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A.P.I Review: A Bug's Life
Developer: Disney Interactive OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Sony SCEA 1 Player
Game Type: 3rd Person Adventure Memory Card
Review Date: December 1998 Dual Shock/Analog Compatible

Setting the Scene

Ever wonder what it would be like to be bug...more specifically an ant?
Well Sony's new title, A Bugs Life is here and offers to give gamers a
glimpse into the life and times of one little ant named Flik.  

It seems that Flik is a rather spastic, but brilliant little ant that is
constantly coming up with all sorts of new and potentially dangerous ideas.
This particular story is about one of Fliks inventions that went terribly
wrong.  You see, each year the ants at Ant Island try to harvest food for
the upcoming winter months, yet each year a swam of grasshoppers, let by a
mean SOB named Hopper, come storming through and steal all of the ants food.
In an effort to make enough food for both the ants and the grasshoppers,
Flik creates a "harvester" machine.  Of course, the machine doesn't work
quite right and ends up destroying the entire ant crop.  Now the ants are
ticked off because all of their hard work has been ruined and the
grasshoppers are pissed because all of their food is gone.  As the
grasshoppers are leaving they tell the ants that they will be back at the
end of the season and now they expect double the food!

Trying to figure out how to help the ants out the mess he just got them
into, Flik decides to go on an adventure to find bugs that are bigger than
the grasshoppers and bring them back to help defend Ant Island.

Being a bug must really suck though...I mean, all of the perils that go
along with being that tiny and at the low end of the food chain and all.
Check it out, you have to watch for all sorts of things that are looking to
add you to their menu or just to stomp you out of existence completely.   

A Bug's Life places you squarely into the husk of one would be bug
hero...for better or worse, you dang well better try to start thinking like
a bug or it's off to the ant cemetery you go!


A Bug's Life is an adventure laden title played out from a third ant


Startling panoramic views go a long way in giving you the perception of
playing through a wonderful 3D world from the vantage point of a 1-inch tall

I found the graphics to be very much like those found in Spyro, with nicely
animated characters as well as backgrounds that are in constant motion.
It's amazing just how much power the little Playstation has in it to produce
such wonderfully vivid surroundings.

There are also some nice CG cut scenes that play out in between levels to
help progress the plotline. 

Sounds and Effects

Pretty good sound effects and music that mimic the actual movie quite nicely
are abundantly dished out in A Bug's Life.  The music has a rather
universal, almost "New Age" sound to it that fits in perfectly with this
kind of game.  Personally, I don't particularly enjoy this kind of music but
I can appreciate the way it blended in with the overall scheme of the

Sound effects are amusing, with neat little splats when throwing berries
connect with an enemy and the rather soothing voice of Flik giving his
impressions on the surroundings.


A Bug's Life puts gamers in control of an onscreen ant named Flik.  Full
analog control is supported as you navigate this little pipsqueak through
his perilous journey.  I am now completely convinced that programmers have
figured out how to present and execute a very satisfying 3D environment on
the Playstation.  Gex and Croc where the first games that really stepped
outside the box and made people realize that Mario style games were indeed
possible on that little gray box.  Now it seems that every month one or two
new 3D-style games are making their way to market to grace the PSX, with A
Bug's Life being the latest.  

Being based on a movie I immediately get a wheezy feeling in my gut. I mean,
how many successful "movie to game" conversions can you think of?  I'm
willing to bet not many.  Take that into account and then add the fact the a
Bug's Life (the movie) was created with some of the most cutting edge state
of the art silicon available today and you've got the potential for a real
video game conversion nightmare here.    

Surprisingly the graphics, while certainly no comparison to the movie, are
very well realized.  The problems begin though when you try moving Flik
about.  I found that the analog control left a bit to be desired, as I just
couldn't seem to get into the zone throughout the entire game.  Camera
tracking was fine and there is even a manual override feature that requires
the push of a shoulder button, but I just found it too frustrating to get
the character to walk a straight line or to pull off some of the more
intricate moves.

The game consists of you moving Flik along in his adventure through 15
interactive environments that play out similar to the movie.  The
environments are actually sub levels for each of the 5 lands that you will
visit.  In order to be permitted to leave one land and begin the next, you
must first defeat the boss character for that land.  I found the bosses to
be pretty good and provided a decent enough challenge...definitely getting
harder as you progress to the later areas of the game. 

In order to defeat your opponents you heave berries at them.  You start the
game with some crappy red berries that require several hits to kill even the
minor enemy bugs and cannot kill some off the stronger bugs no matter how
many red berries you whack them with.  Luckily there are all different kinds
of colored berries placed throughout the land for you to find, from blue to
green to purple to the ultimate golden berries.  

In your journey to meet new bug friends to bring back to Ant Island, you can
certainly elect to take the beaten path and finish the game.  But for those
adventurous ones, there are tons of hidden paths and things to find.  Take
for instance grain...on each level there is a set amount of these tokens to
find and pick up.  Once you've collected all of them for that level, you get
a grain token and full health!  There are also Flik tokens scattered
about...find the letters and spell out Flik and get yourself an extra life.
You can also elect to wipe out all of the enemies on a given level to
receive the Enemy token. 

The gameplay strategy is pretty cool, as you must figure out where to use
seed power to grow a plant or leaf and where to use mushrooms to bounce onto
raised ledges.  All of your icons, for growing things, how much grain
collected, health, etc., are neatly displayed on screen by pressing the
Select button.  Finally you will occasionally find Dewdrop Telescopes.  When
you find one of these, look through it to find hidden items or the exit
location of that level.      

Value for Money

A Bugs Life offers up a pretty good value.  It's one of those games that you
can attempt to zip right through just finish or continue to go back to it
and try to find all of the hidden items that are strewn about the game.  

The levels are pretty diverse and challenging and should hold players
interest long enough to complete the game at least once, if not multiple
times to see if you can find everything that's in there.
GRAPHICS: 19/20 A Bug's Life to be quite honest bugged me. I mean I loved the graphics, thought the sound was okay and was impressed with the games overall strategy... but I just could not quite get into the zone while playing through it. This is really probably more of a personal thing than a problem with the game itself though, as it really does flow along quite nicely, it just wasn't my mug of brew.

At any rate, a Bugs Life plays out very similar to the movie and offers gamers a true bugs eye view on life. After playing this game I will certainly have a bit more respect for these little critters before I stomp on 'em next time.
SOUND: 7/10
VALUE: 16/20


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