playstation homepage   Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review
PlayStation Game and Hardware Reviews




Screenshot No.1
Screenshot No.2
Screenshot No.3



Get your PSX games HERE!






Virgin Interactive

1 Player

Game Type


Mem. Card

Review Date

Sept 1997

Level Password

Setting the Scene

Whoa! What have we here...Yes, it's a video game that has actually been released simultaneously with a movie! No, I'm not talking about Lost World...The game is called Hercules, and it's based closely on the new Disney animated movie of the same name.

The game is of the 2D platform variety somewhat similar to the old Aladdin game that was released years ago on the old Genesis console (same developers too I believe). What Hercules does to try and set itself apart from the garden variety of 2D platformers is to through in some quasi 3D elements that the company calls z-axis motion. It's very similar to the levels in Crash Bandicoot where your character walks or runs in and out of the screen.

Anyway, I'll cover all of that further on in the read on, you don't want to anger the mighty Zeus!


Hercules is a 2½D platformer.


Well, being that Disney had it's hands all over this title, I was expecting high-quality graphics and animation at the very least. Guess what...I was not disappointed! What you have here is some of the most colorful hand drawn graphics to grace a console system. Everything is done in vibrant pastels and shades. The character animation is flawless and the background is always busy with movement and action. The game actually feels like you are playing the movie. For those not playing, it's like watching the movie!

The hand-drawn characters react quite comically at times, stumbling here...making funny expressions there, yet you always feel like you are in control of your environment and the game itself. A great many "stills" must have been utilized in the animation sequences to get this sort of movement and it really pays off. The only real graphical glitches that I detected was in the scenes where Hercules is running into the screen...the character tends to pixelate slightly on occasion. This doesn't detract from the gameplay, but it was something I thought worth mentioning.

There are also multiple cut screens that utilize high quality animation sequences that look to be taken directly from the movie itself. The opening sequence is particularly stunning and well worth a watch.

All in all what you have here is a game that looks like you are playing in a real Disney film. Quite an accomplishment.

Sounds and Effects

Actually character voices from the movie are used in this game. In fact, it's one of the only games based on a movie, that actually had a special script created for the film stars to do their voice-overs on. It's quite hilarious (and annoying at times) to hear Danny DeVito's voice shouting help and suggestions to your character from his little animated impish body.

There is also a marvelous soundtrack used in the game...obviously taken straight from the movie. In typical Disney fashion, the music is bright and happy and fits in perfectly with the story unfolding before your eyes.

All of the other sound effects used in the game are also well done. Once again, it's like listening to a high quality Disney film. If you like that sort of thing, you can't go wrong here.


This is the spot where the PlayStation is supposed to fall apart...handling 2D game environments. Well for those of you waiting for that to happen, will have to wait a bit longer, because the gameplay in Hercules is great. Control of your mythical hero is dead on. Hercules jumps, fights and does all sorts of things when and where you want him to...all within highly detailed animated backgrounds. It's just too bad the designers didn't choose to implement analog control into the game...oh well, guess I can't have everything.

It looks like the game designers really tried to make this a notch above your typical 2D side-scrolling platform game. As mentioned earlier, there are parts in the game that will require your character to walk, run, ride or fly into and out of the screen. During these sequences, the path that you are on often splits or the gamer a choice of where to go. Some of these paths are actually quite large and really give players a feeling of true 3D movement in all directions. The only thing I didn't particularly enjoy was the sequences that has Hercules running into the screen collecting letters and other goodies...during this sequence, your character can move in and out of the action, but the camera is constantly moving forward...pushing Hercules without letting you stop him. This type of action always annoyed me, because if you miss something on the screen, there is no way to go back for it...unless you restart the level...Doh! The good news is that this type of thing doesn't happen often enough in the game to warrant my using the CD as a Frisbee.

In typical platform fashion, there are all sorts of goodies to pick up to give your character an edge. There are nifty sword power-ups that energize your weapon with fire, lightning and other kinds of nice special-effect add-ons. There is also money to collect, extra lives hidden around and objects that will increase your power/health meter. Of course there is also extra health bottles littered'll need 'em!

Also in typical platform fashion is the fact that many items are hidden or just out of reach. Leaving you, the gamer to discover these little gems either by skill or accident (which is usually my method!). Some of this stuff is maddening! In the first episode of the game for instance, there was a cliff ledge that I just could not reach. Here I am punching, hacking, jumping, doing all sorts of things to try and get to that damn ledge...all while listening to Danny DeVito's voice yelling suggestions at me...I thought if heard him say "rule number 95 kid...concentrate" one more time I would have a fraggin' seizure...finally after trying damn near everything, I figured out what I needed to do to get up the cliff. In retrospect, it all actually made a lot of sense and the clues where right there for me to figure out...errrr.

Gameplay flows smoothly at all times, with scenes changing as you move along. I liked the way some of the 3D elements where implemented into the 2D was kinda neat to be right in the middle of a side-scrolling 2D scene, when all of a sudden you realize your character can also move in and out of the action. There are usually paths that are visible when this is possible, but later in the game that is not always the case. All I know is that it added a bit more depth to a straight-forward side to side platform...Crash Bandicoot used this method to perfection...Hercules does a fine job too.

Well, now it's time for my complaints...yes, the game in my opinion is not perfect so here goes...There are mystery vases that can be collected in each level. If you collect four in a level you are given a password which allows you to save the game and restart it at the next level. Sounds good?...yeah, well just try to find four of those darn vases on the same level! It's not easy...and if you don't find them you are doomed to start the game over and over from your last save position. That has always driven me crazy in games of this type. I hate being forced to start a level over...and over....and over. Just give me a darn save station here and there and I'm a happy camper. Another thing that drives me insane is when you see an it coins or a power-up...that is just out of reach and you can't get to it. You know the proper sequence of events that you must execute to get you there, but if not done to absolute perfection, you have to keep trying or just decide to move on and forget about it...that drives me nuts, cause I can't forget about it and often spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to grab one freaking coin or something equally worthless...just because it is there. Some of the voices also become grating after awhile. The clues tend to get repetitive to the point of pure's just something you will need to tolerate if you play this game...unless of course you don't make any mistakes. Last but not least, it is basically a 2D platform game. It has a somewhat "been there...done that" kinda feel to it...even though there are a lot of attempts to make the game seem fresh.

Okay, back to the good stuff...the game throws a lot of neat things at you. There are very few screens in which nothing is going on. You have obstacles to overcome, birds trying to peck you to pieces, puzzles to figure out, items to collect, all sorts of creatures to defeat, fabulous end bosses and damsels that need to be rescued...hey, nobody ever said that being a hero was gonna be easy!

Oh, there was just one other thing I wanted to mention...only because it appealed to my rather morbid sense of humor...During each level there are objects called damsel dummies. These dummies are usually hanging around by a rope and you need to touch them in order move forward along your path. Here's the funny part...if you can find an object to jump up on do so and position your character next to the dummy. Next use your sword on the can hack away and watch arms, legs and even eyes fall away to the ground...sick? yes...funny? absolutely!

In conclusion, if you like platformers you are in heaven here. If you liked the movie and feel like playing it at home, you won't be disappointed. If however you are searching for the next big leap in platform technology, you may need to continue your search a bit longer. I went into the game expecting nothing more than great graphics...the great graphics I certainly got, but I also walked away really enjoying the overall game too!

Value for Money

While I can't claim to have finished ever nook and cranny of this game, I have logged considerable time on it. Virgin claims that gameplay can last up to 40 hours or more. There are 9 or 10 pretty long levels to enjoy with all sorts of puzzles to figure out and hidden stuff to find. Again, if you enjoy platform style games, or just like an overall good gaming experience...this is one to get.





A very good Disney / Virgin effort. The game is like playing the movie and really throws everything at the gamer. It's got great graphics, very good sound, a movie soundtrack and good solid platform gameplay. It's a sure winner for those of you that like this genre of game and even worth a look see for those of you that don't.


Very Good


Very Good




Get your PSX games HERE!