Where to even begin
oh, ok: this game is abysmal. Dictionary.com defines abysmal as, "extremely or hopelessly bad or severe". Hopeless is a magical adjective that, to say is an appropriate description of Anubis II, would be the understatement of the last three millennia. Not only does this game lack breadth, depth, or any other semblance of a remotely respectable platformer, but the biggest travesty of all is that this game already came out. On PS2. Over 2 years ago. With tacked on Wii controls, virtually no presentation, horrible graphics, sound, and no fun in sight, Anubis II is best left on retailers' shelves - or better yet, in a great big bonfire in your backyard. Feel free to inhale the plastic fumes; the end result will likely be more entertaining than the "gaming" experience on the Wii.
The single-paragraph introduction found in the manual is the most information that you're going to get about the game, since there is no reference to the story once the adventure begins. It's up to Anubis, guardian of the underworld, to save ancient Egypt from the evil spirit Mumm'hotep, who has plunged the land into darkness. Anubis must lift the curse and along the way, battle creatures that your sister finger-painted in junior kindergarten.
The game begins with the training stage, which is incredibly redundant, since the same information about the controls is available in the options menu. "Ooooh!" you may exclaim, "the menu icons rumble when I hover over them!" Too bad there is no rumble in the actual game. Once you've paid your dues and completed the training, the action begins in level 1, "Valley". Yep, that's it, Valley.
While clearly a title aimed towards a younger audience, the painfully upbeat and cheery music that loops in the background is ridiculously out of place. Once you've turned the music off in the options menu, it's time to take a look around. "Hey, there's no wall here, let's be adventurous and see what's over this ledge." Whoops! Sorry Jimmy, you've just fallen into an endless pit of nothingness. But hey, you can see the rest of the level from down here, that's an added bonus!
Ok, so one life is gone; maybe the situation can be improved by traversing through the first stage and battling some enemies. It becomes immediately apparent that the developers spent no time fine-tuning the camera system, since it will always automatically move and change angles without user input. A locked-in camera perspective is helpful in some situations, but when you move up an incline, or against a wall, the camera zooms right in, and you can't see squat. Mercifully, pressing down on the D-Pad will reset the camera to the default distance behind Anubis - but it does it without a smooth transition. So if you're in the middle of jumping across a poorly designed jumping "puzzle" (and there are plenty of them), pressing down will abruptly move the camera back behind Anubis, with no point of reference as to how far the camera has moved. The result is extreme disorientation and frustration. What further exacerbates the situation is that if you fail to reset the camera fast enough, enemies which may have become invisible due to the dynamic camera will slowly hack you to bits, while you desperately attempt to see what the hell is actually going on.
The combat system is quite shallow, as there are only two ways to interact with enemies: either swipe the Wiimote from side to side, which causes Anubis to swing his staff, or press B and use the staff to lock onto and shoot at enemies with balls of energy. If you actually manage to inflict a fatal blow on an enemy (which is far too difficult due to brutal hit detection), the death animation remains the same, whether or not you engage a bat (which sounds like nails across a chalkboard) or giant, chomping, walking skulls. They'll explode in a flurry of bones that will usually exceed the mass of whichever enemy has just been dispatched. Other enemies include beetles, rats, and huge swarms of red and blue pixilation.
If ever backed into a corner by three or four enemies, fear not, because Anubis has special powers. Sometimes while in combat the Wiimote will stop being responsive altogether, causing Anubis to simply stand there and take the punishment. But if you're lucky, the enemies will force him up into the air, and he'll spontaneously smite them, despite the lack of actual combat. This certainly makes things easier. Sometimes the enemies will push Anubis right over the edge, causing him to fall, once again, into the abyss. Never before have we actually rallied for the institution of invisible walls in a video game - until now.
The completely uninspired level design has players journey through ancient Egypt, which apparently consisted of poor frame rates and low-res ugliness. The layouts across the nine levels are so brutally simple, and the enemies so stupid and pathetic, that it's more enjoyable to run through the level at high speed and attempt to complete the objective without actually fighting anything. "There's an objective?" you query. Scattered across each level are eight shiny pyramids of power. Each must be found in order to activate the portal at the conclusion of the stage. Failure to find them all will result in backtracking and wrist slitting.
The graphics are what could best be described as last-gen N64, or maybe, on an extreme binge of generosity, first-gen PSX. The animations are jerky, the character models without detail, and the textures muddy. If there's one thing this game has going for it, it's that Anubis runs at an incredibly high speed, making everything blur just enough to slow the bleeding of the eyes.
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