Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone






Based on the animated movie, SCEA’s licensed title Disney/Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. Scream Team for the Playstation does a great job in capturing the essence and fun of the flick and is a decent game in its own right. Its aimed at the younger crowd but still offers an enjoyable experience for the younger player. As outlined in the game’s opening, you can play as either of two surprisingly lovable monsters who dwell in childrens’ closets since its their job - nothing personal. Each of these characters are trying to win a place in the prestigious Monsters, Inc. corporation as pro-monster. For those who haven’t seen the movie yet, the big blue furry guy is named Sulley while his companion, a small green creature with one eye is named Mike. Each of these characters has their own abilities as well as strengths and weaknesses so players will find themselves switching back and forth throughout the adventure.

The game itself is set on the Monsters, Inc. Scare Island and your goal is to get through the training levels and earn the right to be a full-fledged monster. The game slowly unfolds as players go through an extended, somewhat long orientation session where they learn the basics of the game. Basically, you collect ooze and must scare the little robot children, called Nerves. Scaring the nerves requires you to perform a series of moves on another screen. This is really effectively implemented and is easy to understand. Plus, some of the scare animations are hilarious making this probably the most enjoyable part of the game. However, things aren’t quite that simple as each nerve is a different color and you need to collect enough ooze to get your scare meter high enough to perform these moves. This is a bit easy in the early going and the extended training session gets tedious in a hurry. However, patience is definitely a virtue in this case. Once these training sessions have been completed, Monsters, Inc.’s adventure really begins.

Once you are through the orientation mission, you set out on the island itself and this is where things get a bit complicated. Having mastered the basic abilities, you now must face off against roaming toys which will try to attack you. Fortunately, you can destroy them as well but can’t take a lot of damage or you lose a life. Making your life easier, there are a variety of power-ups such as food for extra energy and attack items. The other thing you need to worry about are the monster tokens, which are scattered around each level, some of which are difficult to get at. Collecting these monster tokens enables you to collect medals, these are important because they unlock secret areas and the racing challenge where you can earn additional upgrades to your abilities. Aside from this, the game is fairly straightforward platforming action, which is good since its familiarity should allow most players to jump right in the action, though you have to slog through the initiation first.

On the bright side, the game is quite a bit longer than expected. There are 15 levels in all and each one is quite large which plenty of secret areas, hidden switches and other tasks to complete. Finishing each level with a medal is the most challenging task, since you are only awarded medals after you scare a certain number of Nerve robots, while the toys will constantly get in your way. Still, the gameplay is fairly simple and yes, a bit on the easy side, but given the target audience, this is appropriate. It shouldn’t take an experienced player long to get through the game and the standard controls and action-points shouldn’t really be much of an obstacle to enjoying the title.

Obviously, in a game such as this, the real appeal is the ability to play as famous characters and Monsters, Inc. Scream Team does a fairly good job of recreating the feel and humor of the movie. All the major and supporting characters are featured throughout the game and its atmosphere remains faithful to the film throughout. One problem though is the in-game graphics which suffer from excessive pop-in and polygonal breakups – it’s not that the game looks bad, but that Monsters Inc. could have looked much better. On the other hand, the voice-overs and acting are just as good as you’d expect given the source material and a lot of the cinema sequences are quite entertaining. For the most part, it stays true to the feel of the movies and doesn’t really feature any huge surprises. The game’s controls are pretty good as well and do an adequate job for this type of game. Above-average production values make this feel much closer to a movie than you’d expect, though the camera movements are a little bit quirky.

So while Monsters, Inc. won’t win any awards for originality or innovation, it’s a solid title that captures the essence of the movies. It’s got solid production values, fits the feel of the movies and is a decent game in its own right. While Monsters, Inc. is a bit generic in the gameplay department, it has large levels and some variety. This all makes it a solid effort from SCEA. So don’t worry, this is a decent game for what it is though highly entertaining when you’re scaring one of the Nerves and laughing at the goofy moves the monsters make. While older gamers may find themselves a bit bored, the young gamers and young-at-heart gamers will enjoy this fun game’s mix of action and puzzle solving.

- Michael Palisano