IGN Review of Escape from Bug Island
Last generation design meets last generation technology in the sub-mediocre survival horror-styled adventure game Escape from Bug Island, which has come stateside courtesy of Eidos Entertainment. The title has been available in Japan under the name Necro-Nesia for many months and we've had it on import for just as long. The Japanese build was a poor man's Resident Evil with bugs and unfortunately the transition to America has done little for the aged affair, whose storytelling and gameplay mechanics may very well have been designed by insects. ''
''The cheesy tale begins as the three cliche characters arrive on the mysterious island that has for years been the home of large insects and very few other inhabitants. The book-smart Michelle has no idea that nice-guy Ray likes her because she's more concerned with the cataloging of these bugs. But before Ray can make a move, his best friend Mike tells Michelle -- in a cinematic that has almost no flow and makes about as much sense as a really bad B-movie -- that he loves her and demands that she be his girlfriend. The game begins shortly after Michelle takes off on her own to consider this offer, with the determined Mike in tow. Ray, who absolutely hates bugs, decides to find them, but little does he know that the island is infested with overgrown critters.''
''If developer Spike had actually recognized and up-played the hammy storyline and dialog, there at least might have been genuine comic appeal to the tale. However, it seems clear to us that the studio was going for realism and not a campy presentation, and scares, not laughs. Disappointingly, players are more likely to crack up at the events that follow and the way in which the storyline and dialog unfolds than they will jump out of their seat. ''
''Escape from Bug Island doesn't play poorly, but neither does it play well. Ray is controlled through the endlessly foggy and blurry environments adequately with the analog stick. He moves a bit on the sluggish side, but gamers will grow accustomed to this truth within minutes. The gesture-based controls, however, feel forced and do little to nurture a more immersive experience. Early on, Ray acquires a stick and some rocks and he can beat on insects if players hold down the B-trigger and make various downward gestures. There are light and strong attacks and it's even possible to aim for the upper or lower bodies of the six-legged-plus foes, which adds some strategy to fights. Performing these moves is simply not fun, though, and that's where it all becomes pointless. Give the choice, we'd have preferred to execute Ray's attacks with traditional button presses, a sign that Spike has failed to capitalize on the motion capabilities of the Wii remote. The gesture system is clunky and slow, period. There are a couple of satisfying maneuvers -- for instance, to throw projectiles, Ray locks onto a target point and then gamers swing the Wii remote downward -- but overall the system is lacking. Manageable for sure, especially for those determined to trek through the adventure, but lacking nevertheless.''
''If the survival horror genre had not already been done 100 times over by better games like Resident Evil 4, or maybe if it was still the year 2000, Escape from Bug Island might been interesting. But by today's standards, the entire package feels archaic. This drawback is not only represented in the controls, but in the design and progression of the levels, which blur together in a foggy mess of fetch quests and repetitive battles with creatures that aren't very scary. Giant bugs were the height of frights in 1950s B-movies, but modern audiences, whether taking to the theater or playing the latest games, are sure to find these critters a lot less scary than zombies, ghosts or just about any current horror genre antagonist.
©2007, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved