Publisher: Buena Vista Games
Developer: DC Studios
# of Players: 1-2
N Amer - 11/21/2006
Disney’s Chicken Little: Ace in Action Review
You can't keep a good chicken down. You can have it grilled, marinated, or deep-fried, but you can't keep it from returning (especially if it's undercooked, but that's a whole other issue). Chicken Little, the most popular of the species next to Tyson and Kentucky Fried, is back in action. He's brought a few friends along to for this adventure – Ace, Runt, and Abby. Each comes toting a different gift: a blaster weapon, a fully operational tank, and a ship constructed to go deep into space.
Ace, Runt and Abby are the characters you'll control in Chicken Little's newest adventure, Ace In Action. Their gifts aid them in combat while dispersing gameplay styles that switch off at the end of each level.
The game starts with the man of action, Ace. A brief tutorial with on-screen commands shows you exactly how to play. Whereas most shooters have a typical third-person style, Ace is not controlled with the stylus. His firing range is not solely determined by the D-pad. The D-pad is important – you use it to maneuver Ace through each environment.
Enemies travel in groups and can spawn into the game at any time. They'll send anywhere from a few to several dozen blasts in your direction. Weaving in and out of them would prove to be difficult in a third-person shooter, hence the inclusion of a control system that mirrors that of a top-down shooter. The camera angle is not top-down, but it is high enough for you to see the action and play the game from a similar perspective.
Press the D-pad and Ace will move around swiftly and efficiently, as he should. Now tap the A button and watch what happens. Ace just fired a shot to the right of the screen! Press the Y button and he'll fire left. Do you see where this is going? Holding X and Y will make him to shoot toward the top left corner of the screen. This can be done with the other buttons as well, giving you a total of eight shooting directions – the max number for most games of this type and the max number you'll need to abolish the enemy assault.
Although the gameplay sounds as violent as any T-rated shooter, Ace In Action is fine for children. I'm not going by the ESRB's "E for Everyone" rating, but by the actual content. You won't see any blood, or any characters get hurt. Most of the enemies are robots, so while you're blasting to no end, you're really only destroying a hunk of walking metal. Alien life forms do come into the picture, and you can lose if you take too many hits. This elimination is not a death scene, but rather a zap from what appears to be a teleporter. It takes you out of the level; continuing to play will bring you back.
Runt, the warthog with a love of destructive vehicles, commands a tiny tank through each world he visits. The tank controls are not that different from Ace – the A, B, X and Y buttons change your firing range while the D-pad controls its movement. Press up twice and the tank will lunge forward, crushing everything in its path. And that's no understatement – enemies and roadblocks (and crates that appear in levels for no given reason) are destructible and can be taken out with the wrath of Runt's tank.
There is a limit to how much of his wrath his enemies will face, and that has to do with his power meter. Replenish that power with Fizzle, Mega and Giga Watts – small two-legged, three-eyed creatures with heads that are shaped like cones. Their detail isn't that great on screen, but their color makes 'em stand out, so you shouldn't have any problem spotting them in the game. You can get a better look at this alien species in the instruction manual. Though if you're like me you probably only read manuals when searching for the name of a particular item or character.
Abby, AKA the spaceship gal, flies above the action to take out enemies far away from the atmosphere. Her controls are like a 2D space shooter, with her ship placed at the bottom of the screen. Enemies come in from the top. The ship moves forward on its own, removing the need for Ace and Runt's control scheme. Rather than pressing the face buttons to aim in different directions, you'll tap two buttons to release two different weapons: missiles and laser blasts.
Missiles are good for taking out structures, which you'll see a lot of in the game – more than you'll see enemies in some cases. Some of the structures don't seem to do anything. I could fly right past them, reach the end of the level, and win the mission regardless. Enemy ships, on the other hand, should be dealt with quickly. They fly in patterns like the bugs of Galaga, firing blasts from pre-determined locations. You'll pick up on their patterns pretty quickly, and when you do it's bye-bye enemy.
Review Scoring Details for Chicken Little: Ace In Action
You’ll constantly blast your way through this one. Ace In Action isn’t as fun or expansive as last year’s game, but it offers 20 times the action of most kid-targeted titles. It’s simple, short, and the camera angles aren’t always clear. The map isn’t either, which could cause some kids to lose interest. But if you love Chicken Little or know a child who does, this sequel should fulfill most of their needs.
Chicken Little is in 3D, but he’s far from detailed. This wouldn’t be a good game to use as a question on Jeopardy. You can tell who you’re playing as, but only because you’re looking for a specific character. But if you were to stack these characters next to those from other games, Chicken Little’s cast wouldn’t stand out.
Generic blast-‘em-up sounds fill these speakers with repetition.
Simple shooter fun for the kiddies.
Chicken Little: Ace In Action’s audience is likely too young to remember Smash TV, a top-down shooter with gunfire in all directions. This game is a friendlier, 2.5D version of that with bigger levels and polygon graphics.
Goofy mini-games like Alien Collection ask players to place as many aliens into their holes as possible. Not too exciting, but kids might find it entertaining – if they have someone to play the game with (multiplayer requires two game cards).
Three types of laser-blasting fun: on foot, in a tank, and in a spaceship. The first two are pretty close in controls and level layout. They differ in speed and weapon type, but not much else. The last one – the spaceship – is a slow clone of the top-down, side-scrolling space shooter genre. It’s only fun you have something to blast. Needless to say, this one is strictly for kids.
Simple shooter fun for the kiddies
Reviewer: Louis Bedigian
Review Date: 11/27/2006