Ever since video game consoles have existed, there have been many movie based games ranging from bad like ET to; I can’t believe this is a movie based game X-Men Origins Wolverine. Out of the Handful of movie based games, only a certain amount are good games while others right out stink. Luckily Rango is in the small list of great movie based games because it manages to do what video games are meant to do and that is to entertain you.
In the beginning of the game we see Bean’s father go up to a crashed meteorite in his back yard and wow’s in it. We then are forwarded 15 years later and we see our protagonist Rango riding into the town of Dirt. He then enters a cantina where Slim brings in a mysterious rock that makes him disappear. Rango then proceeds to tell the story of what that green rock is and where it may come from.
The vast majority of the game is played through the desert of Nevada however there is also an 8-bit world and an alien mother ship. Rango the video game has a different story line than that of the movie so if you haven’t seen the movie don’t worry it isn’t giving out too much of the plot, however all of the characters in the movie make an appearance in the game so at times Rango will reference a character and you will be scratching your head as to what the relationship is. The story is told mainly in the past. All these events started taking place 8 days ago from the present time of the game. Rango is chasing Bad Bill all around the desert in search of the green rocks.
Rango is an adventure platform game as are all other video game based movies. The main objective of the game is to find out what happened to Bean’s dad and why he went missing. Bean is Rango’s girlfriend by the way. You must use Rango’s melee attacks as well as his gun to smash through the hoard of bad guys in command of Bad Bill. Rango only uses 1 weapon throughout the game; however there are powerups such as a machine gun, shotgun and blaster which shoots dynamite. There are also upgrades which make Rango stronger and give his gun better stats in shooting and reloading. These upgrades can be purchased using sheriff stars which are dropped every time an enemy is defeated, by breaking crates and barrels or mining them out. Every time an upgrade is purchased, the amount increases for the next upgrade. This gives you 2 options. 1: Buy the upgrades’ that gives you more sheriff stars by defeating, braking barrels and mining them (there are 3 different upgrades in all) or buy the more powerful upgrades now but later on you will be limited in purchasing the more powerful upgrades because they are so expensive.
At times, the game does require some puzzle solving but these puzzles are so easy to complete. I will say that the game is fairly easy to beat even in hard mode but do keep this in mind this is a kids game so the level of difficulty has to be toned down. I’ve seen a lot of complaints based on this but saying this game is too easy for adults is like saying Mass Effect 2 is too hard for kids. What makes this game very easy is that you are not penalized harshly for making a mistake. This also applies when you are riding or flying through a level and smash into a wall. There also aren’t many boss battles and the few that there are very easy to defeat. My favorite Boss fight though would have to be with rattlesnake Jake, which looks very intimidating and is someone you probably wouldn’t want to mess with.
Because of the minimum difficulty Rango the video game is a great game to just pick up and play. All you practically do is punch and shoot. There are other attacks such as the upper cut, roll, and ever strafe but because of its simple combat I forgot those even existed. I will say that when Rango is riding or flying (using a bird for running or a bat, space ship) controlling him can be tricky. For one the crosshair doesn’t move when Rango moves but you have to move the crosshair separately with the R-stick and move Rango using the L-stick. These levels are a challenge because you have to control the crosshair, shoot, and dodge all at the same time. You will also have to play golf in order to continue the game and while the ball is flying you can control how far it goes or how near it gets. This is especially fun when you are blowing zombies apart. There is also a shooting mini game where Rango must hit the target in order to continue. If you hit the bulls’ eye you get extra sheriff stars.
Rango the video game features some of the best graphics a movie based game has ever put out. At times I couldn’t tell if I was watching a clip from the movie or if it was part of the game. The world of Rango is truly brought to life in the eyes of the critters that live in the town of dirt. The game is based on the old west which at times you forget but you are reminded that it’s an old west taking place in present times with present technology such as cars and neon lights. There is also an 8-bit level which has all characters, except rango in 8-bit 3D form. This level takes a cue from Super Mario games mainly Galaxy and Sunshine respectively. This I would have to say is my favorite level in the game as it is well designed and executed as well as weird. In one scene you will see a movie version of Rango just appear in the background while the in game version of Rango is riding in the rails.
What good is graphics if you don’t have a great soundtrack to go with it? Luckily Rango the videogame does have a great soundtrack that matches the games old west and desert style. In the UFO stage the music playing in the background is great mixture of old west and alien type music. Sadly Johnny Depp didn’t reprise his role of Rango for the video game and the voice over doesn’t really sound as Rango would in the movie. That’s not to say the voice acting was bad but it would have been great to hear Johnny Depps’ voice. The sound effects also suffer in the game. At times the volume would decrease every time there was a crash of sort and if a character would talk after it would be difficult to hear what they had to say. Also Bad Bill a character seen through most of the game doesn’t speak most of the time and all he does is laugh which takes away from the experience.
There are however a few camera problems that the game suffers from. At times when the camera expands into 2D mode the player will not have control of the camera and it can be very difficult to see what’s around the corner when the camera zooms into Rango. You also cannot control the camera when you are riding rails and at times it can be difficult to maneuver Rango in certain areas. The camera also takes a while to reset after a short FMA sequence and if you just rush into the action you might not have the chance to see there is a cliff at the end of that cave. These events are rare and you do have unlimited lives so they shouldn’t be much of a problem.
Another problem with movie based games is that no matter how good they are, they are always short. Sadly Rango does suffer from this problem as the game can be beaten in 5 hours or less. All the art and character bios are unlocked by the time you finished the game and the only reason to replay the game is to get all the mining spots or fish you might have missed. You also unlock 2 more outfits for Rango to play with. Another reason to replay the game is to collect any upgrades that you might have missed if you didn’t have enough sheriff stars to purchase them. However all these are required to complete and once that’s done then the game is truly 100% complete.
Verdict: Wait for a price drop, Rent.
Rango the videogame gets many things right and a few things wrong but it truly is one of the few videogame based movies out there that is entertaining and fun to play. The game is graphically amazing and the environments are well designed and well executed. It is a kid’s game so it is very easy to beat in a short period of time but it is easy to pick up and play. If there was more to the game besides what was mentioned above this game would be a buy in my book but because it falls short on lifespan I would have to say wait for a price drop of $29.99 or less or perhaps rent it. But besides the short fall Rango the videogame gets it all right when other movie based games get it wrong.
GamePlay: Very easy to pick up and play, mini games are fun and the overall adventure is entertaining. 9/10
Graphics: Great environments and effects, Great attention to character detail, at times you forget that it’s a game. 10/10
Sound: Soundtrack matches the feel of the game and voice over is nicely done but there are a few sound issues here and there and some main characters don’t speak at all. 7.5/10
Story: Original story that could possibly be a sequel to Rango the movie and doesn’t spoil anything if you haven’t watched the movie but it does a bad job of introducing characters. 8.5/10
LifeSpan: 5 hours max of gameplay and nothing else to go back to besides unlocking all upgrades. 6/10
Total Score: 82/100