The world of video game adaptations of big-screen movies is a tough one indeed, kids. Often, we couch potatoes are lucky just to get something that’ll hold our interest from the time we take the cellophane off and place the disc into the console to that wonted and often-unavoidable point in time wherein we realize we’ve been duped (usually about ten minutes into playing) by a game developer who was just out for our money. In the case of EA Games’ Rango, however, they actually set out to entertain us for a change!
Picking up after the events depicted in the motion picture of the same name (yes, kids, we’re fortunate enough to have been blessed with an adaptation that doesn’t recreate the plot from the film!), Rango once again stars the voice of actor Johnny Depp as our titular hero, who is now the sheriff of Dirt. Through a series of flashback levels, Rango tells Dirt’s intellectually-challenged residents a tall tale so unbelievable, it could only be true. What do radioactive rocks, shootouts, zombies, explosions, heart-pounding chases atop of roadrunners and bats, aliens, and even a trip into the virtual pixilated graphics of a broken-down arcade game all have in common? Well, not only are they all a part of Sheriff Rango’s farfetchedly-fantastic imagination, but they’re also just some of the highpoints in an outrageously-fun video game.
Boasting some of the best graphics I’ve seen in a “kiddie” game in a long time, Rango carries the distinction of being one of the few games in existence whose character artwork has been fleshed out by Industrial Light and Magic, who also developed the characters for the title’s original big-screen incarnation. Depp’s magnificent voice only adds to the charm here, giving Rango (and his impressive vocabulary) more life than any imitator could ever hope to do. Armed with an impressive pop-gun of his own design, Rango goes from one location to another, attempting to uncover a mystery surrounding a number of radioactive rocks that have practically invaded Dirt and had an undesired affect on the locals.
Like any good time-consumer, upgrades are a pretty important to gameplay here. From the get-go, Rango has the option to pick up a plethora of sheriff’s stars as he defeats bad guys left and right. Periodically, the character of Wounded Bird shows up and offers to trade the stars in for weapon and character upgrades — which give Rango the opportunity to load hold more ammo, improve special attacks, etc. The upgrades get pricier with every advancement, so players will have to start mining the game for as many stars as possible if they want to max the character out (although I think you can get by without just as easily).
The game keeps up the western cinematic flare that the original Rango film, whether it be one of many cutaway sequences with our hero attempting to stretch his already tall tale out further to a baffled group of locals (“Hey, we’re from Albuquerque!” the ever-present group of mariachi owls explain when Rango’s anecdote fail to have their intended effect), or a silent movie-style introduction to a level, complete with piano music and grainy film stock. On the whole, Rango is a great game; one that’s not only enjoyable for all ages, but one that is thoroughly-entertaining in-general. Anyone expecting something terribly-complicated and challenging may be a bit disappointed: after all, it’s a title that was designed with the whole “kiddie-factor” thing in mind.
Nevertheless, Rango has a lot of heart and humor going for it throughout that should appeal to everyone, as well as some truly-fun (if somewhat simplistic) challenges. In short: it’s a highly recommended game! Enjoy.
Rango is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Cartoon Violence, Mild Language. This game can also be found on: Nintendo DS, Wii, and Xbox 360.