Review by scarlet_puppy

Reviewed: 06/16/08

A poor quality version of Crash Bandicoot.

There are a lot of licensed games out there in this day and age. But why is that? The answer is simple: they are trying to make some money from it. OK, all video game companies are trying to make money, but when I play this game, I can easily tell that there was not a lot of effort put in, whereas most companies at least try to make a good game.

Story: 9/10
I must admit, the story is pretty funny. Red and Yellow, the M&Ms in the adverts, are about to go on vacation, when it is revealed that Yellow has left the Minis in charge of the factory. The factory is in chaos within minutes. Red demands that Yellow save the factory. I like the story, because they made it better than the stereotypical ‘save this damsel in distress’. Easily the best part of the game.

Graphics: 3/10
These graphics are terrible. For a start, the animation is really choppy. Aside from that, the textures are plain, and also about 95% of the game seems to be blue. Every direction you look, you can find blue. The enemies are particularly bad, resembling triangles stuck together by a three-year-old. Overall, the graphics are poor.

Sound: 5/10
The music is a bunch of forgettable tunes that rarely draws much attention to itself. The sound effects are OK: there is a sound for walking, attacking and all that stuff, but nothing special .The voices, however, are exactly the same as in the adverts. No hiring cheap substitutes here, this game has the real thing. It is such a shame that they put all the effort into the voices and not the game.

Gameplay: 4/10
When you first start up this game, you will notice problems straight away. For a start, each level takes ages to load, about twenty to thirty seconds per level. I have no idea why it takes this long, since the graphics are so bad.

There are eight levels, each of which is split into three zones. Admittedly, when you first start playing, the first three zones are quite fun. When you play these zones, you drive Yellow around in a car, trying to get to the factory without crashing. There is also a nice novelty in playing as Yellow, the gullible peanut M&M. These levels actually have some amusement to them. But once you get past these levels, the game takes a major turn for the worse.

The first problem with this game is that it is an exact clone of Crash Bandicoot. You go through similar types of levels, you jump the same way, and Yellow even has the same spin attack as Crash. There are dynamite and nitro boxes, and everything in the game seems to be ripped off of Crash Bandicoot. Seriously, there is nothing original at all in this game. But that is not the only problem with this game. For a start, it is simply too easy. When you play through the game, the A.I. simply runs back and forth, almost never actually trying to attack you. Also, there is the old system of ‘collect 100 of this item, and get a life’. The problem is, it is much too easy to get lives. After three or four levels, you will have literally forty-five or so lives, meaning running out of lives is almost impossible. The boss fights are also very boring. They are just as easy as the other levels. It takes all of about three seconds to work out what to do, and from there is a piece of cake. No challenge there then.

The game’s main saving grace is with the cut scenes. At the beginning and end of each of the sets of three levels (what are known as zones in the game), there is some sort of cut scene. The graphics here are great, and they do a surprisingly good job of making each one funny in its own way. Well done to whoever designed them. Also, there are some secret levels to unlock. You do not have to unlock them, but it can be very rewarding to say that you have completed the game fully.

Unfortunately, that is not enough to save the game from simply being a poor quality clone of Crash Bandicoot that is best left undiscovered. It was made to cash in on the franchise, and fools like me go and buy them.

Replay Value: 4/10
The average gamer will most likely be able to beat this game in six to eight hours; possibly even less if they are good. But whoever you are, this game can easily be completed very quickly.

Pros:
Great voices.
Hilarious cut scenes.
You get to play as Yellow.
Cool secret levels.
The first three levels are somewhat fun…

Cons:
… the rest of the levels are boring.
Nothing new at all.
Terrible graphics.
Forgettable music.
Not enough challenge.
Too short.
Awful loading times.
A very, very generic clone of Crash Bandicoot

Buy, rent or avoid: Avoid; get Crash Bandicoot instead. Crash Bandicoot is actually fun, whereas this game is not. Naughty Dog must be furious that this game has come out; I know I would be.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Product Release: M&M's Shell Shocked (US, 09/30/01)

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