Listen up developers, for many years there has been a certain stigma against movie to video game based adaptations. Therefore the one way to well and truly break out of this is not to release more games but instead to ensure what you produce is quality that is at the very least faithful to the film and not painful to play. I for one am quite lenient on such games, and quite enjoyed playing through all eight Harry Potter games (For the Philisophers Stone / Chamber of Secrets I actually played both PC and Gamecube adaptations). Turbo: Super Stunt Squad, based on the DreamWorks film Turbo arrived in my PO Box out of the blue, infact I had never even heard of there being a video game adaptation planned for the film.
Published by Namco Bandai Games Australia (in Australia) and D3 Publisher in North America, this title comes from Monkey Bar Games who have been behind a number of similar film / TV show adaptations. While it was made evident straight from the start that I was not part of its target audience… I could not get into it at all. Unfortunately the stigma against film to video game adaptations will not be vanishing on the back of this game.
The moment you boot up and go through the relatively long loading screens you are presented with menu screens with static imagery and colour combinations that both leave the impression of the game being a generation or two past its prime. After this impression you are drawn into a game that feels not like a racing game as the cover artwork hints at but rather a stunt game more akin to the Tony Hawk skateboarding games from the PS2 era… only with snails. The gameplay is also very reminiscent of the skateboarding genre of games with collecting the letters T-U-R-B-O, performing tricks around bland arenas and racking up points / completing objectives.
Poor level design, clunky controls and frustrating physics made the game undesirable in the first couple of attempts, and led me to just switch off and play (at the time) Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX. The game experience is not enhanced by any means with its repetitive and all-around bland soundtrack. The games voice acting on the other hand isn’t too bad, however is not predominant in the game, generally consisting off voice overs for the tutorial and a few one-liners for each character.
The games visuals are not too bad, however are nothing more superior than an early current-generation title and could very well be comparable to a mid-range PS2 title. You are given the selection of a few different snails to race with which don’t come across as simple recolours. There is also a considerable variety of tracks to play through, however usually come off as small and bland but are designed adequately to take advantage of the gameplay system.
While by no means is Turbo: Super Stunt Squad the worst movie to game adaptation on the market, its below par visuals, bland music and rather uninspiring gameplay mechanics makes it something that I struggled to keep my attention on, and is not fitting for what seems to have been a rather good film according to reviews I have been reading. Also, while it does state “Super Stunt Squad” in its title, why did they not choose to go with a racing game given that it would have tied into the film much better?
But as I said earlier, I am evidently not the target market for this title….