Since the release of Toy Story in 1995, the Pixar animation studio has made a name for itself by producing beautiful digitally animated films that appeal as much to adults as they do to children. Monsters, Inc. Scream Team for the PlayStation is based on Pixar's latest feature, Monsters, Inc., and while the mere presence of the main characters from the film may be enough to satiate children, more sophisticated players will likely find this 3D platformer to be too repetitive and easy.
Scream Team uses many of the main characters from Monsters, Inc., but it doesn't follow the story of the film--instead, it acts as a sort of prequel. Sully, the large blue-furred beast, and Mike, the short one-eyed monster, have been invited to Scare Island by Monsters, Inc., the most highly regarded scaring company in Monstropolis. On Scare Island, they'll be put through a series of trials to see if they are Monsters, Inc. material.
These trials consist of a series of simulated real-world environments, where Mike and Sully must seek out and scare robotic versions of human children, which are called Nerves. For the most part, Scream Team plays like your basic 3D platformer, with simple button-and-switch puzzles, a smattering of enemies that can be dispatched with a simple attack or the now standard butt-stomp, and plenty of item collection. There's nothing really wrong with the gameplay in Scream Team; both Mike and Sully are responsive, and rarely do you feel like your fighting against the controls. The game is just extremely straightforward and very, very easy. The only times the gameplay really changes is when you come in contact with a Nerve, which you scare by repeatedly mashing on various controller buttons, Track & Field-style, and at the end of each training ground, when you'll participate in a race with Randall, the protagonist's archrival from the film. Scaring the Nerves gets boring and tedious very quickly, since it's the one act you'll perform the most in Scream Team, while the racing proves to be a nice change of pace from the rest of the game's more deliberately paced platforming action.
There's not much to say about the graphics in Scream Team, other than they look like those of a PlayStation game. The characters aren't made up of many polygons, but they still capably capture the likenesses of their prerendered counterparts. The game occasionally shows slight amounts of slowdown and texture warping, but not enough to really affect your game-playing experience. The biggest graphical treats in Scream Team are the prerendered cutscenes from the movie, which you're treated to at the end of each level. While they aren't at all linked to the events in the game, the promise of more high-quality Pixar-produced CG may be enough incentive to play through the next level.
Scream Team's aural presentation is equally as middle-of-the-road as the graphics. Voice-acting duties for Mike and Sully have been taken care of by Billy Crystal and John Goodman soundalikes, though their impersonations tend to be inconsistent and are outclassed by the dead-pan delivery of the game's orientation guide. Ambient sounds are minimal, but the game compensates with a nice soundtrack that is always fitting to the environment.
Like most of the games being released for the PlayStation at this point, Scream Team is intended for younger, more casual gamers. The game is well produced enough, with an adequate soundtrack, sharp, colorful graphics, and a sound physics model, but the simplicity of the gameplay and the game's relative shortness keeps Scream Team from being attractive to the more serious gamers.