Booting up this game I actually had a glimmer of hope. An Activision game? Not bad, Disney! Crystal Dynamics too? They made Gex or something...that's okay! Digital Eclipse? Wait, you mean the folks who poorly port arcade games to the Xbox 360? Um.
Then, the title screen. Oh such inspiration. Just look at it. The flat blue background, the weird dithering effect on the ears, the generic "PUPPIES TO THE RESCUE" font, the poor composition in general...this title screen communicates more about the game than any essay I could write.
After hitting start, I get a cute little animation that helpfully shows me that all dalmatians are purple, and Cruella De Vil is still cruel and/or a devil.
|Purple Dalmatian vs. Yellow Pong Paddle|
|Also who the hell is doing the coloring on this? Just...why?|
|This is some decent art, actually|
|That dog is going to break its legs when it lands|
|They also make toast|
|Look at those exposed gears. Now imagine a dalmatian in them.|
I do manage to find the key, and also discover that I can bark at my enemies. I guess these puppies aren't so helpless after all, seeing as how they bark so loud that it creates visible, deadly sound waves. It disables the robot dogs and the other enemies for a few seconds, enough time to run right past them. I think honestly the enemies may just get really annoyed at the noise because it sounds like a blender on pulse mode chopping up marbles. It's awful. The animation is also hilarious while I'm running because it makes the dog hover over the ground like some sort of possessed...dog, I guess.
Weirdly, freeing a dalmatian looks a lot like exorcising a dog-shaped ghost, eager to haunt the machinery and take revenge on the workers for grinding up dalmatians to feed to their evil toy army. I'm not sure if I'm doing good work or causing innocent machinists to lose their arms. I guess we'll never know.
|The power of Walt commands you!|
After much backtracking and falling, I finally manage to free all the dalmatian-spirits in the stage. Thank god because that music was killing me.
Actually, let's take a second to talk about the music. All of the songs I heard start out listenable, a few beepy little instruments mingling at a chiptune party. Maybe drinking some punch. Then their drunk friends crash the party and start smashing bottles and throwing food on the floor. Soon the previously harmless instruments are joining in, charging into walls and doing cannonballs into the pool while screaming profanities at the top of their lungs. Then the song mercifully loops, starting at the nice part again. Of course, I've already heard the chaos I know is coming and that makes it so much worse.
Anyway, now that I've freed all of the Dalmatians, I am abruptly taken to the second stage, the creatively named Basement. Again it seems that I am supposed to find a hidden key and backtrack throughout the whole stage repeatedly to find all 8 cages. Amazing.
|Why is there a Mario pipe on the - oh nevermind who cares|
|I...just...wow. Not kid friendly.|
I guess being shocked by electricity until unconsciousness isn't enough to kill this puppy, because I still have 3 more lives. I repeat the procedure 3 more times until I'm able to finally find release from this hellish existence.
|Death is too good for you, Domino.|
As if the developers knew the reason for my untimely demise, the game over screen has absolutely no music nor sound effects. Normally, I would be offended by the lack of care put into the game, but this time I find the silence to be a welcome relief from vomiting blenders and drunken robot composers.
Then the game kicks me back to the title screen and the nightmare starts anew.
In the interest of science, I delve back into the game as the second character, Oddball, to see if there are any differences.
|Long answer: No|
So I guess that's it. There's really not much more to say, yet another uninspired licensed game created by developers who are just trying to pay the rent. I think it's telling that four companies (Disney, Activision, Crystal Dynamics, and Digital Eclipse) all had their fingers in this game. Clearly this was a game designed by a committee, a bunch of people going "what's the quickest way to get this to market?"
I can't imagine actually working on this project and feeling anything but resent or depression. I think this game is actually so bad not because of apathy, but more a combination of directed rage and negative emotions. The hateful music, the painful graphics, the insultingly simple yet still tedious gameplay all indicate a certain malice. Perhaps this game was a success at replicating the emotions felt while it was being created.
|The most important screen in the game|
The fact that you can turn the music off proves, I think, that there is mercy in this world.