Mark Marrow
11 Oct, 2005

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge Review

PS2 Review | Not quite the holiday treat.
We can’t start off a review in a sour mood, especially when we’re discussing a movie based around the twisted, yet insightful mind of Tim Burton. While it may’ve been 12years ago that we first witnessed the spooky, yet enjoyable, The Night Before Christmas, it doesn’t ruin the fact that the series has received somewhat of a cult following throughout it’s life-cycle. Apparently it’s a favourite amongst those depressed, Gothic stereotypes, and yet still appeals to children of all ages because of its delightful appearance. The fact remains though that Tim Burton is a genius, and The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stellar release.

Here we are in 2005, Halloween is among us, and well Capcom has decided to revive the Halloween King’s spirit, by releasing a continuation on the story of the hit-success of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Many movie-to-game transitions often fail with little or no success of providing video-game fans with enjoyment, although that doesn’t seem to stop them from selling well, and although Capcom are a talented bunch they haven’t quite captured the essence of creating a good movie-based game.

Something that Capcom’s latest creation offers from previous movie-based titles is that the game isn’t entirely based off any movie. The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge is a story following up from the previous events from the movie; giving the developers a bit more flexibility of what can be said and shown. The game begins after the events of the original movie, with all the original characters still playing major roles, where Jack Skellington, Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, decides that he is once again growing tied of doing the same thing year after year for every Halloween. So therefore, that’s where Jack gathers his new ‘scare-toy’ (which we later discovered to be quite irritating) the Soul Robber. Still feeling unsatisfied with it all Jack leaves town to search for more. However, when Jack returns, like the title suggest, Oogie is back and has claimed Halloween Town, and the other holiday towns, as his own.

Under the moon on a twisted hill, oh how romantic.

Under the moon on a twisted hill, oh how romantic.
The story progresses quite nicely, which comes as a surprise when working with a pre-existing concept. The entire cast featured in the original movie is back including the likes of Sally, Dr. Finkelstein, the Vampires and those little brats Zero, Lock and Shock all playing leading roles in the progressions of the game’s story. The game spans over all the familiar areas witnessed from the movie such as the Halloween Town’s graveyard, the town hall, the holiday dump, Dr. Finkelstein’s Lab and even Christmas Town.

While offering a unique movie franchise beside its title, it only seems that Capcom has disguised their Devil May Cry series with a much more dumb-downed version suited for children. Gamers dispose of enemies with Jack Skellington’s latest device the Soul Rubber, which acts in everyway like a whip. You can slap, grab and pound enemies into the ground, and into each other in a similar fashion as to what has been seen in similar Capcom software. The game features a combo system similar to Devil May Cry, and a lot of other gameplay sequences are a close replica to any other Capcom title on the market.

Quite possibly one of the most unique and fascinating aspects of The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge is its absolutely captivating boss battles. The original movie included characters singing to one another, and this is shown throughout the boss battles. Throughout the entire boss battle Jack and another will be singing as you battle it out. Once making a successful hit to the enemy music notes will drop. After picking up enough of these, Jack will be allowed to pull off a nice little dance combo, which is only successful depending on your ability to press a number of buttons shown on the screen. While it won’t win an award for most outstanding idea in a game, it should be commended for its efforts to providing something unique and fitting to the original context of the movie.

“It’s a little hard with me being bound, Jack."

“It’s a little hard with me being bound, Jack."
While the ‘borrowed’ gameplay elements aren’t such a problem, it’s rather intriguing actually, it’s the things that are missing that truly hurts this game. The game features an incredibly frustration fixed camera that makes it difficult to see what’s in front of you, behind you, beside you, above you, you get the point. Sure, fixed camera angles aren’t too bad back in the day, but in a game that relies of vision and placement of enemies it can become frustration at times.

Another problem that floored us was the questionable decision to leave the right analog stick completely useless. Surely some of the people testing this game could’ve mentioned that this game needed a human controlled camera, or even an enemy selection button, which was another issue we came across. While the combat is very limited with what can be performed, sure we’ll take two marks off for that, it could’ve been helped if there was an option to select between enemies. There are instances in the game where the game focuses a cursor above an enemy meaning Jack will concentrate all his attacks on that single enemy. However, with a game that has wave after wave of enemies approaching, you need the ability to be able to quickly switch between any of the enemies behind, in front or beside you. And unfortunately, this is a feature the game solely lacks. The lack of usage of the right analog stick strikes again.

Aside from using the traditional Jack you and me know, gamers will later in the game be able to use Halloween King Jack and Santa Claus Jack, each offering their own unique combat abilities. While these two new Jacks are essential for progression for certain puzzles, these two characters are almost useless throughout the entire game leaving you stuck with the soul robbing Jack (which over time, feels like your doing the same thing over and over again).

While the game’s gameplay system is terribly outdated and frustrating, we have to take our hats off and commend Capcom for their accurate recreation of Tim Burton’s original dream. The environments are very fitting to the original movie, and the ones that weren’t featured in the movie, feel right at home. The characters deserve similar praise, as each enemy and NPC seems to fit perfectly inside Tim Burton’s world. The only real downside to all this though, is that the game seems to have trouble producing decent textures, which has a tendency to hurt the overall feel to some areas throughout the game.

Don’t you dare say it, Jack!

Don’t you dare say it, Jack!
The game’s music, like you would hope, is for the most part pretty fulfilling for fans of the original movie. Seeing as though the original was based around music and singing, it is only fitting that the same can be said for the game. The game features a number of original tracks, as well as new tunes that fit quite nicely with the original feel of the movie. The only real downside to the score of the game is that the tracks are extremely repetitive. If that was the only problem Capcom could’ve been forgiven, however, Jack’s little ‘soul robber’ does a bit more than scare the hell out of people. On every occasion you press the triangle button you’ll hear Jack spurt out two of the most annoying words in video-game history; Soul Rubber. This is not only a problem; it is downright annoying considering that the soul robber is an essential item in combat. So soon enough you’ll be hearing ‘Soul Robber, Soul Robber, Soul Robber, Soul Robber’ over and over again. It’s no fun playing this game with those sorts of sound effects either, since if you’re playing the game with others around you, you’ll end the game with bruises and pillows thrown at you to turn the game off due to those two annoying words.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge isn’t a bad game; it just isn’t a good game. The ideas shown throughout the game, while borrowed and somewhat familiar, are good at what they do and that’s all the really counts at the end of the day. The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge offers a fantastic and fulfilling experience for fans of the original movie, however due to the game’s short-comings and outdated gameplay this game is best fitting to scare off children from touching games such as Devil May Cry and God of War.
The Score
Perfect for a rent. Interesting concepts and ideas produced, but the obvious shortcomings are what hurt the final result. The fact that it was finished last year and released in Japan in 2004 and left until now, with no changes, is just one of god’s mysteries. 6
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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8 years ago
this game looks really crap. the graphics are horrible in the pictures. i don't think i will even rent the game when it comes out
8 years ago
^^ Actually, I thought it looked really good. The art style is outstanding! However, a fixed camera? No use of the right analog stick? What the hell were they thinking?! Put a bit more work into it, man.
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