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Gamer Tuesday

February 22, 2011

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights: Disney and Pixar's Cars: The Video Game

System: PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, Game Boy Advance,, PC

Developed by: Rainbow Studios, Pacific

Disney and Pixar's Cars was released in the summer of 2006. Inspired by a summer trip John Lasseter took with his family around the country, Cars told the story of Lightning McQueen, a confident racing car who wishes to win the Piston Cup more than anything. After an incident which lands him in the town of Radiator Springs, Lightning realizes that there is more to life than just racing, that there is beauty waiting to be explored and plenty of friends to make. Despite receiving mixed reactions from fans and film critics, Cars was a very successful film, creating a strong franchise for Disney and Pixar. Soon, Disney and Pixar would create short films based on the universe in the form of Cars Toons, release toys and merchandise, a sequel will be released later this year, and Disney California Adventure will receive a section based on the movie. Of course, a video game adaptation soon followed.

Released at the same time as the movie, Cars: The Video Game is actually a continuation of the film's storyline. In it, you will play as Lightning McQueen, as well as other characters from the movie. The title is a mix between racing and exploration as you drive around Radiator Springs, meeting old and new friends (such as Mater's cousin), accepting missions and completing racing challenges. The first time I played it I was surprised by how polished it was. Movie tie-in games are notorious for being rushed and poorly developed just to cash in on the hype of the movie. Cars: The Video Game isn't a perfect game, but it is a really solid representation of the Cars universe.

The design of Radiator Springs is just like in the movie. All of the locales, like Luigi's Tire Shop and Mater's place, can be visited and explored. The characters look and animate just like they did in the movie, and while the plot may be original it does feel like a genuine Cars story. Heck, you can crash onto the other characters and hear then scream and complain! Very mean spirited, I know, but it is amazing that the development team went as far as to include character reactions to your actions. In other words, people that want to be in Radiator Springs can do so with this game.

And the game play ain't half bad, either! Cars: The Video Game is primarily a racing game, though you will partake in missions such as collecting postcards for Lizzie and going tractor tipping with Mater. Speaking of which, you can play as the rest of the cast, such as the Sheriff, Sarge, Flo and, of course, Mater. Each character has his or her own stats, and will handle differently according to their car model and design. Finally, you can participate in the famed Piston Cup and finally obtain the desired trophy.

Driving controls are a little bit loose, but handles well enough. On the Wii version you use the controller as a steering wheel, and the Xbox 360 version has online play. All versions feature the basic gameplay (save for the handheld versions since due to limitations not every aspect will be presented), so whichever version you go , you will be obtaining the same, solid gameplay.

Cars: The Video Game was so successful that many more games were released even after the movie left theaters: Cars Mater-National, Cars: Race-O-Rama and Cars: Mater's Tall Tales, based on the short films starring the beloved tow truck. All followed the basic concept of the first game, so they were fun and very accessible for gamers and fans of the movie. This is a rarity in the licensed game world as usually once the game is released they don't go back to the license, unless the license is very successful beyond its original release.

That isn't surprising as Cars: The Video Game was a very solid game that created a believable game universe with some very lovable characters and gameplay that anyone can enjoy. You can bet I will be paying attention when the game based on Cars 2 later this year.



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