So you saw Lilo and Stitch and are thinking of playing the video game. Or perhaps you’re also very fond of platform games and are bored waiting for the slew of new platformers coming out this fall. Well then, my friends, you came to the right place, as I was both of those before I played Disney’s Stitch – Experiment 626.
For those of you who are worried about spoilers or redundancy, relax. The game is set in the time before the movie starts. You are Experiment 626 – a genetically created little guy with four arms and a built in desire to destroy everything around you. Jumba, your creator, wants you to go out and collect DNA for him in order to further his experiments. Pretty simple concept, enter a world, pick an area and run through it while picking up DNA and destroying everything you can fire at.
Experiment 626 is pretty indestructible. He can fall from tall heights with out any problem, can take a lot of hits. He can run upright or on all sixes and even double jump. 626 can also climb up vines and wires. And for tough situations, he can move faster than the other game characters, until he runs out of slo mo power. There’s only one thing 626 fears – liquid. Experiment 626 is too dense to swim – so fall in any liquid and it’s over. Fortunately the game plays with infinite lives, so you never really die – you just start again from your last checkpoint. Blowing up all the items around you, and killing enemies, will yield alien toes (for health), guns, DNA, slo mo objects, or nothing at all.
In each area you start out with one ray gun, picking up as many as four as you go. The more guns the quicker the destruction. You’ll also a freeze gun and big gun. Unlike the ray guns, these two will disappear after you use their shots up, so pick your targets carefully. The enemies you run across are often Dr. Habitrale’s (another evil scientist) experiments, but as you progress in the game, the army comes after Jumba and also 626. Some of your enemies will be downed with blasts from you ray guns, other require the big gun or freeze gun, and still others will require Experiment 626’s special ball slam move. The ball slam comes to 626 courtesy of his ability to slow down time – for brief periods.
As for items that help you move around, there are two. The grappling gun is a lot of fun – probably my favorite part of the game. It’ll latch onto tree branches, pipes, even energy beams allowing you to swing from place to place over large chasms and water. You’ll have to push him back and forth like a swing to get his speed up and then let go and if it’s a good distance to the next item to grapple onto, you might have to make use of 626’s double jump There is also a jet pack you’ll find to fly through certain levels. Only problem here is that you have to fly through a ring to refuel the pack – miss one and it’s instant death. The big problem with the jet pack is the sluggish controls of the game. That combined with the timed factor of the rings makes these areas difficult, but some gamers will no doubt excel at flying with the jet pack.
Also be on the lookout for squid bots. If you chase them around you’ll be rewarded with a reel of film. Collect enough and you can buy scenes from Lilo and Stitch. Some of those film reels, however, will just be hidden in the areas for you to find while you’re looking for DNA.
The game really plays like a good game for a kid – infinite lives, whatever you collect is collected even if you get stuck and have to back out of a level, and to beat the game you only have to collect about two thirds of the DNA out there. Also the game play is fairly simple – collect DNA and blow stuff up. There are no puzzles to solve, the only challenge there is finding out which way to go and how to get where you want to go. But passing a checkpoint helps. It’ll light up and point you in the direction of the next checkpoint.
So keeping in mind that this is a game geared toward kids, the game is actually quite good – except for two thing, which can be kinda big in the gameplay department. First off is the camera, which is pretty bad. It’s always centered behind 626, but if you turn around without running in a circle, 626 will be facing you with the camera in his face – causing the controls to be backwards and 626 to be running blind. You can recenter it with the R2 button, but it can really mess you up in timed events. In fact, the camera caused me to mostly skip chasing after the squid bots. The other bad thing about the camera is that though you can use the right analog stick to look around, you can’t reposition the direction that 626 is facing without actually moving him. This cause me great consternation when I was trying to make him jump platforms and the next platform was sideways from where he was facing.
The other complaint is the sluggishness of the controls. At times, moving Stitch was like moving a boat – hard to get him moving but once he starts you can’t stop him. This made jumping hard (all too often you would jump over the object even when you stopped pushing him with the analog stick once his 626-shaped shadow was positioned nicely on the object you were jumping to) as well as flying with the jet pack. However it didn’t seem to affect his grappling, or his regular running.
One last thing – I gotta mention the music. It was really good music! I was quite impressed with it. It had the right amount of background feeling while having a good wild undertone to go along with the destruction that 626 was wreaking. Kudos to Disney for that.
So all in all it is a pretty good game, even if it is easily beaten. My recommendation is if you are bored and jonesin’ for a new platformer, or if you need a game for a kid, then rent it for a couple of days and beat it. But it’s not really worth buying nor even playing if your not a platformer fiend. Of course it goes without saying that if you didn’t like the movie, don’t play the game.