CID The Dummy

   26/03/2009 at 08:11       Micro Explosion       1 COMMENTS.
CID the dummy tells the story of a crash test dummy that dreams of being more than just a dummy. One day these dreams come true as the factory chief, Prof. Werken, sends our intrepid hero out into the world to rescue his daughter from the evil villain D-Troit.

This is a basic platformer that is clearly aimed at a younger audience and bravely but wisely makes little attempt to hide this. The basic mechanics will be familiar to anyone; run around, jump and collect things as instructed and occasionally attack an enemy or avoid security cameras. None of these would challenge a veteran but for a young child the difficulty level doesn't seem to far off although there may be the occasional frustration of checkpoints that are a little uneven in their distribution.

A good element is that game styles do vary across levels: just within the first few levels you'll come across standard platforming fare, including some extremely basic shooting (think Mega Man or any of those other side-scolling platform shooters) but also puzzles and skills such as the ability to charge through certain walls as well as levels based on extremely basic driving to provide a welcome change of pace. These abilities and driving sections are limited in their complexity and the controls don't feel quite as free flowing as would be ideal to make the most of what's there.

There is some decent character design work, most notably on the bosses, but any variation that is there is limited by the lack of on screen enemies - just across the first couple of levels you'll run into barely more than a handful in total. It's also slightly disappointing that more of the Crash Test Dummy element isn't used, in many respects it's irrelevant to the game beyond the look of your character and the locations. There are a few elements, including the as mentioned ability to charge through some walls but it doesn't feel as though it's been used to the full potential.

The level design doesn't bring much new to the arena including brief stealth sections, avoidable obstacles and fairly plain and repetitive scenery, but this is broken up with basic puzzling sections - they're unlikely to be a challenge to a veteran of platform games but are pitched at just about the right level for the apparent target audience.

The game feels as though it's aiming for a similar ground as the likes of the Lego games and, although simpler in many ways and lacking in much of the humour and some of the charm, it's not wholly unsuccessful in that aim. There are minor issues at this stage such as sound lacking atmosphere and some of the voices are likely to irritate after a couple of hours of play, in some cases much faster. It was slightly disappointing to see the cutscenes in full 3D and are limited in their effectiveness and may have worked better in 2D, especially with the apparent limitation of the graphics engine.

With some work on the general atmosphere and humour this has the potential to fit a sizeable gap in the market for the younger audience but when the likes of Mario and the Lego series of games, both of which have significant crossover into part of the same audience, then this may struggle to find it's feet.
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