It warms the cockles of my heart when a quality licence like Wallace & Gromit gets a quality tie-in game. Developed by Frontier, it’s their second W&G game (following the non-movie tie-in “Project Zoo”), and it shows. From the start as the music plays you feel like you could be watching the movie, and soon you’re controlling W&G as they capture rabbits that are making a mess of Lady Tottington’s lawn – you see, their latest venture is in the pest control business, and their company is called Anti-Pesto…
The monstrous Were-Rabbit of the title is causing a great deal of strife because the local vegetable show is just around the corner, and many of the townsfolk’s prize veggies have been chomped by this mysterious night time vandal, who has a voracious appetite to match his size.
You initially play as Gromit, sucking up errant bunnies in your ‘bungun’, and depositing them in a vacuum collection device, all gadgets of course, invented by Wallace. Later you’ll be battling Were-creatures of all sorts at night time (you can change day into night whenever you want) both with simple melée attacks (well, you twat them with your gun) or using collected “Were-energy” against them like an electro-shock gun. If you’ve played many platform adventures then you’ll recognise elements of some of the very best in this game – the herding element is straight out of Herdy Gerdy and the ‘Bungun’ in particular is an awful lot like the “Poltergust 3000™” vacuum device from Luigi’s Mansion, so Wallace had better make sure he has the correct patent pending!
As you progress you’ll visit several different areas; Wallis & Gromit's street, the town centre, a wood, a factory, harbour and even a ship, and as you go about your Anti-Pesto business you'll need to swap between characters or whistle them for help, and co-operation and co-ordination between our two heroes is vital in many of the missions, many of which are time limited. A stroke of genius is that you can also have 2 players play co-operatively; admittedly sharing the same screen and all that the format brings with it. But it seems to work quite well as long as you communicate and are on the same wavelength. And herein lies the game’s only problem – some of the tasks and mini games are way too tough for what I imagine a large section of the target audience to be: kids. But in its defence, these are nearly all side-issues and challenge games and not vital to the completion of the game’s main story, and thus you’ll be able to see the end of the game even if you can’t do them, or prefer to miss them out.
Swinging, floating, shooting, clambering, herding and racing through the dozens of missions and sub games you can’t fail to have some fun or find a challenge (and if the old “amount of swearwords during play=addictiveness of the challenge” formula holds true here, then Were-Rabbit is a minor masterpiece). The inimitable W&G humour shines through in several places, and you can see that Frontier worked closely with Aardman Animations when producing the game.
A high quality title featuring authentic voices (supplied by Peter Sallis as Wallace and Helena Bonham-Carter as Lady Campunala Tottington) that’s rarely less than fun, Curse of the Were-Rabbit is an absolute must-have for fans of W&G, and a cracking platform adventure in its own right.