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Monday, July 02, 2007


Radio and Ratatouille

I originally was going to do an iPhone cartoon, but a lot of other folks did some and, quite frankly, did it better than me. So this week GC complains to a radio station.

Back to the subject of game made out of video games. I just finished playing Ratatouille for the Nintendo DS. Based on the Pixar film of the same name, this game lets you follow the adventures of Remy (a young rat) as he pursues his dream of becoming a chef. Not surprisingly, you control Remy as he scurries, leaps and climbs his way through scenes inspired by the film. Not only does Remy have to avoid mouse traps and rat poison, but if he's discovered while lurking in somebody's kitchen, they'll throw things at him. Fortunately, Remy can hide under objects if it's likely he might be detected. This part of the game was okay, if a little predictable. The reason it worked for me is that it did a good job of conveying the feeling of being a small rodent scurrying around in a human world. Then there's the cooking.

To prove his worth, Remy has to cook up some delicious French dishes. These cooking games are a nice addition to an otherwise mundane platforming game. Those of you familiar with Cooking Mama will find the cooking games quite familiar. You have to slice food, add it to the pot and keep a sharp eye on everything in your kitchen lest anything overcook. One advantage that Cooking Mama has over the Ratatouille cooking games is that you actually get the feeling that you're cooking something. Each step has a purpose and every ingredient you prepare is going to get used. Ratatouille obviously can't offer all of the cooking steps that Cooking Mama does, but in Ratatouille the ingredients are irrelevant. You could be dicing a shoe and dropping autoparts in the pot - it makes no difference to you and that lack of connection to what you're preparing really diminishes the sense of accomplishment you get from the game. One thing that Ratatouille does improve over Cooking Mama is plating - as fans of Iron Chef all know, plating is preparing your dish for the best visual appeal. At this point, things really come together and makes you feel like a real French chef.

Ratatouille is designed for a younger audience and an accomplished gamer will go through it rather quickly. I collected over 40 lives when the game was over, and I hadn't died a single time. Still, for it's innovative approach and fun gameplay, I give Ratatouille a 7 out of 10.

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I was thinking about getting a DS as my PSP is in the shop for the second time in a week.

First time - bad optical drive. Second time - speakers went out. And the thing is only 6 months old! GRR!

Anyway, can't wait to see Ratatouille!
We're planning to see the movie soon. Looks like it'll be a blast.

The DS is certainly a different game machine than the PSP. For one thing, Nintendo shuns the bells and whistles that Sony and Microsoft add to their game machines, preferring to focus on gameplay. So while you can add an Opera browser to the DS (review coming shortly) it's never going to be as good as on your laptop. And forget about videos. On the other hand, the DS games are some of the most imaginative and fun games out there. And affordable to boot. I'd recommend Mario Cart, Mario vs. Donkey Kong and Puzzle Quest as some potential games for your DS library. And your kids would love Nintendogs. :)
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