Review: Attack of the Movies 3D (360)

Attack of the Movies 3D
Publisher: Majesco
Developer: Panic Button
Genre: Shooter
Release Date: 05/18/2010

The 3D craze in theaters is now making its way to videogames. We’ve had the promise of three-dimensional graphics for decades now, but Majesco is boasting that it has released the first truly 3D shooter. Is this worth playing, or are you just going to be dealing with eyestrain? Attack of the Movies 3D is here. Does it get two thumbs up?

1. Story:

Reach all the way back to some of the best of the B movies in sci-fi in history, grab some of the most iconic, and toss them onto a DVD. That is the basic premise of Attack of the Movies 3D. The stages are taken from six distinct sci-fi standards. There is a giant insect invasion, a space battle, a robot-controlled future, an underwater expedition, a lost tomb, and, of course, zombies. The entirety of the game is the playing of one of those levels as a movie. There is not much in the way of presentation or cut-scenes beyond a bit of an on-rails preview as you start each mission. The levels are all entirely rail-based shooters and none of them tie into each other. The main draw for the modes is the fact that the game features four-player local co-op. Friends can drop in and out of the game at will, and the game does get better as more people play. Ultimately, though, there’s not much here.

Story/Modes: Poor

2. Graphics:

Just like at your local Cineplex, you can play Attack of the Movies 3D in either 3D or 2D. The only reason to play in 2D is that long sessions in 3D can cause a bit of disorientation and nausea. You can tell fairly soon after booting up the game that this title very much wants to be the type of light-gun shooter that dominated arcades as they dried up. The enemies are basic polygons with occasionally interesting textures. The backgrounds, buildings, and wreckage on the ground are flat and boring. If you play in 3D, you won’t ever see a hand claw its way out of your screen, but the field of depth in action does become more impressive. Static things such as your health and weapons appear to hover. Is it 3D? Yes. Is it good 3D? Not really. Coupled with how bland the graphics are, you’d actually be better off tracking down an actual arcade and dropping a few quarters. You never even see your character, whether it be a space ship or a submarine. Your bullets might change color a bit, but even when you are shooting space lasers or torpedoes, the weapon type still shows as either a pistol, an uzi, or an assault rifle. Changing to the 2D format is easier to play for extended periods of time, but it takes the graphics quality on a screaming trip right back to the Sega Dreamcast.

Graphics: Poor

3. Sound:

I had hoped that a game that has such draw from so many great bastions of film would have tried to get some good sound design. Sadly, none of that is to be found here. The music and sound effects in Attack of the Movies 3D are very, very basic. There is a lot of pew pew sounds for your gun. While there is a slight difference between a pistol in the insect levels and the ship guns in the space level, it isn’t enough to be dramatically different. Monsters lurch and buzz, but don’t really talk. The only voices you’ll ever hear are the narrator of the game giving a brief description of the level and a female announcer voicing what powerup you just earned. You can use custom soundtracks, but if you are using your own music, what is the point of having any on the disc?

Sound: Bad

4. Control and Gameplay:

Hey, has anyone seen a lightgun attachment for the 360 sitting around? You haven’t, you say? So we’re going to be playing this clearly-intended-to-be-used-with-a-lightgun shooter with just the regular control pad? I’m sure everything will be fine, this is only a rail shooter after all. Except it really isn’t fine, or even good. Shooting is done with the right trigger, reloading is done with the left, and aiming is done with the right stick. There is no way to modify the scheme, although there’s no real reason to either. The main issue with the game’s controls is the way the aiming reticule snaps back to the center of the screen every time you release your hold on the stick. This forces you to constantly be moving your thumb to try to find a good point of aim, but the way the rail-based mechanic constantly keeps things moving you are basically resorting to the spray and pray method. Making matters worse is that the enemies don’t have target boxes, they have actual body-based hit zones. You can put a shot right between an arm and torso, or between the legs. The shooting is not easy. I’m a pretty good shot in this type of game, but I ended most levels with about a 33% accuracy rate. As bad as the control is, it pales to the continue method. Instead of the tried and true “drop a quarter or a life and keep playing from there”, Attack of the Movies 3D has a checkpoint system. If you die, you drop all the way back to the checkpoint. It’s a terribly frustrating mechanic and really tiresome.

Control and Gameplay: Poor

5. Replayability:

While the game boasts a new experience every time you play, there really isn’t anything new. This is an on-rails shooter, and every enemy shows up pretty much on schedule. The only real reason to keep playing it is to see the new types of enemies. Some of them are neat, some of them not so much. As you play, you really notice the pattern of melee enemy, flying enemy, shooting enemy, repeat. Most levels have a large, decent boss, but the space level is the most impressive. The bosses don’t have much of a pattern like other shooters in this vein, and you can just keep firing to kill them.

Replayability: Poor

6. Balance:

I’ve mentioned how tiny the hit zones can be in this game, and the annoyance of going back to the checkpoint if you get killed. Is Attack of the Movies 3D hard? Yes, but not by design. Difficulty in this game arises from poor controls, difficult and poorly spaced powerups, and strange amounts of damage done to the player. During my playthroughs, there almost seemed to be a damage multiplier. If you get hit by one ball of ant-thrown acid, it might do ten percent health damage. Get hit by two, and that might become twenty-four percent damage. It stacks up in a hurry, and the game puts out a lot of places where you have enemies hitting you from off-screen. If you have friends helping you it is tolerable, but playing alone becomes an exercise in frustration. There were also a couple of times where I was dying right as I hit a health-powerup, and the game does not err on the side of the player.

Balance: Bad

7. Originality:

I like the idea behind this game. A certain type of “greatest hits” informs the player of the content of the missions. There are tombs to be raided, monstrous underwater creatures, robots, giant bugs, space ships, and zombies. Sounds great, right? Of course it does. The grouping of these movie types is a good idea. The bad thing is how bland the controls are and how little interaction there is with the rest of the world. There are a few very random and long-between areas where shooting something other than an enemy will garner a reaction. Attack of the Movies 3D takes all these ideas and does precisely nothing with them. Does the 3D gimmick add anything? Not enough to warrant an investment.

Originality: Poor

8. Addictiveness:

Considering that all of the missions can be beaten in about seven minutes tops, this isn’t a game that you’ll want to keep playing over and over. Enemy patterns can be quickly memorized and dealt with, and the powerups don’t do anything cool. If there were hidden easter eggs throughout the game, maybe you’d want to keep playing. Furthering the advice to stay away is that if you play in the 3D mode for more than about half an hour, you’re going to feel sick.

Addictiveness: Worthless

9. Appeal Factor:

Even if this game had the best parts of Bioshock, Left4Dead, X-Wing, Tomb Raider, Rise of the Machines, and Centipede, it would still fall short. The lack of polish, lack of interaction, and general feeling of “let’s rush this out so we can say it’s the first 3D game!” kills this product.

Appeal Factor: Bad

10. Miscellaneous:

While it is clear that Hollywood is enjoying the resurgence of 3D, gamers have had it since Wolfenstein. Sure, it might not hover in front of your face, but then again, neither does this game. The 3D glasses and accompanying game effects don’t do anything more than a 3D coloring book. You can wave your hands through most of the effects, but it never really does anything dramatic. You’ll never draw back in your seat because of a poison stinger reaching out at you. You’ll never duck from a zombie’s claws. You’ll never do much at all, really, because this game is not what you want to have as the next paradigm of 3D gaming.

Miscellaneous: Dreadful

The Scores
Story: Poor
Graphics: Poor
Sound: Bad
Control and Gameplay: Poor
Replayability: Poor
Balance: Bad
Originality: Poor
Addictiveness: Worthless
Appeal Factor: Bad
Miscellaneous: Dreadful
FINAL SCORE: BAD GAME!

Short Attention Span Summary

Attack of the Movies 3D takes six classic movie settings and turns them into rail-based shooters. The production values are minimal, and the only real gimmick on display is the 3D glasses that add just a touch of 3D excitement. The graphics and sounds were phoned in, the controls are bad, and the game can be completed in less than an hour. Having four-player local co-op keeps it from being officially pointless, but you’d have to be pretty desperate to consider this a good game.

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