The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer
Developer: Heavy Iron Studios
Publisher: THQ
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1 or 2 co-op
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Late in 2004 saw the release of the original The Incredibles videogame, which followed the story of the movie very closely, and even featured short FMV sequences grabbed directly from Pixarís movie. I actually reviewed it on this very website too, and found it an enjoyable experience, if a little basic and simple. Its main drawback was the lack of multiplayer, so itís very nice to see that the sequel has a two player co-operative mode, which means you can play through the entire game through with someone else.

The game starts off exactly where the movie (and game) finished with the Underminer smashing through the earthís surface to cause havoc on the city. The game begins instantly, and you (Mr. Incredible) and your partner (who is controlled either by AI or another human player) Frozone must chase down the Underminer and stop him in his evil tracks.

Where the first game branched into a number of genres, the sequel is heavily slanted towards scrolling combat. Within each area you must get from A to B, battling enemies along the way. This sounds very simple, and for the most part it is. However you have to use both of the charactersí skills and abilities to progress. For example, Mr. Incredible can pick up large objects and throw them at enemies, whereas Frozone can freeze enemies that get in the way and can destroy traps and spinning spikes devices by freezing them until they shatter. Some enemies are a long way from reach, so you can use Frozone to freeze incoming missiles, and then have Mr. Incredible pick up the frozen missile and throw it at the enemy thus destroying it! Frozone can make bridges out of ice, which span gaps too far to jump which is another neat feature. Itís all quite simple stuff really, but it plays well and is enjoyable.

If you do play the game solo, the AI controls the secondary character. However at any time you can switch to them by pressing Ďupí on the controllerís D-pad. This is handy, if for example, Frozone is getting battered by enemies so you want to take over to destroy the enemies yourself. You can also instruct the partner to hold back, and obviously you can tell them to help you out too. I found Frozone is normally the character that needs assistance the most, as he is quite weak really, and his only real special ability is his freezing skill Ė Mr Incredible can normally look after himself as heís so tough.

By meeting certain criteria within each level you can increase various skills of each character, such as health and abilities, and you can also upgrade your super moves too. Itís a nice feature that you can do this at any time during a level, so you donít have to wait until the end of a section to be able to upgrade Ė handy if youíre near a boss fight or particularly hard section.

Fans of the movie will be pleased by the gameís presentation, which looks and sounds like it should. The character models look good, move smoothly, and have the proper voice acting too, which is a nice touch. Music is pretty good too, if a little repetitive, but it captures the feel of the movie, which is important.

Personally I think the game still might be a little too hard for its target audience, which will primarily be under 12s. However checkpoints in the game are placed fairly and you can retry sections as many times as you want, so lives arenít too much of a problem.

Overall I liked The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer; Itís a simple game, but it's good fun to play and co-op play works really well, which makes for an enjoyable experience. For older gamers it doesnít really offer you much compared to more adult platformers such as Sly Racoon or Jak and Daxter, but then it isnít aimed at us oldies. For the target audience itís just about perfect, as they will enjoy the way it plays, they will love the characters and the enemies, and will clearly be able to relate it to the movie, which of course they adored. Thumbs up from me.

Best Bits

- Co-op plays really well
- Follows the story nicely from the movie (and the first game)
- Great presentation
Worst Bits

- Might still be a little too hard for the really little ones
- Quite a simple and short game

by: DC

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