Monsters, Inc.: Scare Island
Disney/Pixar's Monsters, Inc.: Scare Island has a lot to live up to, given the success of the 2001 animated film Monsters, Inc. The plot is played out in clips shown from the movie each time you earn medals, an element that gives incentive while providing lots of fun. The entire game, or at least the part you actually play, consists of levels that train you to scare kids, but in a lighthearted, fun way.
In order to see all of the video clips from the movie, you have to get three medals, bronze, silver, and gold, for all 12 areas in the game. While not physically or mentally difficult, count on taking quite a few hours to complete the process. Controls are simple, with arrow keys for movement and specific keys to jump and attack. Destroying toys isn't mandatory, but using your special moves to do so is occasionally fun. If you're hit five times by a toy, you lose a life, but with so many extra lives scattered around the levels, it really doesn't matter. Falling down a bottomless pit is the same as getting hit by a toy, so dying isn't a serious concern.
A challenging aspect of the game, and one that adds enjoyment rather than nuisance value, is the requirement to revisit levels to reach areas not accessible on the first time through. Special items (trampoline, speed arrows, and flingshots) are needed to access some areas, and you have to earn them by getting a certain number of medals. Once accomplished, you have to return to already completed levels to find new items; thus each level retains a bit of mystery for future play.
Your primary goal is to scare kids, but instead of the real deal, Scare Island is populated by robot kids known as Nerves. To achieve the goal, Mike and Sulley need to collect ooze, which is measured by a meter, to attain "scare mode." When the meter is filled, both characters use unique scare tactics that are more humorous than scary, such as Mike poking his one eye and yelling "Ow!" or Sulley doing a disco dance while growling. The mode is funny and Nerves are easy to scare, even those with higher ratings. Gameplay involves repeatedly mashing a designated button for the number of times required to scare the targeted Nerve -- the higher the rating, the more button mashing.
The dozen areas are grouped into three environments: city, desert, and arctic. After each area, you have to race Randall Boggs in order to collect monster tokens and advance. But, you can challenge him at any time during the game with an unlimited number of attempts. Disney/Pixar's Monsters, Inc.: Scare Island may not be challenging enough for older kids, but it's still amusing and filled with all sorts of items and places to explore.
Following the actual plotlines of the movie would have enhanced the game, such as giving you the opportunity to stop Randall's evil scheme, but the simple design is built around letting Mike and Sulley practice to be Top Scarers. Scare Island is not too challenging, and there's no violence other than the breaking of toys, but gameplay is fun and allows fans of the characters to extend their enjoyment just a bit more. ~ Nick Woods, All Game Guide
Great representation of the characters and movie clips, with virtually no graphical errors. Action does slow a bit when the screen is too crowded, but doesn't affect gameplay. ~ Nick Woods, All Game Guide
Background music is a bit silly and plays off of the action during the game. Actual cast members from the movie provide some of the voices. ~ Nick Woods, All Game Guide
The three levels you play are all training, so you always have the feeling you're going to get some "real" levels. Still, it's a fun-filled monster school setting, and the three areas have variety and depth. ~ Nick Woods, All Game Guide
It's possible to beat the game by attaining all the bronze medals, but you'll have to go back to the same levels again to get silver and gold. Technically, you have to beat the game three times to finish. ~ Nick Woods, All Game Guide
The short comprehensive manual includes an overview of the three areas and descriptions of some of the characters. ~ Nick Woods, All Game Guide