The Grinch

I'm not a fan of Dr Seuss. I know his stuff probably isn't aimed at 30-something blokes living in 2014, but I find everything about the twee, rhyming prose and creepy art-style of the books quite revolting. Not revolting to the degree that I'd have to projectile vomit all over a tramp's face if I had to sit and read one (I use the term 'read' in the loosest possible sense, by the way), but I simply don't care for them. It appears that I'm in a minority though, as the books featuring his bizarre creations (Kudos) continue to sell by the lorry-load, and there have been several movies based on them in recent times. There was that nightmare-inducing Mike Myers abomination The Cat in the Hat, the very recent Danny DeVito film The Lorax (which by all accounts had very little in common with the original story), and further back there was The Grinch Who Stole Christmas starring Ace Ventura...but he doesn't appear to do much Pet Detective work in that particular installment of the popular series. Of course, I jest...but yeah, it wasn't a particularly good movie in my opinion, even though it was a massive box office success and won an Oscar for the makeup. But anyway, enough history of the good Doctor's movie back catalogue. I'm here to tell you about the game of the movie of the book - How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Oddly, and even though it was released roughly at the same time and features story elements from the movie, the game is simply monikered The Grinch...there is no mention of the theft of the world's most commercial national holiday anywhere in the title. As well as this omission, there is similarly no sign of Jim Carrey's vocal talents.

As you would expect from a movie tie-in (of sorts), The Grinch takes elements of the plot and loosely ties them together in a 3D platform adventure. You control Grinchy and his faithful dog Max (you can switch between the two on the fly in order to collect items from areas inaccessible to the Grinch) and have to wander around various movie and non-movie based locations crushing Christmas presents with your arse, avoiding enemies, breathing toxic breath on stuff and collecting rotten eggs to throw about. As far as platformers on the Dreamcast go, it plays well enough and has some crisp visuals...but nothing can hide the fact that it is a PlayStation game that has been given a bit of a polish for the extra capabilities of Sega's machine. It's not as bad as Ducati World's pixellated mishmash, but you can instantly tell that The Grinch started life as a 32-bit game and has been slightly enhanced. Graphics aside though, the aesthetics are decent - the production values are quite high and the voice acting and narration is very good, despite me not liking the whole Seuss rhyming story thang.

I also have to mention the fully coloured manual and the artwork within said book - it's of a high quality and a nice addition to the package. Speaking of packaging, one look at the front of the box will reveal that the game was published by Konami...which I find a little strange. Konami is a powerhouse of a games developer and publisher, and yet the only games it found worthy to release on the Dreamcast other than The Grinch (certainly in PAL territories, anyway) were Deadly Skies, Silent Scope, Nightmare Creatures 2 and ESPN International Track & Field. I know there was an original Castlevania game planned and then cancelled...but where was International Superstar Soccer? Or Symphony of the Night? Hmmm. No, Konami did not develop The Grinch, but the question remains - who was the person that decided Konami should expend resources putting this mediocrity out when the people demanded more? If the Dreamcast had played host to an upgraded port of ISS Pro, the story could have been so different. Ho hum.

While I'm going off on tangents, it has become apparent to me the The Grinch is seen as quite a rare title for the Dreamcast and commands higher than normal prices for what many would consider a cheap PS1 port. I remember seeing a copy at a car boot sale some time ago and the bloke selling it wanted £20 for it, and added the immortal line "it sells for more than that on eBay." It'll come as no surprise that I parted with no money on that cold and frosty morning, but he was right to a degree - The Grinch on Dreamcast does indeed command some silly prices on various sites...but after playing it, I can't see why. And while we're on the subject, I paid £8.99 plus P&P. Meh.

1 comment:

The GagaMan(n) said...

Konami in general never made sense on Sega consoles. Remember how the only game they released outside of Japan for the Saturn for years was a crappy isometric platformer called Whizz, when Japan was treated to the likes of Castlevania? The mind boggles what they were thinking back then.