Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King Updated Impressions

We get a new look at the handheld companion to Tim Burton's creepy-cool animated film.

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Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King
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In September, famously wacky director Tim Burton will unleash his latest horrifying animated opus, Corpse Bride. But the release of this new film hasn't stopped the director from also collaborating with Buena Vista Interactive on new game projects based on his last stop-motion triumph, 1993's The Nightmare Before Christmas. We've taken several looks at the PlayStation 2 game, subtitled Oogie's Revenge, and we just got to see a bit more of its Game Boy Advance counterpart, an exploration-based action game called The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King.

Get a look at Jack Skellington's origins in the upcoming Nightmare Before Christmas game, The Pumpkin King.
Get a look at Jack Skellington's origins in the upcoming Nightmare Before Christmas game, The Pumpkin King.

Whereas Oogie's Revenge is set a year after the film, The Pumpkin King takes place sometime before it and will let the developers (with direction from Burton himself) flesh out some of the realities of Jack Skellington's world. For instance, just what is Oogie Boogie? How did Jack meet him, and why does he terrorize Halloween Town? How does Jack become the Pumpkin King? Those questions and more will be answered in the GBA game's storyline, which the team says has provided them and Burton with the chance to flesh out the mythos of The Nightmare Before Christmas a little more.

In gameplay terms, The Pumpkin King is a vertical side-scroller much in the vein of the recent 2D Metroid and Castlevania games on the GBA. You'll control Jack through a number of locations from the film, such as Halloween Town and Jack's house, and you'll run into plenty of familiar faces as well, such as Zero, the clown, and Oogie himself. As you explore the game's expansive map, you'll gain new weapons and powers that will let you do more in previous areas and access new ones as well. You'll pick up health upgrades and new basic attack powers, such as a frog gun that functions much like a traditional shotgun. Jack will also gain the power to become the Pumpkin King when he collects enough death peppers, which will naturally set him ablaze.

The game will contain some extra functionality in addition to the core side-scrolling, platforming action. For instance, you'll get to take control of Jack's ghostly canine sidekick, Zero, in a number of third-person race-style action levels that you'll access throughout the game. The Pumpkin King will also contain three multiplayer puzzle modes, though we didn't get a chance to check these out during our short demo.

This fall will mark a video game renaissance of sorts for The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Pumpkin King looks like a nice way to add on to the popular franchise. The game is due out in November, so stay tuned for more.

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