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Over The Hedge

'Witty' one-liners and a TV-addicted squirrel? Yup, it's kids' film tie-in time again.

Now here's a surprise - a movie licensed game obviously aimed at children... that's actually not bad. Playing much like Ratchet & Clank, but with less depth and more racoons, you'll spend most of your time avoiding lasers, collecting hidden bonuses and engaging in lots of melée combat.

Unfortunately, the combat is the game's weakest point, as fighting multiple enemies is messy, involving nothing other than hammering q to attack. Mind you, that worked for Kingdom Hearts, after all. But one thing this game has over Ratchet is a simultaneous co-operative two-player mode, which is just as enjoyable as the single-player experience.

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There are mini-games to unlock as well - including a golf cart destruction derby - and although no single aspect of the game really shines (except maybe for the voice acting), it consistently entertains. The variety, production values and good-natured humour overcomes the lack of originality and repetitive sound clips. Graphically, meanwhile, Over The Hedge has a considerable draw distance and great looking characters, although it can all sometimes look rather shaky and gloomy. The camera's good, though, flicking to helpful angles when you need it to.

We're not saying that everyone should play it. Although secondary objectives require some skill, it's too simple, easy and kiddified for hardcore PS2 gamers. But if you've taken some little people to see the film, their faces will light up when they play this - and they'll be smiling for quite some time. So you can leave them with this while you blow people's faces off in Hitman: Blood Money. Everybody wins.

The verdict

Simple, clean and fun - this is a fi ne example of a children's videogame, with some jokes for the grown-ups too. Surprisingly entertaining.

7
Format
PlayStation 2
Developer
Edge Of Reality
Publisher
Activision
Genre
Adventure

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