Today I was taken completely by surprise when I played a really good movie tie-in game.
Rango takes places after the events of the movie with the same name, where the wandering chameleon turned town sheriff must investigate some very strange happenings. Ultimately, Rango saves the town of Dirt and possibly the world from strange alien creatures in a surprisingly fun platformer.
Ultimately Rango really is just another platformer, with basic combat and the occasional puzzle or task to complete in order to move onto the next area. While there is nothing overtly special about the game (it really doesn’t do much to redefine the genre), what is present is a very fun and entertaining experience. The combat is simple but fun, the platforming is solid and the story and visuals are actually bordering on superb.
For the most part though the game has you progressing through hordes of outlaws in an attempt to solve a mystery that leads you to an alien encounter. You can gain upgrades along the way to improve your ability to fight off your foes, and combat in general is fluid and fun. The game isn’t very difficult and can be beat in a few hours (it is a kids game) but this really doesn’t take away from it at all.
Yes, this is a kids game at heart, but there are even a few subtle jokes for the adults playing as well. The most notable of which is a level in which you must sneak around the trailer of a demented, whacked out conspiracy nut who bears a remarkable resemblance to a certain character from one of Johnny Depp’s early breakout films. While kids will likely just think this is some goofy guy, parents playing along or simply watching their kid play will get the reference and laugh for a completely different reason. A fantastic “meta” moment in the game that deserves being highlighted.
Beyond moments such as that, the story is just all around solid and would make for a descent sequel to the film in and of itself (plus Rango deserves credit for having a completely unique story rather than just having you play out the events of the film). Visually the game obviously isn’t up to the quality of the film, but the graphics are more than a little impressive for a movie-tie-in game. Voice acting is also fantastic, and though Johnny Depp doesn’t voice Rango in the game you won’t notice. In fact Jared Butler wasn’t even originally credited on IMDB (Johnny Depp was instead) a true sign of the quality with which Butler imitates Depp’s voice (something he seems to be making a career of doing in video games).
I bought Rango on a whim, not really knowing what type of game it was or that it was a unique story; only that it was a movie-tie-in that was on clearance for $10 at Best Buy. Since I have a problem and can’t typically resist games at that price, I bought it and found myself more than a little surprised at the superb quality of the game. Perhaps in part because my expectations were low, a real possibility, or partly because I do have a fondness for platformers; either way Rango is one of the better movie-tie-in games out there and one of the better platformers to have been released at retail in some time. Is it perfect? No, but I would certainly pick up a sequel if they ever made one.
Tomorrow I travel back in time to the Civil War in Civil War: Secret Missions.
Final Rating: 8/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: Xbox 360
Time to completion: 4 hours and 19 minutes
Gamer Score Earned: 765/1000
Price Bought at: $10
Current Price: $17.35 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: I would say $10, though $15 is reasonable if you have kids who will play it too.
Why you should buy it: To be reminded movie-tie-in games can be good sometimes.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: You’ve opened your drug suit case too many times and think the lizards are out to get you.