MarzGurl Discusses The Land Before Time Video Games
June 8, 2011
MarzGurl Discusses Alice in Wonderland in Paris
MarzGurl: Let's hurry up and quit talking about The Land Before Time series, shall we? So, aside from all the movies that should have never existed, there were a whole bunch of video games made, too. Now, there were a couple that were released for the PC, but for right now, I'm just gonna be talking about home console and handheld releases. Let's get started going in order of release, starting with The Land Before Time: Return to the Great Valley.
(Footage from the game is shown, showcasing the bad graphics and voice acting.)
MarzGurl (vo): It's a bit disturbing that this is the first console game to have been made about The Land Before Time series. Aside from it being an awful game for the PS1, it was released in the year 2000, pretty late in The Land Before Time's lifetime. In fact, it was released just one month before the PS2's launch in the U.S. Being that the PS1 was already so late in its lifetime, you'd think that the game might try to push what the system was capable of. Well, it doesn't, and it's one of the scariest looking games I've ever seen. Just look at these faces, look at their eyes, they each blank independently from one another, it's horrifying! And that voice acting? Yeah, none of these voice actors* have ever voiced anything before in their lives, and they certainly aren't the voice actors from any of the movies.
*NOTE: All of the voice acting in this and Great Valley Racing Adventure is done by Lani Minella.
Ducky: That is a Sharptooth egg, yes it is. How did it end up here?
Littlefoot: We found it in that cave.
Cera: And I'm gonna take it back to the Sharptooth.
MarzGurl (vo): Anyway, all the Great Valley kids get separated out in the Mysterious Beyond and each one of them has to get back to the Great Valley. You get to choose from one of four characters: Littlefoot, Ducky, Cera or Spike. You don't get to be Petrie because he's too busy essentially being navi in this game, and it's awful!
Petrie: You've went too far, be careful!
MarzGurl (vo): You don't ever get to figure out anything for yourself. Think you're ever gonna get stuck in this game? Nope, because Petrie is constantly telling you how to do EVERYTHING! The game play format is exactly the same, no matter who you use. Each character runs through a series of incredibly simple puzzles to get back to the Great Valley. You can jump, headbutt, tail whip, and grab things to get the jobs done. And the controls are just awful; try jumping on something, you'll frequently miss. That's because jumping is just about one of the clunkiest mechanics I have ever had the pleasure of utilizing in any video game ever, and God help you if you ever even slightly touch water.
Petrie: Be careful!
MarzGurl (vo): I found myself commenting the entire time on how I'd sure love to be able to run around rather than just slowly walk everywhere, but here's the crazy thing: see, you can pick any characters in any order you want. It just so happens that I chose Cera last, and on the very last level, on the very last step of the very last puzzle, what does Petrie tell me? WHAT?! You mean I could've been running this whole time?! But the triangle button already had a command, now you tell me that if I press it differently, I can run?! Why didn't you tell any of the other characters this, and why did you wait for the end of Cera's puzzles?! And even if you finish all the levels, there's literally nothing else, not even a credits roll. You just get the joy of being able to play any of the characters you want all over again, end of story.
MarzGurl: (scoffs) Forget this mess, let's move on to Great Valley Racing Adventure.
(Footage for this game is shown, looking just as ugly as the previous game.)
MarzGurl (vo): Why, yes, this is a racing game! Bet you never thought you'd see a racing game based on The Land Before Time series. Well, it exists, and it was also made for the PS1. It uses pretty much the same graphics as the previous game, so don't get your hopes up for a good-looking game. And as before, Petrie's unplayable because he's an announcer!
Petrie (vo): Ready! Set! GO!
MarzGurl (vo): There's a total of two modes in this game: Obstacle Courses and Racetracks. Obstacle Courses, of course, are single player. There's a total of eight tracks, four of which have to be unlocked by beating a qualifying time, usually somewhere around a minute and thirty seconds. Racetracks can either be single player or two player vs., and just like the previous PS1 game, controls are awful! Thing is, the game has you constantly running forward; you don't get to control that, your character just takes off running. If you so much as either tap left or right, your character will turn real sharp in that particular direction. X makes you jump, but good luck knowing exactly when to jump. When you think you've timed it just right, you are actually a split second too late. You'll find yourself bumping into obstacles over and over again. The camera is crap, too; Too frequently, you'll find that you can't see anything coming up because the camera is almost completely facing your side rather than directly behind you. There's a few different power-ups, but my friends, Mario Kart this is not; You can pick up yellow flowers for speed boost, but God help you if you touch mud, you lose whatever is left of your speed boost bar. Red flowers launch you into the air, usually to pick up other power-ups, and purple flowers give your characters traction, so you can control better when you cross the mud. Traction is the most interesting of power-ups, but there were a number of times when those flowers were in really stupid places. I'd sometimes get a purple flower in the middle of nowhere, where there was no mud to be found, or they put the purple flowers somewhere in the middle of the mud, so that before you can even get to it, you've already lost traction and you just slip right on past it.
(Another game, The Land Before Time Collection, is shown.)
MarzGurl (vo): Alright, this one isn't worth anymore of my time, let's look at The Land Before Time Collection for the Game Boy Advance. This game was released in early 2002 and it's surprisingly, probably the best game out of all of these. It's a pretty standard side scroller with a health bar, jumping on platforms, jumping on enemies, avoiding spikes and water and lava and all that good jazz. It isn't a terribly difficult game, and you can easily beat it in a single sitting, but it's not the most awful thing I've ever played. Again, Petrie's entirely unplayable. Every so often, if you actually manage to die, you'll sometimes be taken to play a short mini game to revive one of your characters. The controls also mostly don't suck. There's even boss battles every so often, surprising, right? I only have two particularly large complaints about the game, one of which is that the music is some of the most incredibly uninspired crap I have ever heard in my entire life.
(A sample of the game's music is played during one of Spike's levels, which does sound pretty generic.)
MarzGurl (vo): And two, it seems like the game took a sudden leap in difficulty on the very last level. See, you're trying to ride this rock up an erupting volcano-yeah, I know that would never work, just go with it-and the whole time, flames are shooting at you from left to right. After awhile, rocks start falling from the ceiling. All you have to do is keep riding and dodging, simple, right? Well, no, sometimes you'll just die for seemingly no good reason, it doesn't look like you've been hit, and if you actually manage to survive for the first minute or so, you find that the rock starts speeding up, and then, you have next to zero time to react to the rocks falling from the ceiling. I had to pass the game off on other people and nobody could do the whole level on a single sitting. So yeah, you know what? I used save states with an emulator to get through it. Oh, come on, don't give me your crap, how else was I going to record the footage from a Game Boy Advance game in the first place?
MarzGurl: Next up, also released in 2002, is Big Water Adventure for the Playstation 1.
(Footage is shown.)
MarzGurl (vo): This game is, by far and beyond, the least fun out of any of the console games. It's a spin-off title from the movie Journey to Big Water, and follows a very basic story flow from the movie, where the kids lead their new friend, Mo back to the ocean, and once again, Petrie isn't playable, he still serves the function of navi, and boy howdy, does he NEVER shut up!
Petrie: You jump and then you grab the leaves at the same time!
MarzGurl (vo): Good lord, I know what to do! Stop it! Here's the kicker with this game: you can't die. It's similar to Kirby's Epic Yarn in that all you really want to do is collect something, in this case, treestars. Each level has thirty of them. Why do you collect treestars? So you can go to Petrie's place and earn simple puzzles to put together. Whatever, that reward isn't really worth it to me, so I mostly ignored them. Quite a few of them were difficult to grab in the first place. All that really matters is that you get to the end of the level. So I finished all fourteen levels for Littlefoot and I decided to try out the levels for the other characters. At first, I thought the whole game was just in the same stupid format, but guess what? It is the exact same fourteen levels for all four of the main characters! And it isn't as though each of the characters play any differently or anything, this isn't like Super Mario Bros. 2 where one character is balanced, one has slippery shoes, one jumps short, and the other floats, no, each one of the characters handle exactly the same! So wait, what is this? You can play a game with Mo? Oh, no, you can't, that is, not until every character has gone through those fourteen levels, so after you've played through every level four times, and mind you, that's a total of fifty-six levels, then you FINALLY get to play with Mo. Man, this had better be freakin' amazing! Oh...no, it isn't. I get to send Mo jumping through hoops. I don't even have to hit all of them. Wait, there's only this one level, and now he's going back out to sea? That's it?! Fifty-seven levels of completely unfun shit and this is my reward?! AGHHHH!!! Had I known this was all I was gonna get, I'd have never even bothered!
(Footage for the final game, Into the Mysterious Beyond, is shown.)
MarzGurl (vo): Alright, screw this, one final game, this one on the Game Boy Advance, Into the Mysterious Beyond. This is the most recently released title, released in 2006. It's definitely not the most awful of the games, but it is one of the most boring. Chomper returns in this game and promptly gets himself lost, and it's up to the kids to get him back. Over the course of the game, you play as each one of the kids, and finally, this includes Petrie, though his job is really brief, stupid, and hard to control. Littlefoot does some platforming; Spike, in usual Spike fashion, eats things to save the day; Petrie pecks away at a Sharptooth; Ducky swims around and releases logs for Littlefoot to hop across, and Cera uses her face to keep the party out of danger. All of these tasks are relatively simple, if not incredibly tedious. When it comes time to switch to another character's job, get ready to do what's basically the same level over and over again about five times before moving on to something new. Finally, near the end of the game, you actually get to control Grandpa Longneck, a total surprise. At first, it seems incredibly similar to Littlefoot's side scrolling, but no. Suddenly, what was once a really simple game becomes infinitely more difficult. A is jump, B is attack, B left to right gives a heavy forward attack, B plus up gives a rear attack, B plus down gives a sweeping attack. What the hell?! Where did all this garbage come from?! And now there's eighty bajillion Sharptooths constantly swarming you! Why did this suddenly become a completely different game? Anyway, you beat the game, and for the first time since ever, they finally use music from the first movie, an adaptation of If We Hold On Together, which is about the best part of any of this garbage.
(Plays short sample of the music over the credits.)
MarzGurl: That's it, I'm done, I'm not coming back to The Land Before Time series ever again! Well, at least I got three new Frisbees out of the deal. (She throws each of the games off screen.)
(Credits roll with the video game version of If We Hold On Together being heard in the background.)