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Gaming: Joe Danger 2 aims for box office gold

Last updated on: October 5, 2012 17:58 IST

Gaming: Joe Danger 2 aims for box office gold

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Murali Venukumar

If you're new to Joe Danger universe or are a fan looking for more of the same, you can't really go wrong with Joe Danger 2. Just don't come in expecting something revolutionary, says Murali Venukumar.

Murali is a full-time marketing exec, part-time writer and a life-long gamer.


Joe Danger 2: The Movie
Developer:
Hello Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade (Downloadable)
Genre: Racing/Platformer
Price: 1200 Microsoft Points
Ranking: 8/10

The first Joe Danger was a welcome change of pace when it came out a couple of years ago. Its seemingly bright, happy-go-lucky attitude made it stick out in a gaming landscape that was chock-a-block with titles that felt about as cheerful as a root canal. You almost didn't mind its rock hard course layouts or the fact that you'd be replaying them over and over (and over) again to perfect the tracks.

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Photographs: Hello Games

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Joe Danger 2: The Movie on the other hand doesn't feel quite as fresh as the first game did. And while a degree of familiarity is to be expected from a sequel, you can tell from the get-go that Hello Games has struggled a bit in figuring out just how to keep 'ol Joe relevant.

The game itself is again divided into groups of levels, or 'Movies' -- what with Joe graduating from a side show suicidal to an honest to goodness Hollywood stuntman and all. The visuals in general remain as cartoon-y as ever, and the animations are also well done in a slapstick-y sort of way.

There's enough colour and variety to the environments that you won't mind replaying them (which you will).

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Photographs: Hello Games
Tags: Hollywood

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Unfortunately, the game doesn't succeed in selling its movie premise very well. There's a horribly annoying director who barks orders at you and production paraphernalia strewn about the tracks (or sets, as it were), but what the game misses out on is showing you how your hare-brained stunts fit into the end 'film'.

Sure, there's a canned montage at the end of each chapter, but it's terribly disappointing when compared to what Stuntman: Ignition did with its montages/trailers for instance.

For the amount of restarting you'll be doing to clear (and perfect) some of these levels, they really ought to have made the payoff better.

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Photographs: Hello Games
Tags:

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Aside from that, Joe Danger 2 really hasn't changed much at all. You're now given a wide array of vehicles to ride in addition to the first games trusty stunt bike. They don't vary much in terms of control, but there's no denying the variety that a mine cart, a jet pack or a set of skis' brings.

And speaking of controls, those haven't changed much for Joe's last outing, either. You use the right trigger to accelerate your way down side scrolling tracks, the A button to boost and the X button to duck/jump. You'll also be pulling off tricks to build boost, stringing together combos, changing lanes to avoid obstacles and knocking opponents off their vehicles in certain event types.

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Photographs: Hello Games

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To be fair, the game does try and vary its thirty or so main levels up. There are chases, collect-a-thons, races, obstacle courses, and a bunch of other objectives you'll be tasked with achieving. You'll also need to replay tracks to get a feel of the layout, which makes Joe Danger 2 perfect for obsessive compulsives.

Levels also have multiple collectables and medals, all of which unlock extra content. The game also tracks your friends' performances as well as your best run, which are both represented in-game as coloured smoke-trails.

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Photographs: Hello Games

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There's also a level editor (with a fun tutorial) that the more dedicated fans can use to create and publish their own tracks, but it remains to be seen if it gets the same sort of traction as Trials: Evolution's superlative track editor did. You also now have multiplayer, although it's restricted to four player local racing and only comes with a limited set of tracks.

While most of the game's replay-ability comes from hitting the instant restart button and trying to nail that perfect run, there are also a set of 'Deleted Scenes' levels that you unlock which are a lot harder than your 30-odd main game levels.

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Photographs: Hello Games

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There's nothing especially wrong with Joe Danger 2: The Movie. Granted the burden of familiarity might not make it as enchanting as the first game felt back in 2010, but there's also a lingering feeling that a lot more could have been done to just make it feel different.

That said, if you're new to Joe Danger universe or are a fan looking for more of the same, you can't really go wrong with Joe Danger 2. Just don't come in expecting something revolutionary.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Photographs: Hello Games

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