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Data Design Interactive platform games

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Ninjabread Man
Anubis II
Myth Makers: Trixie in Toyland
Rock 'n' Roll Adventures
Ninjabread man wii cover.jpeg

Anubis ii wii cover.jpeg
Myth makers ps2 cover.jpg
Myth makers wii cover eu.jpg
Rock n roll adventures wii cover.jpg

An example of when a company doesn't think straight.
Protagonist(s): The Ninjabread Man (Ninjabread Man)
Anubis (Anubis II)
Trixie (Trixie in Toyland)
Elviz (Rock 'n' Roll Adventures)
Genre(s): Platform
Platform(s): PlayStation 2
Microsoft Windows
Wii
Release:
Ninjabread Man
PlayStation 2
EU: July 13, 2005
Microsoft Windows
EU: July 23, 2005
Wii
EU: September 21, 2007
AU: September 27, 2007
NA: October 3, 2007
Anubis II
PlayStation 2
EU: July 14, 2005
Microsoft Windows
EU: July 2005
Wii
EU: September 21, 2007
NA: September 25, 2007
Myth Makers: Trixie in Toyland
Microsoft Windows
EU: August 19, 2005
PlayStation 2
EU: July 23, 2006
Wii
NA: June 24, 2008
EU: June 27, 2008
Rock 'n' Roll Adventures
Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2
EU: 2007
Wii
EU: September 17, 2007
NA: October 11, 2007
Engine: GODS Engine
Havok (physics)
RenderWare
Developer(s): Data Design Interactive
Publisher(s): EU: Metro3D Europe (PC/PS2)
PAL: Data Design Interactive[1] (Wii)
NA: Conspiracy Entertainment
Country: United Kingdom


Ninjabread Man, Anubis II, Myth Makers: Trixie in Toyland and Rock 'n' Roll Adventures are budget-priced platform games developed by Data Design Interactive and released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2 and Wii.

Development

Ninjabread Man

Ninjabread Man was originally supposed to be released as the third installment of the Zool series, a series of platform games released by Gremlin Graphics on Amiga. There were voices that the video game publisher Zoo Digital Publishing, the new owners of the Zool series, did not like the tech demo prepared by Data Design Interactive and the publishers revoked the license for them. In order not to completely cancel the game, DDI decided to release the game under a completely different name and they replaced the playable character. As proof that Ninjabread Man was supposed to be a Zool game, a few characteristic things that Zool contained were left in the new original game, which are a candy theme and items. In one period, an intro that shows Zool crashing onto a planet that closely resembles the one used in this game leaked on the Internet.

Gameplay

Overall

All of these four games share the same controls and goals, since they are based on the same engine. All games benefit from double jump controls that can be done by pressing the jump button twice. Attacks are made with sword-based controls that can be done on the floor or in the air (the character will spin around themselves while swinging their stick) and small projectiles that move in a straight line.

The goal of all of the games' levels (except the final level of Anubis II) are based on a collect-a-thon genre where the player has to collect 8 items to active teleporters which allow them to complete the level and unlock the next one.

Anubis II

The final level of Anubis II has a boss named Mumm'Hotep who is a giant skeleton at the end, that can be defeated by running through obstacle courses in a large arena with disappearing platforms to find exploding balls to throw them at the boss to deal damage to them with explosions. After the Mumm'Hotep is defeated, Anubis II is fully completed. Out of the four games covered in this article, Anubis II is the only to have a boss.

Why They Suck

  1. For the most obvious of starters, all the games are lazily made; starting from Ninjabread Man, this game got countless rereleases that are only reskins of the exact same game with the same animations, controls, enemies, and much more. The only changes are the level designs and textures. And because of that, they were released for the same platforms without even bothering to make a port for a different platform, like the Nintendo DS or Xbox 360.
  2. Awful-looking graphics that look like Nintendo 64 launch titles, at least in 1996. It is worth mentioning that these are games from 2005 to 2008. No matter which game Data Design Interactive made that reskinned Ninjabread Man, the games will still look like launch titles for the Nintendo 64.
  3. Clunky attack controls. While on the ground, the sword controls are very unresponsive and do not work properly, as you might often miss enemy hits with it due to the attacks being very laggy. But in the air, the character instantly borrows his sword to swing it in circles allowing you to abuse it while constantly jumping, making the ground sword moves pointless. Shooting projectiles isn't good either, as since they aren't remote-controlled. These attacks can often fail to hit the enemy as they can move away from the projectiles, or the projectiles might hit the floor.
  4. Very sluggish camera that turns so slowly, even if it's controlled to the maximum speed. Between tight sections like many walls, the camera will sometimes automatically zoom into the player, causing a lot of distraction that leads the player into touching other enemies or spikes without knowing it. They can however reset the camera position to behind themselves by pressing a button, but it still doesn't help.
  5. If you land on some platform edges, instead of staying still on them, you will stay stuck on them with an endless falling animation without being able to walk over them until you turn into the opposite direction. In some small holes in the game, if you jump into them, you will get stuck on them forever, forcing you to restart the level.
  6. To get an extra life, you need to fill all your health points to the maximum which is 10, which are obtainable by defeating any kind of enemies. However, after filling the health meter to the maximum, you will then lose half of it, which makes it a completely bizarre way of getting lives which also makes no sense at all. It's also really tedious as the attack controls can often fail as mentioned above, and would result into the player losing a health point from touching the enemy instead of actually hitting it.
  7. The goals to complete levels in the games are completely out of place with the appearance of the games, with 8 pieces that you need to collect before getting into a portal that brings you to the next level. While the games all take place in bizarre-looking places, the portals are more futuristic than the actual worlds.
  8. All of these games are extremely short excluding their tutorial levels. Ninjabread Man as mentioned above is so short that there are only three playable levels in the entire game (excluding the tutorial). With that amount of levels, the game can be completed in 100% in under 8 minutes[2].
  9. The landmines are hard to notice, and even if you get a bit close to them, it will still activate and even if you immediately run away from them, the explosion still hits you. What's worse, is that they can take 2 HP away from you, which makes the mines very unfair.
  10. Enemies' projectiles can go through walls, and can come from the back of the camera without the player noticing. This can lead to cheap deaths or falls due to the projectiles that can push the player off the platform.
  11. Not a single reward or ending sequence is granted after completing any of these games. No modes unlocked, no cutscene, not even a single image, the game takes you right back to the menu. Likely because the developers were too lazy to add endings into their games.
  12. The Wii versions are some of the worst video game ports ever made. They rely on motion controls way too much with the Wiimote which aren't even completely accurate, making the controls unforgivably poor. Jumping is done only by swinging the Nunchuk accessory, but because again, it's unreliable, it leads to a plenty of jump fails and falling off platforms very often, forcing you to run back to the jump point. Even worse, there are some bottomless pits in these games, and it doesn't help because the jump controls are so pathetic and often fail to work. Also, the tutorial levels on the Wii versions are completely unnecessary, as the controls are already easy to understand even while playing these games for the first time. If these games actually explain the controls in-game, why can't it be done throughout the other levels by using floating texts instead of being on the tutorial levels?
  13. Poor box arts for every game, excluding Ninjabread Man (see TORQ#1.1):
    • Anubis II, while its cover is a fancy drawing, looks more like a cover for a kid's edutainment book rather than that for a video game.
    • Those of Myth Makers and Rock 'N' Roll are very simple and lazily made, as they are just plain solid color backgrounds with their protagonists (and enemies on Myth Makers) slapped on them.
  14. The PC port of Ninjabread Man uses an image of Gingy from Shrek for the file icons without the permission of DreamWorks Animation.[3]
  15. While there has been an Egyptian god named Anubis, the god of death and cemeteries depicting a human with a canine head, Anubis II does have a protagonist who is also a canine wearing an Egyptian outfit which is accurate, but the title of the game has II on it, which is misleading because it feels like a sequel title, yet there hasn't been game from DDI just titled Anubis, which means the title of the game may be pronounced as Anubis the Second. Also, the game's protagonist is also named Anubis, meaning there is no purpose for the game to be titled Anubis II at all.
  16. In Anubis II, the game contradicts the name of the final boss, Mumm'Hotep by calling it the Evil Khufu on a message that displays after the player defeats it then goes the teleporter that then appears. That name was actually taken from an ancient Egyptian monarch from the 26th century BC, also named Khufu. Since Mumm'Hotep is a giant skeleton, there is literally no reason to refer it as the Evil Khufu, as there are no other mentions of that name in the whole game. Mumm'Hotep is mentioned in the game's back of the cover and its manual (misspelled Mummho'tep.)
  17. Extremely little content in all of the games, as when their CD-ROM files are extracted, these files are between 30 and 50MB or only around 4 to 7% of the available storage space on the disc. This is because these games were printed on CDs for the PS2 version.
  18. Some assets feel out of place within the games. Not only do all games outside of Ninjabread Man still have all the recycled Zool assets, but in Trixie in Toyland, Trixie's voice does not match her character. Despite appearing to be a young, energetic character (Going off of the character bios in some of the Myth Makers PS2 ports), her one voice clip in this game has a heavy Texan accent

The Only Redeeming Quality

  1. The games, mostly Ninjabread Man, do have interesting protagonist designs, that can even fit on a comics book or TV show.
    • The box art of Ninjabread Man also looks cool, which gives an impression that it's inspired by a comics style, much like the protagonist of the game.

Reception

Ninjabread Man and three other similar games have received extremely negative reviews from critics and users. On Metacritic, Ninjabread Man received an aggregated score of 20/100 from critics[4] and 19/100 to Anubis II[5]. Ninjabread Man is often considered one of the worst games of all-time.

Ninjabread Man has mainly been criticized for its poor camera, controls, graphics, and short game length; critics noted that the game could completed 100% in under 30 minutes. IGN gave it a 1.5/10 score, saying it was a "broken mess" and having "just enough character design and gameplay to cover the bullet points on the back of the box", but felt that the game still had a "hilarious concept" and jokingly praised the game's cover art, considering it to the best of any Wii game[6].

Developer of the four games, Data Design Interactive, has been further criticized for reskinning Ninjabread Man to make it into three other games that share the overall same engine, gameplay and soundtrack as Ninjabread Man, causing them all to have the same issues as the latter. IGN felt that the games were "shovelware at a science" and representative of a bulk, quantity-over-quality approach to video game development. However, IGN still stated that Ninjabread Man had the most "appealing" thematic out of the three.

Trivia

  • Ninjabread Man was going to get a sequel titled Ninjabread Man II: Blades of Fury. However, for unknown reasons, its release was cancelled, and DDI later filed bankruptcy in 2012.[7]
  • Speaking of zool, the opening cutscene of the game was recently found and in the Zool wiki there are some screenshoots of what was going the be the remake of the Zool first game but due to the bad quality of the game and the disgust of Zoo Digital Publishing, Data Design Interactive decided to rename the game as Ninjabread Man, and all his unfinished levels including the reskins were actually worlds for the zool remake, this makes sense when you take a look to the original zool version and that some of his worlds looks exactly the same as the worlds used in Data Design Interactive Games.

Videos

Reviews

Gameplay

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