|Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review|
|A.P.I Review:||LUCKY LUKE|
No.1 No.2 No.3
|Game Type:||3D Platform Adventure||Memory Card|
|Review Date:||October 1998||Standard Joypad|
Setting the Scene
Those Dalton boys have just busted out of jail again and the Town Mayor has just posted a reward of 1 million Dollars to get them back behind bars. Such is the reputation of these good for nothing outlaws that no one comes forward to claim the bounty.... That is until Lucky Luke arrives in town.
Essentially this is a 3D platformer similar to the likes of Pandemonium, however unlike its competitor this game also contains Beat-em-up, Shoot-em-up, Sports and racing elements.
You can often tell how much money has been invested in a game by the quality of the intro sequence. If they know its rubbish then they either don't provide one at all, or keep it very short and sweet. Lucky Luke has a beautifully rendered intro sequence that obviously cost big bucks to put together. It also has fantastic cut scenes between the levels that further prove this point. The graphics are all very cartoon-like in their presentation and are a mixture of flat parallax scrolling backdrops and 3D-polygon scenery and characters. Again the attention to detail in this department is very high, with tumbleweed rolling across the screen and clouds moving through the sky. The 3D effect is very subtle on the side scrolling levels, however it can be fully appreciated on the horseback scenes - which are presented in a 45 degree angle (like the old "Zaxxon" arcade game). Also brilliant is the roller coaster style of the mining wagon level, which is real 3D-fest. It has to be said that although your character is based on a massively popular Belgian cartoon strip that has been running for years and years, you still can't help but notice a passing resemblance with the recently created "Woody" from the movie Toy Story.
Sounds and Effects
Within the constraints of any game there is only so much that can be done with the Soundtrack and Spot effects, however if implemented correctly they can immerse you right in the game - adding a terrific amount of atmosphere. Conversely, if done wrong - they can almost spoil it. The soundtrack of Lucky Luke is so professionally produced that when played through a good sound system it will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. Speaking as someone who has never appreciated any form of Country and Western music before, this is finger pluckin' good! Each of the nineteen tracks are fantastic, some feature a mouth organ player that can almost make his instrument talk, while others have real "Beverly Hillbillies" style of fast paced Banjo music. There's the "here comes the cavalry" penny whistle tunes, together with a few featuring the old "Honkey Tonk" piano and some great acoustic guitar. Apart from a poor English voice-over (I suspect that the French one is brilliant), the spot effects have been treated with the same amount of professionalism as the soundtrack. There are a handful of typical cowboy phrases that Luke mutters, together with sounds such as the wind howling, guns being fired... and more.
When I started to play this game I was expecting it to be a very average 3D Platformer - little was I to know that this game was to turn out to be anything but average. Sure, the first level is all about running, jumping and shooting; but there are puzzles galore that must be also be solved. Other levels introduce completely new game genres, making this in effect four or five different games all rolled into one! To illustrate my point I will quickly run through the first few levels... Level one is a side scrolling platform. Luke is in a typical cowboy setting somewhere in the Wild West, his objective is to get from one end of the town to the other - sounds simple but there are a number of obstructions to his progress. The first of these is a pile of wooden crates blocking his route. Behind these boxes is a barrel full of explosives - which if ignited would blow them out of your way. You stand in front of them and notice that above your head is a metal chimney - you fire a bullet at it and it ricochets off it at 90 degrees, hits the hanging blacksmiths sign which redirects it towards the barrel full of dynamite.... BOOM !!!! .... Your path is clear! Many of the puzzles on these platform levels follow a similar theme: drop a crate on the donkey who then kicks the barrel that smashes into the... you get the idea? Level two sees you playing tennis with a frying pan against the local inbreed, who for some strange reason is throwing logs at you. The idea is simple, hit the logs back over to him using the pan and see if you can knock him out... bizarre, but fun! Level three is completely different again. You are riding Johnny Jumper your trusty horse and are racing along the train tracks trying to catch up with the villains who have hijacked the train. Once you have caught it you must ride alongside the moving train shooting at the bad guys, while at the same time jumping over any obstacles that come your way. Level four sees you back to the jumping and shooting of level one, only this time you have boarded the moving train and must jump from carriage to carriage killing the enemy and rescuing the hostages. I expected that we had now seen all of the styles and that everything else would just be a variation on the first three levels, but how wrong could I be? On progressing further into the game I had to avoid "twisters", squashing machines, crazy cactus, falling rocks, ghosts and a multitude of guys wanting to beat the sh*t out of me... Yea, believe it or not there is even a beat-em-up game hidden amongst the levels! Not content with that, Infogrames have also put in a rollercoaster type level, where you ride on a mining wagon, ducking under posts, jumping gaps in the tracks and leaning from side to side on two wheels so as to avoid falling to your death where one of the rails has disappeared. If you like "Track and Field" type games then there are two levels that see you bashing on your keys as fast as possible in order to beat your competitor in some lumberjack events. Finally they have thrown in some "Time Crisis" style shoot-em-up levels just for good measure. It should be pointed out that each of the game styles is nowhere near as good as those games to which I compared them against, however its the fact that the company has produced such a varied game that should be applauded. Its all to easy to produce a game with hundreds of similar levels, however to create something with this amount of completely different genres is such a mammoth task that few companies would have the balls to even attempt it. Every platform game has something to collect and lucky Luke is no exception. Picking up the golden dollar signs gives you... wait for it.... Money! At the end of each section, you can trade your money in for either additional lives or a password that will let you restart the game from that point. The game doesn't support the analog joypad, but this is no real loss on this type of game. Level loading times were acceptable at approximately 10 seconds per level.
Value for Money
Infogrames were very insistent in pointing out that this game is aimed at the younger gameplayer. Bearing this in mind, the 14 levels and three bonus levels this game offers should be enough to keep the kids interested for quite some time. Its a shame that the designers did not include a difficulty setting within this game, because as it stands an experienced gamers will complete this game within quite a short amount of time.
the price of the PlayStation being so low these days, the console is no
longer considered a luxury item afforded only by the older gameplayer.
The average owner is becoming younger all of the time and at last
companies are starting to provide titles aimed at this audience.
Speaking personally I would have preferred the difficulty level just a little harder, or the levels quite a bit longer.
The graphics on some of the levels are fantastic and the soundtrack is one of the best I have come across.
The game combines so many different game types that there is guaranteed to be something in here for everyone.