Pixar's latest film, The Incredibles, has landed on the GBA in the form of a simplistic but pleasant beat-'em-up. The combat isn't complicated, and there isn't much payoff for beating the whole thing, but the ride does have its moments.
Mr. Incredible is the main character, although many of the game's more than 40 different levels will give you the chance to take control of other supporting characters--such as Frozone, Helen Incredible, and the Incredible kids, Violet and Dash. Like in most beat-'em-ups, the basic idea is to walk toward the right and deal with whatever thugs, robots, and obstacles you encounter. The A button makes the characters jump, the B button makes them punch and kick, and the R button triggers their special abilities. Each character has a unique special ability. Mr. Incredible gains super strength, Helen can extend her arms, Violet can turn invisible, and Dash can run even faster than usual. While these abilities do come in handy once in a while, a good 90 percent of the time you'll simply be pressing the B button repeatedly to dish out various attack combinations.
Fans of the film will enjoy the appearances of characters such as Frozone, E, Bomb Voyage, and Syndrome, who is the Incredible family's archnemesis. Likewise, the game's backgrounds have a very stylish, almost comic-book look to them that at times just begs to be gawked at. Mr. Incredible and the other characters are carbon copies of their big-screen counterparts, and the sheer variety of different animations for all the various attacks and reactions is really something to behold.
Ultimately, though, The Incredibles falls short of its potential. The plain Jane fisticuffs turn monotonous after about 20 levels or so, and the few chase levels that come in to break up the pace don't really succeed in doing so. The number of different enemies contributes to this gradual buildup of ennui. In all, there are probably six different enemies who appear over and over again, carrying different weapons or wearing different-colored outfits. Those of you who really dug the film's dialogue or music may also be disappointed to discover that the soundtrack for the GBA game consists primarily of generic superhero music and whatever sound effects (punches, kicks, gunshots, and lasers) are playing at the time.
The Incredibles is a single-player game and doesn't offer up anything special for completing it. With that in mind, it's worth playing if you really loved the film and think you'd enjoy a simple beat-'em-up starring your new favorite superhero family.