Smarties: Meltdown

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Smarties: Meltdown
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Smarties aren't worthy for a game, Nestlé!
Protagonist(s): Big Blue
Genre(s): Action
Platformer
Platform(s): PlayStation 2
Release: AU: 2006
EU: March 17, 2006
FR: April 7, 2006
IT/SP: April 27, 2006
Engine: RenderWare
Developer(s): Extra Mile Studios
Publisher(s): Europress
Country: United Kingdom
Series: Smarties

Smarties: Meltdown is a 2006 action game released for the PlayStation 2, developed by British studio Extra Mile Studios, and published by Koch Media (under their Europress label), released in both Europe and Australia on March 17, 2006, based on the Smarties chocolates that are popular in Europe and Oceania.

There were plans for a Nintendo GameCube version, along with a North American version, but both were canceled for unknown reasons, possibly due to poor reception.

Why It's a Meltdown

  1. The idea/concept of a Smarties video game (while good on paper), isn’t really a great idea in reality, compared to other companies with mascots, because while most companies have mascots that have potential for a video game, even if it comes out with disastrous results, Smarties have next to no characters that have the potential of a video game.
  2. The language selection and memory card load screens are cheap and tacky for a late PS2 game, not only does it looks like a shovelware Flash game released around the late 90’s, it doesn't help that the font used is Comic Sans, making it even more unpleasant to look at.
  3. The story is generic and bare-bones, even for a game based on Smarties. The story here is the villain called Dr. Soursweet has taken over the Smarties factory (which is in space for some reason), and it’s up to a Smartie named Big Blue to stop him. The problem here is that the developers didn’t know what the protagonist should be, so they just picked a blue Smartie, calling him Big Blue.
  4. The gameplay is monotonous and very easy, you just wander around collecting Smarties, occasionally fight an enemy, push buttons, and that’s it, the platforming isn’t even challenging in the slightest as well, which makes the game really boring.
  5. The names of the difficulties are really unfunny, instead of ‘Hard’, ‘Medium’ or ‘Easy’, the developers chose ‘Smartest’ ‘Smarter’ and ‘Smart’.
  6. The combat is lackluster, you mainly stand there punching the same enemies over and over again with no satisfying combos, the game also gives you power ups like a laser gun, but even then, it still doesn’t fix the issue with the combat.
  7. The voice acting is pretty poor.
    • Dave Benson Philips, while good as a children's television presenter, feels miscast as Big Blue. His fairly loud-sounding and energetic voice is very unfitting for a Smartie of all things, and some of his deliveries can be quite irritating to listen to.
    • Jim Johnson as Dr. Soursweet is lackluster, he sounds like he didn’t want to be here, but was forced to by gunpoint, there are even moments where you can tell he was struggling to read the script properly, especially his last line.
  8. The graphics look dull and poor, easily comparable to a Dreamcast or early Nintendo 64 game. The textures are also bland and atrocious, and everything looks washed out instead of the colorful look of Smarties, to add insult to injury, this game runs on Renderware, which was used for amazing games such as Battle for Bikini Bottom, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,Crackdown and Sonic Heroes.
  9. There is no level variety whatsoever, every single level is in the Smarties factory, and most levels feel identical to one another, especially the first and last level.
  10. Speaking of levels, the level design is bland and boring, most areas feel empty and soulless, not to mention, the level drag on for hours, mainly because they block certain areas with a number of Smarties, meaning if you don’t have enough Smarties, you have to backtrack and collect more Smarties to unlock the other area.
  11. There are some bugs and glitches here and there, such as camera acting up, cutscenes constantly flickering in and out, character models disappearing etc., there’s even a glitch where you may fall down a pit, but the game doesn’t kill you, so you’d be stuck there until you restart the level.
  12. There is only one boss fight in the entire game, which is against Dr. Soursweet, the boss fight itself isn’t challenging at all, because you can punch him over and over until he’s dead, which makes the fight disappointing.
  13. The ending has no solid conclusion and feels extremely rushed, the ending is Big Blue saying to Dr. Soursweet “It’s game over for you, Doctor!” then Soursweet says “You have beaten me, the children, of the world will be eating Smarties again.”, then a loading screen appears, and then the main menu, which makes the game unsatisfying to play through.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The soundtrack is passable, despite it sounding a bit generic.
  2. The pre-rendered cutscenes look alright for a shovel-ware game, mainly the opening, which manages to nail the scary atmosphere right, along with the music sounding tense and soothing to fit the mood.

Reception

The game was critically panned by both critics and casual players, with some deeming it “The worst PS2 game ever.”, along with Little Britain: The Video Game.

Official UK PlayStation 2 Magazine gave it the lowest score possible, which was a 1/10, and according to their rating system, it means a “You’re joking, right?”.

Jeuxvideo.com gave it a 5/20, stating “Smarties Meltdown confond le jeu vidéo avec une vitrine publicitaire ouverte sur le monde des enfants.”, which translates to “Smarties Meltdown confuses video games with an advertising window open to the world of children.”

Videos

References


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