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Reviewed: Animaniacs Splatball
Author: Chris Kim       Date: December 20th 1999
Page: 2

With the Animaniacs license, Animaniacs Splatball puts seven of the best-known characters from the television series into the game. The player assumes the roles of Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, who are all looking to become the champions of splatball. Getting this crown will not be easy, however, as Dr. Scratchansniff, Ralph the Guard, Thaddeus J. Plotz, and Mr. Director are all looking to stop the Warner Brothers and their sister Dot from getting this crown. In pursuit of this crown, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot will have to face the others in several different stages as they defeat them in a game of quick reflexes, response, and fast splatting action.

The audience that Animaniacs Splatball was directed at is quite obvious, from the simplistic gameplay values, less violent gameplay, and cute Animaniacs license, the younger children generation was targeted for this game. The game also does accomplish this desire for a good children's game as it delivers on it by providing a game that children will understand and know how to play quite easily, without the worries of getting suggestive violent themes in their brains, and exposing them to something they are familiar with.

Where You Looking Wakko?
I Got Balloons Too!
Protect the Balloon!

As the title of the game suggests, Animaniacs Splatball is a paintball game. The game takes a little bit in the mechanics of Lemmings Paintball in how the game is approached, but without any of the difficult puzzles, problem solving, or difficult AI. As stated before, the players assume the role of Yakko, Wakko, and Dot and are trying to beat out Dr. Scratchansniff, Ralph the Guard, Thaddeus J. Plotz, and Mr. Director in the game of splatball. The basic game mechanics involve a tag team type match of capture the flag. Players must navigate through a set of obstacles to reach their opponent's balloon, or flag, and return it to their balloon without being completely covered in paint.

Playing with a set of three members on each team definitely has its advantages; if one member is completely covered in paint, the game will automatically revert control to the next available player. Keeping a non-violent role, when a player is hit with paint, instead of grinding in pain or showing any kind of pain, the character simply cries and runs back to the base to take a shower. This is definitely a better way to present this type of gameplay.

Recover the Lost Balloon
Na a Na a Boo Who
Lotsa Paint

The game itself is played in real-time that is very fast and action paced. Unlike some other capture the flag games, there are no definite boundaries, the only boundary is the gate that holds the side's balloon. Players with their three members will venture out in three different worlds and try to capture the opponent's balloon four times for the victory. In the single player game, players must accumulate several points by winning a match. Each match has a point value, and fifty points must be accumulated to advance to the next stage. There are three stages, amateur, pro, and all-star levels where the game gets progressively more difficult. In each of the stages, there are several levels to play. There are three different levels for each of the point values. In each league, each of the levels has a point value of two to nine, depending on the match, there are three levels for each of the values and each of the levels take place in a different environment.

Inside the game, players will get to control one of the three characters at a time, while the two other characters are assigned to a patrol a post on the map. Players have control of the general area where the characters get to patrol. The map is divided into miniature sectors where the player gives the command to patrol. Navigating the level itself is not too difficult, but there are obstacles in the way to block or hinder the movement of the player. As the player moves along, turrets, cars, and other garbage will be laid around the level to block a path to the balloon. One really excellent part about the game is the ability for objects to turn transparent when the player passes behind an object. The game simply involves the player going to the opponent's balloon, and returning it to the player's own balloon for a score. The process of returning the balloon and winning the match is repeated over and over again for the rest of the game. The game does maintain a high fun factor, but only for the first ten minutes, after that the repetition gets pretty old, pretty fast.

Statistics
Turrets are Evil
Goodbye Sir

What game is complete without any power-ups and add-ons? Animaniacs Splatball is loaded with extra power-ups and such. Some items like triple shot paintball gun is a great feature to use that is similar to a spread fire, it fires off three paintballs compared to the single shot that the gun regularly fires. There is a nice speed boost that allows the player to run at near triple speed of the original walk speed. Some other nice power-ups like cannon makes paintball shots more powerful are included to enhance or decrease the chances of others.

Level design of the game isn't all that it could be as only three environments are included. There is the Animaniacs toon lot studio, where the show takes place, an outer space planet, and a western setting. Each of the environments is littered with tons of obstacles and junk. Some items like turrets really can hamper progress; some of the turrets are free roaming and just shoot in a circle, while others have an aimer on them, actually shooting paintballs intelligently. The one problem that occurred with the level design was that most of the maps were almost identical and very similar in design from level to level.

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Added:  Monday, December 20, 1999
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Score:
Page: 2/5

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