Welcome to Movie Games a new series where I take a look at videogames that were released to promote new and upcoming movies of the past. In this edition I will be diving into a game I recently got sent in, the game in question is of course the Curse of the Were Rabbit a Wallace and Gromit title released to help promote the 2005 flick of the same name, the game was developed by Frontier Developments and published by Konami. What I will be trying to discover in this series is not only the quality of the title but also how accurate it is to the plot of the movie it is based on so without further ado a very quick and might I add spoiler heavy recap of the movie.
In the movie everyone’s favourite inventor and dog due Wallace and Gromit are running a rabbit catching vegetable protection agency, they watch over the neighbourhood and protect the local gardens from cabbage munching menaces in preparation for the annual vegetable growers competition.
After building up such a good reputation with the neighbourhood they are both called upon by Tottington Hall which is ran by the lovely Lady Tottington, the area is overran by rabbits and Wallace and Gromit humanely manage to capture them all. This is also where we meet the films villain Victor Quartermaine, he is the competitive love interest of Lady Tottington and he wants to shoot all the rabbits to help build his reputation as the towns best hunter.
During the sub plot of the film Wallace tries changing the brainwaves of the rabbits to dislike vegetables so that all of the rabbits they have captured can be released back into the wild without chance of veggie reoffending, however the test goes wrong and while one rabbit does become non interested in healthy foods Wallace gets his brain changed as well ultimately becoming the films main threat the Were Rabbit.
It doesn’t take long for Gromit the figure this one out as he tries his best to hide the secret from the neighbourhood but unfortunately for him and Wallace, Victor soon clocks on and sees an opportunity to become the town hero and take out his competitor of Lady Tottington at the same time making Wallace the next target for his shotgun.
In the films final act after the inevitable “break up scene” between Lady Tottington and Wallace we see Gromit chasing after the Were Rabbit through the festival while taking part in an airborne dog fight with Victors Pup and ultimately taking a bullet for Wallace, Wallace jumps after Gromit’s Plane protecting his beloved dog while also sacrificing himself and ultimately killing the Were Rabbit before returning to human form and waking up thanks to the smell of Stinking Bishop. Victor is defeated by being placed into a female Were Rabbit Suit and being beaten by the local community.
The film ends with Lady Tottington opening a rabbit sanctuary in her Estate for all of the previously captured bunnies including the humanoid Bunny Hutch who still has the personality of Wallace.
The film is very good and maybe one day I will give the movie a full on review and analysis but for now my main question is how did the videogame adaptation hold up?
So to begin I want to point out that’s the games plot is pretty accurate to the film with only a few exceptions to make it work as a videogame, the main difference is that the villain Victor has a more prominent role and actually steals Wallace’s technology to make other Were Creatures.
There are also multiple maps you can explore making the terrain and areas of the game more expansive than the movie and overall in my opinion more realistic to actual British town compared to what was only shown in the flick.
After the final battle Victors fate was left the same although they never opened the bunny sanctuary and the remaining rabbits just kinda live in Wallace and Gromits house.
So with the major differences out of the way lets discuss what this licenced movie game has to offer.
First of all the game is actually pretty good, it is a puzzle platformer where you need to swap between two characters (either Wallace and Gromit or Gromit and Hutch), during the day time the missions you complete are mainly based around gathering items and capturing the little animals that are overruling the local gardens.
At night the gameplay becomes more action based and the missions here need players to defeat the various Were creatures and help protect local residents as they travel between areas.
There are arenas in the game which is something I actually really disliked as they didn’t really feel like they needed to be there and didn’t provide much more than the regular gameplay since they maintained the same general goals of defeating enemies and catching the loose animals.
There are collectable cards to get, you get one for each mission you complete and some others can be found throughout the world maps by completing timed puzzles.
The puzzles were some of the best parts of the journey as each character had different abilities, Wallace was the most diverse as he can use tools such as the Bolt Cutters and the screw driver (Hutch can also use these) Gromit on the other-hand felt a little lacking in his capabilities and didn’t seem to have much to make him stand out apart from the umbrella which allowed him to hover over distances.
Gromit did however have a side game where players could try and grow his marrow for the vegetable competition, you could buy items in the game to help the growth of your marrow as well as decorate the Green House. I really struggled to actually do any good at this side content so I never got to see it too completion.
The game looks pretty impressive for a low budget licensed game and the character designs do suit the Wallace and Gromit universe. That’s not say that the graphics are any special though considering that for a late PS2 game these are quite uninspiring and only really get a pass due to this not being a AAA title.
The game controls very well and I had very little issue with bugs or bad game design.
The games soundtrack really suits the nature of the franchise extremely well with its light hearted and non serious tones, these casual melodies make this feel like a real Aardman project and it wouldn’t surprise me if these were actually tunes from the Wallace and Gromit franchise.
Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were Rabbit the videogame left me in shock, I really didn’t think I would enjoy the game at all and while it isn’t phenomenal in any sense of the word, for a movie game this is actually one of the better ones, its more creative, expansive and fun than it ever needed to be and if you get the chance to pick this up cheap I highly recommend you give it a go as you may be left pleasantly surprised, it does get a little stale as its gameplay drags around the half way point but with the 2 player co-op the campaign becomes 10 times more bearable and is the best way to play.
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