I have to say that I know absolutely nothing about the Scott Pilgrim comics or the upcoming movie, apart from the premise. The comics are drawn by Canadian artist Bryan Lee O’Malley, but they’re done in an anime-like style and I’m so over that. Unfair perhaps, I know, but it’s my personal prejudice and I cherish it.
However, that didn’t stop me from enjoying the recently-released game, which is based on the comics rather than the movie – in fact, the game almost made me want to give the comics a look. It’s not mind-blowing, but it is good fun, especially if you were ever a fan of games like Double Dragon, Final Fight and Streets of Rage.
The premise is simple. Scott Pilgrim is your average Canadian twenty-something who has his own band and is head-over-heels in love with a pizza delivery girl named Ramona Flowers. The problem is that this Ramona chick seems to get around a bit, and as such, she has several jealous ex-boyfriends who want to pound Scott’s head in. Before Scott can join their ranks as one of her exes, he must defeat them so that he can date her in the first place.
What this translates into is a side-scrolling brawler similar to the ones that were popular in the mid early- to mid-‘90s. Apparently Ramona’s ex-boyfriends also have legions of minions willing to do their dirty work for them, and before players can reach and defeat these clingy, jilted loverboys, they must first fight their way through armies of goons. Luckily, Scott is not alone, and his band members are more than willing to lend him their fists. Players can choose from a lineup of four characters and get busy with an array of punches and kicks. It’s very, very basic at first, but as players earn experience, they’ll level up and unlock more attacks and special moves. There is also a large array of weapons, including baseball bats, chunks of ice, snowballs, dustbins, crates and road signs – just about anything that isn’t nailed down. Surprisingly, the enemies are quite smart too, and each enemy type requires a different approach to beat, meaning that players can’t simply hammer the light attack button through the whole game – well, you can, you’ll just die very soon.
But even with all this, it’s still a fairly simple action game. What makes it appealing is the “8-bit graphics style” of the visuals. Um, yeah, I think even the Neo Geo, which is a 16-bit machine, would have had a hard time producing pixel art of this magnitude. Still, the flavour is the important thing, and the graphics are bright and cheery and the music catchy in that 16-bit synth/midi kind of way. Even the Ubisoft logo in the beginning is rendered in big, blocky pixels and will throw older gamers right back into their childhoods when they see it. Overall, not a bad action game to consider if you’re looking for a distraction.