleon dynamite          napoleon dynamite

But how would one actually create a video game based off of Napolean Dynamite, which takes place in the sprawling boring lands of Utah and featured absolutely no action whatsoever? While I can dream of a Lucasarts-style point n'click (it worked for Beavis and Butthead all of those years ago), the more straightforward answer is to make a mini-game collection loosely based on the events of the movie.

 

So there's a few rhythm based dancing segments. There's one where you need to feed ham to Tina the Llama, all while dodging her spit. You can throw footballs

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with Uncle Rico, which is like a Track and Field event. You can hunt wolverines in Alaska , so you can actually see one of Napoleon's most boastful claims come to life. You can ride unicorns in through outer space and shoot bad guys, which feels like an old school side scrolling shoot-em-up, albeit a very simplistic one. Of the thirty games or so in this collection, these are some of the better ones.

 

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But naturally, the quality wildly varies from one to another. One event in particular, where you need to create a time machine by assembling randomly generated blocks into a rectangle, is so frustrating that I swear the game simply gave up and let me win after numerous attempts. The Happy Hands game is a simple test of short tem memory The dodgeball game has potential, but ultimately controls rather poorly. The tetherball game makes almost no sense at all, especially since the timing is so extraordinarily off. Some of them simply go on way too long - when a single round would do, the game asks that you play three.

 

napoleon dynamite          napoleon dynamite

 

What really makes these games so amusing is the slapdash appearance of the graphics, along with the completely inane (and repetitively grating) elevator background music. The characters consist of a digitized face with a body that may as well be made of construction paper - the look isn't that far off from South Park . The backgrounds are a pastiche of photos and drawings from Napoleon's bizarre artistic styling, held together with scotch tape or thumb tacks. Each stage begins and ends with some very short (unvoiced) quotes from the movie. All of it seems so completely tripped out, and yet it perfectly emulates the absurdity of the movie.


As a game, it's a little bit hard to recommend this, especially considering that it's basically just an assemblage of Flash-style games, the kind you could play for free on a movie promo site.  And yet its premise is so bizarre, its humor so spot on, that it's hard to totally dislike it if you're a fan of the movie. It retails for $20, and can be found bundled with other, less humorous shovelware. At that price, it actually fulfills its purpose as a gift for a friend. In short, the game sprays the words "SWEET!" when you lose, and "GOSH!" when you lose - if this makes you giggle a little bit, you might find this to be an amusing diversion.

 

- Kurt Kalata

(February 25, 2008)

 

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