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XBox Reviews: Grabbed by the Ghoulies

 

Grabbed by the Ghoulies Screenshots

 

The Final Say!

Gameplay
7.5
Graphics
8.9
Sound
8.0
Value
7.0

Grabbed by the Ghoulies
 - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Score: 7.0/10 
Not based on an average
Distributed By: Microsoft

There was a lot riding on this title with it being the first for XBox from esteemed developer Rare, the team behind Banjoe Kazooe, Goldeneye and Starfox Adventures. Purchased by Microsoft, expectations were high as it's a known fact that Rare do not compromise on their titles and that quite frankly is the reason they've enjoyed the success they have on the Nintendo consoles.

 

Has this title lived up to the others that came before it? Unfortunately I do not think so, however that said, it's still a fun game that should keep players busy for hours on end.

 

The storyline itself is pretty damn simple and doesn't really stretch any boundaries as far as imagination goes. Your girlfriend is captured in a haunted house and you have to get her back. It won't revolutionise gaming storylines or the way you view games but it's a surefire way to start a fun adventure.

 

The game itself reminded me in ways of Luigi's Mansion on the GameCube with the way that challenges are presented, however Ghoulies is different in that you simply cannot progress if you don't finish the task that is presented to you as the room or section you are in will seal itself until the job is done.  A nice addition to the challenge which is fun in and of itself is that there are rules to each challenge that are to be followed very stringently or your main nemesis, the Grim Reaper is set loose to get you. This in itself puts a twist on the game because you may be trying to complete a challenge and accidentally release the Reaper and whilst avoiding him, still have to try to complete the task at hand. A nice touch but one that can prove to be very frustrating.

 

Controls on the game are also problematic at times with the game attempting to help players with an enemy lock on that will fix the hero Cooper onto the nearest threat or thing that need attention. The problem with this setup is frankly that when you are trying to escape or just get somewhere quickly, Cooper will stall as the game tries to lock onto an item or creature that it thinks you should be paying attention to. For the most part, it's not a problem however there were a number of times that it really was a pain and inconvenience. As far as fighting the monsters, it was a simple matter of navigating with the left stick and letting my right analog stick do the talking. It's as simple as pointing the stick in the direction of the enemy and Cooper will automatically attack.

The game has a cell shaded look that I found to be quite unique and no one could argue that the title doesn't look wonderful. Background images did take me back to a Luigi's Mansion type scenario, however the monsters and Cooper himself belie that idea. Their animations are fluid and some of the attacks are downright hilarious. Hilarity in a horror title? That's right, don't think of Ghoulies as a game to hide from the kids as it's scary in a Scooby Doo kind of way, nothing every really threatening with the exception of the Grim Reaper who is going to prove to be a real thorn in your side.

I'd be recommending that if you are playing through the title to allow Cooper to stand there for a while without moving him as his idle animations are really funny and you will get to see him pick his nose and eat it, as well as scratch his butt. Chocolate coated pretzel anyone?

I found that during a number of battles that the game also experienced a bit of framerate problems that slowed down the pace of the title a bit and were somewhat annoying. On the positive side though, there are so many items that can be used as weapons that it is amazing. Almost anything can be used to great effect in getting rid of the bad guys and you'll have a bit of fun doing it as well. Interaction with ghoulies and items also showed us a lot of different graphical effects on display that were impressive, it's just that not everything gels overall to give us the gameplay experience that I was hoping for.

Finally to wrap up the game and this review is audio. Audio was exactly what I had expected and not a lot more. The title uses a nice score to add to the atmosphere and adds a rickety feeling of humour to the horror title. Overall the whole game is fun, but I would definitely suggest renting this one before parting with ninety odd bucks on something that may not float your boat. So a cautious recommendation on this one as it will disappoint some players.

Enjoy!

- Tory Favro

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