There's nothing worse than waking up in the morning, dragging yourself to the kitchen and finding that there's no milk left in the fridge. Your hopes for your breakfast are immediately dashed -- all chance of your day starting off right is instantly gone. You can try to make due, sure. You can try to fake some substituting solution. But as you stand there, gazing upon your unwet pieces of Cap'n Crunch, you have to admit it. You've got dry cereal.
Lucky for you, a hero's on the case. Spy Fox in Dry Cereal
tells the tale of an intrepid secret agent on a mission to moisten -- the whole world's been deprived of dairy, and he's out to put a stop to the sinister madmen who've stolen all the milk. It's an intriguingly comical premise, perfectly appropriate for the game's target age range of "6 and up." The only unfortunate thing is that that premise is more than six years old itself.
Spy Fox in Dry Cereal is not an original game made for Wii, but rather a port of a PC point-and-click that was first released over 11 years ago, in 1997. It was the first adventure for the character of Spy Fox (a spoof of James Bond and Maxwell Smart, among others) and ultimately formed the foundation for a franchise comprised of several subsequent sequels -- it won a lot of awards in its day, and was widely praised for its innovation, animation and attitude. But while the game certainly deserved those accolades a decade ago and its characters and plot have withstood the test of time, it's undeniable that this adventure is an artifact from an earlier age of gaming.
It feels dated. Nothing has been done to update the adventure besides swapping in Wii Remote IR functionality for the PC original's mouse cursor controls -- the graphics, sound and interface all still look like they were taken straight off a mid-'90s Pentium running Windows '95. The game's introductory menus, pause screen and save/load features are bare bones, contrasting oddly with today's more sleekly-modern Wii menus.
The animation of the characters still has a lot of appeal, but feels out of place and a bit too stiff. And the audio, while voice acted well, sounds poorly preserved. The voices are muffled, the sound quality unimpressive and often difficult to listen to (characters will sometimes speak over the top of loud background music, making their dialog difficult to discern.)
So, essentially, what you're getting here is exactly the same as what audiences first got in '97 -- now out of date on a technical level. The question becomes, then, will kids really care? The target audience for this reissued adventure wasn't even born in the last millenium, so they may not mind or even notice the title's flaws of age that are so apparent to the older gamers who lived through that era. Like kids who watch episodes of Scooby Doo from the '60s and think they're brand new, it's all fresh to them.
And kids getting their feet wet with their first point-and-click experiences will likely love what Spy Fox has to offer. The experience is very easy to get into, and encourages exploration and patience above finding quick solutions. Spy Fox finds himself in the middle of colorful, crowded environments full of interactive objects, and pointing and clicking on nearly anything in view causes something interesting to occur.
The goal of the game is for Spy Fox to ultimately track down the criminals in charge of sabotaging the world's dairy industry, of course, but there's no rush to do so -- players can interact with all the anthropomorphic animals they come across for hours if they so choose. Each character in the game has multiple different comments (all fully voiced, never just typed across the screen) and conversations recorded, it seems, so repetition never feels like it's creeping in.
Depending on the choices you make throughout the adventure, too, you could end up taking completely different paths to progress the plot -- will you sneak aboard the luxury cruise ship, or go out to sea with the salty old captain on the other end of the dock? Will you use Professor Quark's scientific gadgets to find a solution to your predicaments, or simply talk your way out of a jam using the game's conversation bubble option? It turns out there's a lot lurking under the surface of Spy Fox, and those elements of depth and decision-making could be just the thing that makes this adventure, though dated, worth a purchase.
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