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Gamer Tuesday

September 11, 2012

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights: Finding Nemo: The Video Game and The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage Mini Games (Kinect Disneyland Adventures)

Developed by: Traveller's Tales (Finding Nemo: The Video Game)/Frontier Developments (Kinect Disneyland Adventures)

Systems: GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox (Finding Nemo: The Game) Xbox 360 (Kinect Disneyland Adventures)

For the longest time ever, Finding Nemo was my favorite Pixar movie ever, and for many good reasons. It's a movie that achieves that rare mix of drama, humor, adventure, and even some small commentary on the welfare of sea life, while still being incredibly fun to experience, making it one of the most rewatchable films in the Pixar canon (for me at least). The film was also one of the biggest animated films of 2003, which lead to a huge presence at Disney. Finding Nemo can now be found everywhere, such as a submarine voyage attraction at Disneyland, a creative musical at Disney's Animal Kingdom, a whole area dedicated to the film on Disney's Art of Animation Resort and several attractions at EPCOT. Such is the film's legacy that it will be re-released in 3D later this week. To celebrate this momentous occasion, I will be talking about not one but TWO Finding Nemo games. The first is Finding Nemo: The Video Game, released in 2003 at the time of film's premiere, and the second is a mini-game found in Kinect Disneyland Adventures dedicated to the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, accentuating the legacy this film has created at Disney.

Finding Nemo: The Video Game was developed by Traveller's Tales, a video game development company who isn't a stranger to adapting film franchises into game form (one of these is the various LEGO games, such as LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean). Traveller's Tales may not be known for creating the best video games ever, but they make solid games with great usage of the licenses they were given. In Finding Nemo's case, the game born out of it is fun, though those expecting something deeper might be disappointed. The game follows the storyline of the film, taking some of the biggest events in the film and turning them into playable levels, such as surfing with Crush the turtle, escaping the sharks and jumping through the jellyfish.

These levels are presented in a 2D side-scrolling manner, with some segments being presented in a third person view for a more dramatic view of the action. You will also encounter the major characters from the film, such as Nigel the Pelican, the fish from Mr. Ray's class and more. In terms of presentation, Finding Nemo: The Video Game doesn't quite reach the cinematic beauty of the original film. Yet, it manages to make the game recognizable in its designs. The characters look like their film counterparts, and the levels range from the dark and dangerous to the colorful and enchanting. Like many of games of its kind, Finding Nemo: The Video Game features actual film clips that help tell the story of the movie.

Finding Nemo: The Video Game can be cynically seen as a product of the wild merchandising that occurred during the original release of the film, meaning its quality is below the standards we are used to experiencing. But in actuality, Finding Nemo: The Video Game is a fun title that does a good job of giving us the chance to relive the thrills of the Pixar classic. It might be too light in terms of gameplay for the likes of gaming experts, but it isn't too heavy either, making it a great game for families and casual gamers to enjoy without worry of too much stress or worry.

As stated, Finding Nemo: The Video Game was created to coincide with the release of the film, a marketing opportunity to get the word out about the movie or further reinforce it. This was when the film was still brand new, and it was unknown whether it would be a huge success or be middling at best. Nearly ten years later, Finding Nemo is a powerhouse at Disney, as mentioned at the start of this article. In order to highlight just how far the film has come since then, the next Finding Nemo game highlighted this week will be the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage mini game on Kinect Disneyland Adventures.

Before we dive into that game (no pun intended), here is some history of the attraction that inspired it. One of the most famous attractions at Disneyland way back in the day was 'The Submarine Voyage Thru Liquid Space.' Opening in 1959, almost four years after park opening. The concept behind this attraction was that it would take guests into an underwater world in Tomorrowland. The ride kept operating until 1998, when it was closed for several years. The huge success of Finding Nemo in theaters and other facets of the Disney company, however, inspired them to create a new twist on the classic attraction. The ride opened in 2007 to great success and critical acclaim.

This brings me to Kinect Disneyland Adventures, a game that has been featured several times on Gamer Tuesday. To learn more about the overall game, check out the original article here. The short version is that Kinect Disneyland Adventures aims to digitally recreate the happiest place on earth using the Kinect motion gaming technology and in the greatest detail possible. Many of Disneyland's major attractions have been recreated as mini-games that try to capture the fun and spirit of the attractions. The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is one of the many attractions that can be experienced in the game.

When you enter the Finding Nemo Submarine Attraction, you can partake in three different mini-games (or chapters as the game calls them). In the first mini-game, you play hide and seek with Nemo and Squirt (Crush's son) on the coral reef. While Nemo is counting, you will be collecting coins. When Nemo is finished counting, you then must hide behind some objects that have been scattered in the level.

In the second game, Bruce, the recovering carnivorous shark, has entered his fierce hunter mode, and is now chasing Nemo, Squirt and the player through an old submarine. The player does this by moving his or her body, avoiding the walls and objects that liter the level.

In the third and final game, Nemo and Squirt join Crush the turtle on a wild ride through the EAC (East Australian Current), navigating through strong currents while the player collects coins. If you ever want to experience just how far gaming has come since 2003 then look no further than these Finding Nemo mini games. In 2003, Finding Nemo: The Video Game featured graphics that were adequate for the systems it was designed for, looking similarly to the movie, but not quite reaching its high end detail.

Kinect Disneyland Adventures, on the other hand, was developed for the Xbox 360, a high definition system, and one that tried its hardest to make it exactly like the Disneyland Resort experience. The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage mini games come very close to matching the artistry of the film. The levels closely resemble the scenes featured in the movie, while characters are vividly rendered to a very close relation to the computer generated models of the film. Musically, it borrows many of the themes from the film's soundtrack for an even more authentic presentation.

So whether you are playing through the major events of the film or reliving a beloved Disneyland attraction, it is a guarantee that you will be charmed yet again by the big blue world of Finding Nemo and friends. It's hard to imagine a Disney legacy without the colorful fish, and these games remind us why.


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