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Gamecube Reviews: Jimmy Neutron : Boy Genius


Jimmy Neutron : Boy Genius Screenshots

The Final Say!

Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius
- reviewed by Rick Thorpe
Review Date: 22 February 2003
Review Score: 3/10 
Distributor: THQ

Jimmy Neutron seemingly came from nowhere. A few 2 minute shorts in between shows on Nickelodeon has grown in a feature film, mass merchandising and now a video game inside two years. The exploits of a kid genius who makes imaginative gadgets would make a great basis for a videogame, you'd think. But then you'd think wrong, as Nickelodeon in their infinite wisdom have turned what could have been a really impressive videogame license into a horrible adventure/collection game that defines the genres worst qualities. 

Virtually every negative stereotype about licensed games could be directed at Jimmy Neutron. Incredibly weak "gameplay", bland graphics, shocking framerate and a generally poor presentation all rear their ugly head and even kids who are fans of the series are going to have a really hard time getting anything out of this game at all.

The "gameplay" involves you traipsing around various themed stages as Jimmy Neutron collecting neutrons and invention parts and other icons and entering sub levels that are usually some kind of mini-game style diversion. The control and camera don't help things, and the shoddiness of the mini-games is apparent from the outset. This is so un-fun its amazing. The mechanics involved in mini-games are mind numbingly simple and get painfully boring. 

Each one be it a race, or platform section, or even a 2D shooter (that's a complete blasphemy of the genre) seems like it was coded in half an hour and never even tested until the final release. Maybe the development team bit off more than they could chew and didn't realize until it was too late that all the gameplay engines weren't going to work, but its still no excuse. This game feels like a bad game. It feels like its working against you, not with you, and the camera is the main offender. It hides platforms from you, it lets everything obscure your vision and generally does nothing you want it to. I'm sorry, but in 2003 an effective 3D camera should not be an issue, period. 

The graphics are also a low point. For Gamecube standards its unacceptable, even if this was a Dreamcast launch title it would still be unacceptable. The world itself is made up very basic geometry that is on the whole poorly textured. Again making the licensed characters look as close to their counterparts in the show has left a modicum of polys for the world they exist in. The CG animation in the TV is show is wonderfully stylized and very colourful, neither of these traits have been implemented in the game. 

Considering how unimpressive the game looks you would assume it would at least run at a decent framerate, but this isn't the case either. The framerate takes incredible hits for no apparent reason. It looks so choppy that you think it's going to grind to a complete halt at some stages. It is so unstable that periods of smooth gameplay are a rarity, again, totally unacceptable. Other glitches like bad collision detection, pop up and tearing do happen, but aren't that common, thankfully. Still, this game's engine is easily one of the worst 3D engines I have ever seen. 

Aurally Jimmy Neutron is nothing special, sound bites using the real voices from the show help, but the music and sound effects are pedestrian and very forgettable. Most of the sound effects sound like they were culled from libraries from the original PlayStation and come off flat and low quality.

The worst part about Jimmy Neutron is that it just simply isn't fun. It's a chore, and it has very few redeeming qualities. Even a hardcore fan of the series and movie would have a hard time enjoying this game for any length of time. Nickelodeon actually had a property here that could have translated into a phenomenal videogame, surely designing a Rugrats game would be a lot more of a challenge considering the nature of the license, but the Rugrats Royal Ransom game surpasses Jimmy Neutron in every department. An incredible waste of development time and money.

- Rick Thorpe

Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com