At the box office, the Road to El Dorado scored moderate success with its portrayal of two fortune seekers searching for the lost city of gold. Hoping to capitalize on the license, Ubi Soft presents its Game Boy Color rendition, titled Gold and Glory: The Road to El Dorado. Just as in the film, you'll play as Miguel and Tulio as they scour the Amazon in search of the famed city of El Dorado - with the evil Cortez hot on their trail.
As far as the actual game goes, El Dorado is a tried-and-true platformer. As Miguel and Tulio, you'll traverse to and fro, up and down, and all around through 20 treasure-hunting levels. There's jumping, climbing, bounding, and plenty of swordplay. Since it's an animated license, no one ever really dies - they just sort of disappear in a puff of smoke. The control is forgivingly precise, while each level's treasure is hidden in a more arcane spot than the next, making for a comfortably increasing difficulty level. Every three levels there's a boss-character to fight, usually requiring tricky swordplay or the dodging of rapidly incoming objects. The game also lets you unlock secrets in other Ubi games via the GBC's infrared port. El Dorado sticks to the formula that Virgin began with its Disney titles, so if you're someone who enjoys exploring every level of a platformer without frills, this game's for you.
While the game's plot and gameplay are standard, it's eye-candy that El Dorado excels in. Miguel and Tulio walk, jump, crawl, and meander with countless frames of animation. Each level is lushly colored, overwhelmingly detailed, and brimming with cartoonish nuances. From beckoning street urchins and flowing clotheslines to slithering snakes and crashing waterfalls, the game is a beauty to watch. Few games actually take advantage of the Game Boy Color's larger color palette, but this one certainly does, especially with its numerous film-quality cutscenes. There is sprite repetition later in the game, especially in the "ruins" levels, but such a qualm is minor in relation to the overall picture.
Contrary to expectation, El Dorado's sound isn't bad either. Each area has its own distinct theme, with enough notes and chords to make you forget that you're listening to the GBC's diminutive speaker. The tunes are catchy, and they fit the levels they're paired with. As for the game's sound effects - the number of footsteps, sword clashes, crashing sounds, water splashes, and other assorted tidbits is enough to please even cynical gamers. Some effects aren't clear at times, and the overall audio quality doesn't beat Nintendo's recent offerings by any means, but El Dorado is pleasing to the ears nevertheless.
In many ways, it's difficult to review a game that takes an existing standard and simply excels at that formula. Such is the case with El Dorado in that you want to score it low for value and gameplay, but the sheer refinement of plot coupled with the game's delicious visuals makes such a task difficult. Ubi Soft has transformed the entire plot of the movie into a highly delightful game, one that any Game Boy owner could be proud to own.