The Cat In The Hat PlayStation 2
by Vivendi Universal Games
Developed by Magenta Software
Released - 19th March 2004
Price : £29.99
Whilst the Dr. Seuss stories/cartoons/books etc. are nothing short of a phenomenon in USA the same can't be said here in the UK. Sure it's always been there (even I owned a Cat in the Hat dictionary when I was in primary school and that was over 25 years ago now) but it's never had mass appeal in the same way as it has in the USA. Still with The Cat in the Hat now a movie, and starring the ever popular Mike Myers, the popularity here in the UK can only increase. In fact to further enhance the popularity of Dr. Seuss, and the Cat, we know have a video game called The Cat in the Hat. This review looks at the PlayStation 2 version of the game but it will also be available on Xbox, PC and GBA.
The Cat in the Hat game is inspired by the movie of the same name. You play as The Cat, who else you may ask, and your task is to help a boy called Conrad. Conrad has been tricked by his neighbour, Mr. Quinn, into opening the Cat's big red box which happens to contain his Seussian magic. As you would expect it's the Cat's job to help Conrad, and his sister Sally, to return the magic and also to collect the various pieces of the Crab lock which is used to secure the box. He also has to try and get hold of the pesky Quinn too. The game is basically a platform game that is aimed at the younger gamer and on that level it certainly works well.
In order to see off the enemies he faces in his pursuit of Quinn, the Cat has his trusty umbrella with him which can be used for a weapon. Cat can capture objects in bubbles and then fire them at objects to destroy them. There are a variety of jumps and manuevres that he can make too (double jumps, ground pounds etc.) but none of them are too complicated and feel just right. The various levels (locations within the Conrad's house) have been well done but they can become repetitive in regards to the actions that you're required to carry out to progress. Not that a young child will mind too much but older gamers would certainly feel that it needs more variation.
Graphically speaking The Cat in the Hat is best described as about average for a PlayStation 2 game. It has a 'run of the mil' look about it as nothing particularly stands out but it doesn't really look bad either. As you would expect from a young child's game the colours are bold and bright and overall I think the look of the game is appropriate if not technically amazing. Although the game is 3D the action is almost always from a 2D side-on perspective, which might not seem too exhilirating but it makes the whole thing a lot easier to play and the last thing you want to do for children is give them dodgy camera anges to deal with, which 3D platformers so often have.
While not everything is subtitled in The Cat in the Hat there aren't any real problems for deaf gamers. All the instructions are given in text and the tutorial messages you receive from the smarty fish are given in text. There are some elements that have been missed out though. The comments from The Cat (provided by none other than Mr. Myers himself) are not subtitled. The intro to the game is not subtitled either. None of these omissions are very important but it is unfortunate that there are omissions as, of course, it means you're missing out on content that you've paid for.
Whilst the game isn't going to appeal to older gamers, the youngsters of between 6-9 years old are probably going to enjoy playing The Cat in the Hat. As far as platform games are concerned this one feels right for the age group that it is aimed at. My daughter, who is 9 played through the levels at a nice pace and didn't become bored easily with the game, so it must have got a lot right. It's a pity that everything isn't subtitled but there is enough text here to keep you informed of what's going on. Don't get me wrong though it's still not right that there are ommissions.
Game Rating: 7.0/10
It's a game that youngsters will enjoy and probably play through a couple of times. It's just a shame that it's not fully subtitled.
Once again we have a game that could have been more appealing had it been fully subtitled.