With the Will Ferrell film currently showing at the box office, THQ has released a game to try and prolong the experience. It's called Megamind: Ultimate Showdown and it follows Megamind as he looks to put a stop to the Doom Syndicate and Blue Tighten. It's actually not a bad attempt either, but it suffers from some of the typical film tie-in problems.
If you haven't watched the Megamind film, you'll be forgiven for being rather confused about the premise of the game. You have no idea who Megamind is or what he's up to. The game makes absolutely no attempt to try and fill in the details either and you'll just have to pick things up as you go along. All you essentially know is that Megamind is trying to find pieces for his DNA tracking device, so that he can find, and put a stop to, the Blue Tighten.
It's actually rather disappointing that the developers didn't try to put in a bit more effort. There are hardly any cutscenes throughout the experience and it's very apparent that story development was the least of their concerns.
It's a shame because the gameplay isn't half bad. Sure, it's not up there with the games at the pinnicle of the genre, but it's very competent and it's enjoyable to play. The controls are very basic, as there are hardly any of them. You're able to move around in a 3D space, shoot whatever weapon you have to hand, perform melee attacks if you're close and jump around.
What's good about it though, is that it all actually works as expected. The only real complaint is that there's no lock-on system. The game does automatically target enemies, but if you turn around you'll just shoot at nothing. A lock-on system, whereby Megamind would simply strafe instead of run around in circles, would have been perfect for the game and would have made the whole experience more enjoyable. It's not like there weren't enough free buttons lying around on the controller.
Given who the game is targeted at, it's not surprising to find that it's a rather easy affair. The game provides you with more than enough health and enemies don't pose much of a challenge, especially with upgraded weaponry. In fact, the only times you're really likely to die are when platforming is involved. The game will infrequently ask you to jump between platforms, or walk along narrow beams, and these are probably the most challenging aspect of the game - that's not saying much either. It's not actually possible to "die". If you should lose all your health, you just respawn exactly where you left off.
There are four weapons in total, but you can only use the ones that the game gives you. You'll always start off with the standard pistol, but you'll often need to change weapon to get past an obstacle in the level. It's quite annoying, especially if you have a favourite weapon. It would have been better if they gave you the weapons, and it was up to you which one you wanted to use. It could be a bit disheartening to spend all your money on upgrading a weapon, only to find you can't use it for ages.
Graphically, the game looks good. It looks much better than most film tie-ins look and THQ should certainly be commended for making the extra effort. The voice work also suits the game, although it can be a bit random sometimes. It can become a bit furstrating to hear Minion keep repeating the same piece of advice over and over again.
The major disappointment with Megamind comes with its length. The game can be completed in around 2 1/2 hours and following its completion, there isn't much to keep you entertained. It's possible to play co-operatively and there are also five mini-games to play, but it's not going to hold the attention of gamers for all that long.
As film tie-ins go, Megamind is actually one of the better ones. It has good production values and the gameplay is solid. There just isn't much depth to anything that's present within the experience and its length just highlights this. There's little to no story development, the weapon system is restricted on purpose and the challenge is very limited. Megamind could have been a solid game, all the components were there, it just didn't go beyond the minimum.