A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game continues the action from the animated movie. The game is set in a haunted world full of familiar monsters like skeletons and witches, many of whom are friendly and sweet rather than scary. Players will fight hundreds of creatures, but the battles are bloodless and cartoonish.
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What's it about?
Like the movie on which it was based, TIM BURTON'S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS: OOGIE'S REVENGE tells the tale of Jack Skellington, hero of Halloween Town. Jack returns from his search for new, improved thrills and chills to find that Oogie Boogie has made the frightening-yet-fun Halloween Town menacing, filled with traps and dangerous ghouls. Players assume the role of Jack, embarking on a relatively long and action-packed single-player mission to restore Halloween Town to its silly-scary status, and stop Oogie from taking over the other holidays.
The game provides plenty of opportunities for fighting through more than 25 levels. Jack uses an elastic tentacle called the Soul Grabber to snap and lasso enemies, and as a grappling hook to swing and climb. The game's boss battles are frequently livened up with song-and-dance interludes that involve damage-dealing rhythm games in which players must hit buttons in time to the music.
Is it any good?
Although experienced players might find the action simple, this video game sequel to the movie provides a satisfying adventure in a delightfully macabre world. Most impressively, the game captures the sweetly morbid mood of the movie. The graphics are perfect for representing the cartoonish, almost toy-like nature of the characters and settings. Yes, Jack is fighting his way through legions of skeletons, ghosts, and trolls, but the undead manage to seem more cuddly than creepy: Skeletons dangling from nooses casually read books as they hang; Jack rides a sleigh made from a coffin pulled by reindeer skeletons.
There are some problems. The battle viewing angles are sometimes poor, and fighting can get tiresome as Jack whips his way through hordes of rather weak enemies. And some songs play too frequently. But even the most tedious sequences are beautiful to behold.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the marketing of games tied to movies. How are movies used to sell other products like video games to children (and vice versa)? Are you more likely to want a game just because it has a character they know from a film? Do these games live up to your expectations?
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