December 2, 2005
PlayStation 2, XBox
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a great movie for young and old alike. The movie-based game though is a mixed bag that should appeal to younger adventure gamers who have been weaned on the consoles.
The game mirrors the movie’s plot as Anti-Pesto – a humane pest control business run by Wallace & Gromit – is busier than usual capturing stray rabbits as the annualGiant Vegetable Competition is only days away. But running a humane pest control has it drawbacks as the duo’s home is about to be overrun by captive bunnies which leads Wallace to invent the Mind-O-Matic, a brain-altering device meant to rid the rabbits of their veggie-craving behavior. But the experiment misfires and before long there is a large, nocturnal rabbit ravaging the local crops.
The game begins at Tottington Hall as the wealthy spinster Lady Tottington has hired Anti-Pesto to rid her grounds of infestation. This is your first introduction in manipulating the various devices used to corral and capture the rabbits and while it is initially fun, as the game progresses and you repeat this process over-and-over, it becomes shear drudgery. This problem is magnified – and is a total deviation from the movie -when the pompous Victor Quartermaine creates a device that mutates the local wildlife into were-creatures and you are then faced with the problem of defeating were-rats, weasels, chickens, hedgehogs and badgers. Not that I’m a purist mind you, but I thought this attempt to pad the game unnecessary.
Strange as this may sound, the game suffers at times from being overambitious. There are simply too many characters to remember, too many quests to keep track of and too many different devices and combat moves to simply remember them all. For much of the game, you need to complete mini-quests in order to gain the townspeople’s trust and to eventually open new areas. Most of these mini-quests involve fetching an object from, of course, as far away as possible and then returning to your original point while usually stopping in between to round up some varmints. This all eventually becomes mind-numbing.
But the characters of Wallace & Gromit are wonderfully realized and it is fun – excepting the combat sequences - to be in their shoes (or paws). Yet, as much as video games have advanced, they still sometimes try too hard and I missed the little touches from the movie such as the understated adult humor and the fingerprint impressions that could be seen on some of the characters which was a subtle reminder that this was a movie created by living, breathing human beings and not some uncaring computer programming.
Final Grade: C+