The Nightmare Before Christmas Oogies Revenge ReviewCain Dornan
Based loosely on Tim Burtons classic Halloween-based movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogies Revenge is an interesting game that follows the experience of lanky Jack Skellington, who returns to his town to find it being terroized by a mysterious Oogie and three little menaces. While the title is obviously geared towards the younger crowd, the surprisingly solid storyline, great controls and unique music aid in presenting a game that appeals to the wider audience. Three different difficulty settings allow for more advanced gamers to experience this wacky, unique and interesting experience at a difficulty that suits their skill. The end result is a game that can stand in its own right without the film, providing a worthwhile experience that is a refreshing change from the numerous movie-licensed games that offer bland, unimaginative and tasteless experiences that are nothing more than a quick cash-in on a popular movie.
Tim Burtons The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogies Revenge begins with a pleasantly presented cinematic that introduces you into the world of Tim Burtons creative ghoulish world. In Halloween Town, Halloween (no surprise) is the most important event of the year, where the entire town gathers in the large town hall to celebrate the things they do best: scare the living daylights out of people. Jack Skellington, the celebrity of the town, feels that the Halloween celebrations are beginning to decay. His resolution: to introduce some new aspects that will liven up the celebrations, to introduce something new. With this idea in mind, he confines in the local mad scientist to discover the best solution, which surprisingly comes in the form of a Flubber-like green glump that wraps around Jacks arm, allowing him to swing the green material as a whip or to grab various objects or beings. Excited about his new little toy, Jack sets out on a short adventure in an attempt to locate other new materials that will breath further fright into the annual event.
Whilst he is away, though, three mischievous youngsters decide to unleash the once banished Oogie, who loves to do nothing more than cause complete havoc around Halloween Town. Not only does Oogie and his three young henchmen manage to inflict fear amongst the dead citizens, but they have also stolen the doors that lead to the holiday events of the calendar year, such as Thanksgiving, St Patricks Day, Christmas and even Halloween. Not only will Jack need to hunt down Oogie and lock him away for good, but he will also need to punish the naughty children and retrieve the stolen holiday doors.
Surprisingly, The Nightmare Before Christmas controls remarkably well, although, the absence of any form of camera control is slightly disappointing. For the most part, though, the camera angles rarely causing frustration, however, there are occasions (namely during a Cemetry section) where it is difficult to locate objects due to the camera position. Guiding Jack is virtually frustration-free, as the controls are remarkably smooth and effective at performing all of the actions that are required. Jacks multiple appearances, which includes the Pumpkin King who offers damaging moves revolving around the use of fire, the Christmas Jack who gives frightening presents to all the naughty creatures and, naturally, the normal Jack. As each form of Jack offers different abilities, you will need to use each personality to complete a range of tasks throughout the course of the game, which aids in slightly varying the gameplay.
Each of the games different tasks is divided into separate chapters. While the game does not offer an incredibly diverse range of tasks to involve yourself with, as a large number of locate and retrieve missions take place, the way in which these missions are presented manages to offer some slight differentiation compared with the tasks beforehand. Some missions involve locating items that have been stolen by Oogies evil creatures, which includes locating Jacks fabric love Sally, who has been locked away in a spider-filled hut in the middle of a graveyard. Another example is a mission that involves locating missing hanging-skeletons who have began a game of hide-and-seek amongst the graves. A small tree, known as the Hanging Tree, requests that you locate the lost hanged skeletons to return them to his branch. There is also a mission that requires you to help an overweight clown who is stuck riding his unicycle at high speeds after a group of mischievous villains install a supercharged motor on the single-wheeled vehicle. While the solution to stopping the clown is not immediately evident, some quick investigation with a nearby witch gives a hint as to what object you need to locate in order to fix the unicycle. Its a mixed bunch that succeeds in capturing and holding the interest of younger gamers, while the more mature generation may become slightly tired with the events towards the end of the game.
Mixing up the gameplay is the regular appearances of the three young troublemakers, who each have several attempts at preventing you from proceeding through the game by confronting you with enemy-filled boss battles. These essentially involves attacking the little troublemaker until his on-screen health meter depletes, all the while fending off the hordes of enemies that they send at you. The regular spurt of these battles help to breath some freshness into the game, offer quick action-packed spurts between traveling to each new chapter.
On the topic of boss battles, The Nightmare Before Christmass boss battles often revolve around belting specific parts of the boss to obtain music notes. Collecting enough notes will initiate a short mini game that requires you to tap the corresponding buttons as shown on the screen. If you manage to do this with minimal mistakes, you will inflict a large amount of damage on your enemy. There are occasions, however, when you are required to perform other specific tasks, namely during a boss scene that involves a bit of brain surgery.
The marvelous creation of Tim Burtons creative mind shines in the numerous unique creatures that you will encounter throughout the game. A solid variety of friendly characters support the games storyline, providing you with a range of different reasons to participate in each of the games tasks. There is also a solid collection of enemies, each varying in difficulty, that maintain the cartoon ghoulish theme and are introduced at different points in the game.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogies Revenge offers solid visuals that, while not exactly breathtaking, successfully portray all aspects of the game. Each of the characters move smoothly both in-game and during cinematics. The moody world of Halloween Town and surrounding locations presentation is further aided with the fantastic music that is not only unique, but also matches the area and situation which you are in. A large portion of the games soundtrack includes some fantastic and truly unique singing that is most noticeable during boss battles, often involving Jack and his opposing enemy exchanging their thoughts in an interesting manner. The great music is complemented with superb voice acting, with each of character supporting unique voice work that suits the characters appearance, personality and the situation in which they are in.
While mature gamers may find their interest deteriorating halfway through the game, the younger crowd will likely love the creative and interesting world of Halloween Town. Unlike many other movie-to-game adaptions, Capcom has managed to create a worthwhile experience that will manage to capture the interest of the younger crowd from start to finish, while many mature gamers will also gain plenty of enjoyment in this interesting adventure.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.