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Hang on to your diapies, the Rugrats are back in town...love them or hate them Nickelodeon have them plastered all over the place these days. Television, movies, toys and food there's no escaping from the grinning faces of Tommy, Chuckie and the rest of the scrawny gang.
Not in the far too distant past The Search for Reptar was released to muted applause. With mediocre reviews the game didn't exactly set the world alight and was a missed opportunity. This time THQ are hoping to put the world of the Rugrats firmly on the gaming map.
Rugrats Studio Tour is a compendium of games spoofing popular big screen movie themes. With titles like 'Lazy saddles' and 'Diapies of Thunder' I'm sure you get the idea. Each area or theme is built up around different types of games such as driving, miniature golf, shooting, chase games etc.
The aim of the game is to rescue Tommy's younger brother Dil who, true to form, gets lost. This leaves the rest of the gang with the problem of tracking him down before anyone realizes he's gone. Along the road to rescue you have to collect keys which are needed to open the high security door behind which Dil has disappeared.
Sounds easy, but don't expect to be given the keys, you have to earn them by completing a series of themed stages in each game or by collecting Reptar tokens which you'll find littered around and about. Left to their own devices the 'rats let rip across the studio lot exploring four movie sets which lead off from the central Dressing Room. It's from this Dressing Room area that the game options and all of the studio can be accessed
Sound and Vision:
The game opens up after a brief introduction using in-game graphics as opposed to an all singing all dancing rendered opener, which seem to come as part and parcel with most games these days. However, a plus point of this is that it leads quite nicely into the game and doesn't leave you with a sense of disappointment with in-game graphics that don't compete with the quality of the intro.
The Rugrats cartoon has an individual look and style, which the game tries, and at times manages, to capture. The actual characters are easily recognizable. However, some of the facial details consist of bitmaps and are not built up with extra polygons leaving their mouths looking like they've just been painted on. Once into the game these minor shortcomings are not really noticeable, as the characters are smaller in size during the various missions.
The backgrounds are quite chunky and a bit rough around the edges. When compared to the likes of Spyro and 40 Winks, aimed at a similar age group, they appear rather lack lustre.
On the sound front all voices are accurately reproduced while background noises help to set the scene. For example, during the 'Captain Cookies' adventure the occasional screech and squawk of seagulls can be heard along with other incidental atmospherics. Overall sound and vision gel together quite nicely, however, with a little tweaking here and there the end result could be more impressive.
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