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Dreamcast Review: 102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescue

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102 Dalmatians is a Disney title. It’s a Disney title aimed at children. Others have been warned.

The game’s story is basically that of the movie: Cruella is up to her old jinks again and has turned all of her toys into Dalmatian puppy-capturing machines. Naturally it’s up to two Dalmatians to save everyone else by roaming around London.

Players control either puppy – it’s purely an esthetic choice – and have the ability to jump, bark, and roll. Jumping is quite necessary in maneuvering through the large levels, most of which sport various platforming obstacles. Barking is the main “weapon” of the game; apparently the electronic toys can be destroyed by the mere sound of a puppy voice. Rolling involves the puppy throwing itself into a forward somersault that is useful for breaking imprisoned puppies out of crates.

The controls are somewhat clunky, but since the game doesn’t require intricate maneuvers, they are adequate. Camera control is another thing entirely; it’s completely manual and often forces the player to stop and orient before proceeding.

The puppies explore various areas around London: factories, museums, castles, etc. The goal of each standard level is to simply make it through the level, finding bones and freeing puppies. Each level has an indicator to show progress toward both quotas but finding everything is not a prerequisite for completion of a level. Levels can be played at any time, allowing players to return and continue hunting for swag.

That hunt is the basis of the game’s appeal; it’s one giant find-stuff adventure. Kids will undoubtedly enjoy this aspect, but adults will probably find it tiresome. The game can be completed in less than five hours, but it would require much more to achieve 100% completion.

Achieving 100% in levels does unlock bonuses: stickers and minigames. These provide small, but fun extras in addition to the main game.

The difficulty level is aimed at young children; adults will find it far too easy for enjoyment. Most enemies are more comical than dangerous, and the game is readily forgiving of mistakes; don’t expect to find bottomless pits or hidden traps.

Graphically, the game does not push the Dreamcast; the textures are blocky and seem better suited to a Playstation. Aurally, the game shows better promise, especially in voice-over sequences that constantly interrupt gameplay.

Not recommended for anyone who has undergone puberty.

102 Dalmatians is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on: Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, PC, Playstation, Nintendo 64.


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