Anubis II Review

You mean there was an Anubis I?

According to fictional archaeologists, ancient Egypt was overrun by tiny walking pyramids and swarms of killer gnats. They all suffered under a sky the color of banana-flavored baby food, living in terror of a howling wolf dressed up to look like a sarcophagus. These archaeologists then created a platformer called Anubis II in this vision, putting you in the sandals of the wolf and tasking you with defeating an evil... something. Somewhere. What could possibly go wrong?

As it turns out, as much as you can imagine and more. As the titular savior of Egypt, you must navigate through some ramps and platforms, and then more ramps and more platforms, combined with some ramps and platforms. Most of them are yellow. Others are gray or brown. Using the Nunchuk's analog stick, you scuttle around like a toddler in a 50-yard dash, and jump onto those ramps and platforms using one of two equally abhorrent methods. You can fling the Nunchuk upward, which is unresponsive and, frankly, a stupid idea; alternately, you can use the Z button, which at least works. However, having to both move and jump using the Nunchuk is simply terrible and contributes to plenty of hand cramps.

Pictures are worth a thousand words. And this picture says 'this game sucks.'
Pictures are worth a thousand words. And this picture says 'this game sucks.'

Furthermore, the regular mechanic of running around is broken. Your wolf has about three animations when running, and he responds poorly to analog-stick movements. He tends to keep moving even after you've stopped pressing the stick, so be prepared to fall off of platforms often and through no fault of your own. There are only two speeds: completely still and five-year-old-on-caffeine. Likewise, there's no subtlety to your direction, given that you don't have a full 360 degrees of turning motion. Rather, you seem to be limited to 16 different turning increments, which makes the clear-cut act of simply moving around an enormous struggle. It's like playing Berserk on the Atari 2600, only you have a few more pre-set facing angles.

While there is apparently some sort of story at play, at least according to the manual and the box, the game doesn't clue you in as to what your true purpose is. As a result, your only goal is to collect various floating pyramids that let you unlock the next level, where your mission is to unlock the next level, which then tasks you with... unlocking the next level. Sadly, you have to jump to get to these pyramids. Jumping happens with the same amount of ease with which you run, which is to say that it's jerky and unresponsive. You've got the same range-of-turning issues here, coupled with a broken camera. The camera doesn't really do much on its own, but your own control is limited to resetting it directly behind you (and doing so doesn't even result in a transition animation--it just jerks there in a single frame). It's absolute insanity.

There's some combat, too. You can either waggle the remote to watch your wand clip through scarabs, or clip through pyramids with feet, or clip through... some other kind of bug. Half the time, waggling the remote does absolutely nothing, and when you do manage a swing, you can never tell if you are making contact because there is no enemy collision detection. When you defeat an enemy, a heart floats away, and if you manage to jump to it, you will replenish some health. But you need to deal with the terrible movement controls to get to it, so good luck with that. You can also hit B on the Wii Remote to enter a free-targeting mode and fire blue balls of fire at stuff, but this works atrociously. The targeting crosshair is all jumpy, and the camera goes absolutely nuts, often getting stuck in some awful position and forcing you exit targeting mode to reset the camera.

On top of all of this, Anubis II is an ugly, ugly game. Environments are all colored in some shade of yellow or another, which makes this the only game in which unsightly gray textures are a visual respite. Your foes have about two animations each and appear to have been drawn by a chimpanzee with an eight-pack of generic-brand crayons. There is a single music track, a midi jamboree tune that doesn't even remotely fit the Egyptian theme and will have you clawing at your ears five minutes after you start. The few sound effects are terrible, such as the onerous thud Anubis makes when he lands, which sounds like someone hitting a cast-iron pot with a drumstick.

There's more, of course. Between levels, there are some impossibly dumb minigames that give you no chance to figure out what you're supposed to do before they're over. There are times when you're supposed to wave your wand, but the game can't distinguish between a wand wave and an attack, which forces you to sit there for five minutes until you do the mysterious magical motion that gets it right. Ultimately, what you need to know is this: Anubis II is one of the worst games ever created and fundamentally broken. If you play it, you can never get back the three hours you wasted on this unique brand of torture.

  • View Comments (0)
    The Good
    The Bad
    Broken movement and jumping controls
    Broken combat
    Hideous visuals
    Repugnant soundtrack melody
    About GameSpot's Reviews

    About the Author

    Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play bass in Rock Band.

    Anubis II More Info

  • First Released Sep 18, 2007
    • PC
    • PlayStation 2
    • Wii
    Anubis II is a 3D platformer in which you, as Anubis, must protect the tombs of Egypt from the evil spirit of Mumm'hotep.
    Average Rating342 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Anubis II
    Developed by:
    Metro3D, Data Design Interactive
    Published by:
    Metro3D, UFO Interactive, Popcorn Arcade
    Platformer, 3D, Action
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Mild Cartoon Violence