Eagle-eyed viewers among you, I’m well aware that I already covered this game as part of my article on the best Disney Playstation games, but for some of those titles I really want to go into a bit more detail on my thoughts and opinions, as well as them simply being games that I’m passionate about talking about.
And with good reason, too. As of now it’s become very obvious to consumers now that most movie tie-in games are shameless cash-grabs. But like I’ve said so many times, there was this era of decent production from Disney’s own studio, so we weren’t banking on a third party developer to make this game a good one.
Controls are simple enough - you can run, jump, climb ledges, swing on poles, all the good stuff. Holding the triangle button will cause Herc to charge up a mighty punch, while tapping down will slam him to the ground, which can be used to shake the ground and potentially open up secret areas. If you can find a ‘gift of the gods’, these temporary powerups grant you spectacular abilities such as invincibility and lightning projection, which is so damn satisfying when used to rip through a flock of birds. Play the game and you’ll understand exactly what I mean by that, believe me.
"The comfort of being able to see every collectable to your left and right is replaced
by a nagging to check each depth level..."
One thing I love to hear in licensed games is songs from the original material, and given Hercules great soundtrack in the cinemas, there was really nowhere to go wrong. We are treated to fantastic instrumental versions of the movie tracks, and sometimes I even find myself playing the game version over the true score if I want some really non-intrusive background music.
A very striking feature of this title is the blending of 2D and 3D assets - Hercules plays out strictly on single planes, with typical platformer motion. You are afforded, however, the opportunity to run backwards and forwards in and out of the foreground, which gives a wonderful feeling of depth. The comfort of being able to see every collectable to your left and right is replaced by a nagging to check each depth level, frantically wondering ‘is there a coin hidden behind that rock?’.
Generally the game follows the movie pretty closely in terms of the chronology, but greatly expands on some areas that weren’t touched upon much in the film, a particular example being a boss fight with the menacing Medusa, which was seen for only a few frames during a musical number in the film. I think this was a really nice touch, and expansion on the source material is something I really enjoy seeing in an interactive experience.
While it is unfortunately a little on the short side, with a playthrough taking me about four hours, Hercules is a great game, particularly for a pick-up-and-play type setting. Disney fans will undoubtedly love it, but I think those unfamiliar with the movie can still find value here in the simple gameplay, short levels and catchy-as-hell soundtrack. Well worth a play.