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Reviewed: The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: October 22nd, 2006
Page: 2
First disclaimer: this is one of those PS2 games that requires you to own, if you want to play with friends, four controllers and a multitap to get them all in.

Once you've gotten beyond that, or even if you just want to play it alone, Billy & Mandy's a pretty fun game. Rather than make an overly complicated fighting game, Midway's designers stuck to the show's roots - slapstick, gags, and mayhem. Storyline mode involves a number of characters from the series, from Billy and Mandy to less frequent guests like Nergal, Eris, and Hoss Delgado, each with their own storyline to explore. Then, to add to the replay value, the designers threw in versus mode and "mission mode", which allows single or multiple players to try to beat specified, difficult tiers of missions with odd win conditions.

Since the game's targeted towards kids, the gameplay's not nearly as complex as one might think. Each character has a limited number of lives, and a health bar for each one; once all the lives are gone and a character's unconscious, they can be removed from the board by performing a special attack and hitting buttons in the correct sequence. Unfortunately, the sequence never changes.

"Mojo balls" of Grim's Mojo will appear throughout the fight; collecting the mojo balls allows players to perform powered-up attacks that can automatically remove a life from either one character, or everyone on the field. Players can also rely on recurring bonus items such as meat, pie, cookies, and weaponry including a mace that removes Mojo, a wand to turn enemies to toads, a few implements of medieval carnage such as a sword, spiked club, and Thor's hammer (sorry, Thor not included) as well as the more devastating ranged weapons such as a slug gun, flamethrower, fishy-looking freeze ray, and a gun that sucks the brains right out of your enemies (and which, amazingly, somehow works on Billy too).

Graphically, the lack of a few polygons here and there is obvious, but the cel shaded visuals do credit to the game; it's not enough to forget it's a game, but it does stay within the realm of Billy & Mandy's distinctive style. Midway's designers take those extra polygons and turn them into better visual effects on the environment and randomly changing hazards such as falling aliens, lava, and big three-headed puppy dogs that like to eat and digest characters.

The cast's voice talents are used, so Grim is actually the Grim we know and love and Mandy is the same Mandy we all run in fear from; a special bonus comes in on the realization, while breaking the credits to smithereens, that Al "Weird Al" Yankovic is the game's announcer, boldly proclaiming that various characters "need meat" or are otherwise being beaten to a pulp.

Is it the grandest game in the world? No. Will it be great for kids? Yes. Will it insult your intelligence so much that you can't play with them? No. For older non-family gamers, well, try before you buy.

Added:  Monday, October 23, 2006
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/3

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