Monday, January 2, 2012

Casper: Friends Around the World

Late into the PlayStation's life, one of the games we received was based off the direct-to-video spinoff/prequel to the 1995 featured film, Casper. Casper: Friends Around the World kicks off with Casper playing with all of his friends when Kibosh, an evil ghost who runs a haunting school, is sickened by what he sees and casts a spell that sends Casper's friends spread out through the world leaving Casper with no choice but to find them all and bring them home.

Before I go any further, I hope you guys like hearing one person talk constantly because when you get to the title screen that's all you're going to hear. Every time you go to an option on the title screen you hear Casper speak. Every. Single. Time. It's like the video game designers were afraid kids would get bored if Casper didn't speak every minute or so.

You start off with a default map of Hollywood which represents the first level. The goal in each level is to find your missing friend and the map. There's a floating knob you can find that leads you to a mini game featuring Casper's uncles Stretch, Stinky and Fatso. The minigame plays like Ping Pong. Don't worry if you miss it because the game will bring you to it at the end of the level if you do.

Aside from that, it's your basic side scrolling game with 3D elements. You can jump, float, parachute, bounce, duck and shoot ghostly spheres at enemies. Casper has a life bar, extra lives you can find, and continues when you run out of those lives. Fall into something like say, water, and Casper life bar takes a dive. What is it with some games making water your enemy? Casper may not be able to swim, but the boy is a ghost! How does that hurt him? Oh, and if you think you can go through walls or doors in this game, forget it. If you find a closed door that needs opening you can't just walk through it. I know they don't want to make it too easy, but come on! What's the point of playing as a ghost if you can't even go through walls?

I don't have any complaints about the gameplay. The graphics and voice acting is decent. As for the story itself? It's so-so. Nothing great, but nothing flat out terrible either. It's a pretty straightforward premise, and you know right away what your goals are so there's not much I can see to pick apart. The game offers a reasonable challenge without going overboard with the difficulty. It's something that kids could enjoy, especially if they're fans of Casper. Heck, if you're feeling nostalgia for some Casper older people may enjoy it, too.

Try it

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