The Incredibles

7The not-so-incredible platforming game.

It must be hard to translate the warmth, charm, and humanity of Pixar’s The Incredibles into a videogame, which probably explains why THQ seems to have just sort of thrown up their hands in the air and published a pair of modest titles – The Incredibles: When Danger Calls (a puzzle game) and The Incredibles (platformer / action adventure). Both use the movie’s stirring soundtrack and distinctive art style, but don’t have much else going for them overall.

The first is Heavy Iron Studios’ platformer The Incredibles, an oddly joyless exercise in recreating the movie, plot point by plot point, set piece by set piece, character by character. With the exception of a sequence in which Dash races his school bus, everything is a dutiful attempt to recreate something you saw in the movie, usually distilled down to punching or avoiding being shot. Mr. and Mrs. Incredible alternately punch a bunch of bad guys, Dash runs from a bunch of bad guys, and Violet hides from a bunch of bad guys (yes, it’s a tedious stealth level). There’s some amusing rollerball action with Dash running inside Violet’s shield ball like a hamster, and the animation of Mrs. Incredible’s lithe elastic limbs is pretty fetching. But overall, it’s just a fifth-rate platform game with little to recommend it beyond the familiar characters.

Again, it’s one strength are the graphics, which evoke the movie’s feel quite effectively. There’s enough life in the look of the game that many levels, which typically feature one member of the family, can offer some basic platforming fun. But the challenges are often too elementary (destroy switches, navigate dangerous pathways, etc) that you’ll quickly feel as if the super powers have been shortchanged. And there’s almost no opportunity for the family to put their powers in action together.

The controls and camera can get in the way, too. Elastigirl is often required to grab hold of overhead fixtures, but these can be hard to see, as the camera refuses to afford a proper view. A lock-on system tries to circumvent the problem, but it too is unreliable, often changing targets just as a character commits to an action. And while the controls typically respond well, some moves are irrationally constrained. In the end it’s a drab and not so imaginative platformer, and one that you probably won’t care to remember after playing it.

System Requirements: Pentium III 700 MHz, 256 MB RAM, WinXP

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