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G.I. Joe (Wii)

Rated: 16+. This is somewhat ludicrous, however. It's a game involving lots of shooting but there's no blood, and defeated enemies discretely fade away. If the faceless, body-armoured adversaries were given a silver coat of paint and called robots, the game would most likely be a 7+. It's about as realistic as two eight-year-olds playing war with their action figures.

Story: Some secret military squad of good guys is after an equally secret organisation of bad guys. The bad guys have an army of goons; the good guys have a selection of big guns.

Put them together and...

Gameplay: G.I. Joe essentially involves running round shooting things (from a third-person point of view). Two players can work together cooperatively or one player can take on the horde with the help of a computer-controlled assistant.

Each character has their own standard weapon and can unleash special attacks every so often. More rarely, it's possible to power up for a brief burst of invincibility. Characters can hide behind cover and there are occasional vehicle sections.

Save System: Automatic save at the end of a level.

Comments: Even by the standards of movie tie-ins this is dreadful. The cover system is fiddly and ineffective, the vehicles are a pain to control and the levels are forgettable and linear. Those are only the minor issues, though.

On the easiest difficulty, it's essentially impossible to die - take too much damage and you disappear for a few seconds and lose some points. This works in the LEGO games because the puzzling and exploring is as important as the fighting. In G.I. Joe it simply means that pressing up on the control stick and holding down fire is enough to progress through most situations. Watching the screen is frequently unnecessary. If anything, the longer I spent with my eyes shut during a level, the better my score got...

On the next difficulty setting up, if your character dies, the other player has to progress on their own to the next checkpoint. In a single-player game, you switch control to the character formerly controlled by the computer. If the surviving character reaches the checkpoint, the other character is reinstated. If they don't make it, it's right back to the start of the level. Even if they die while fighting the end-of-level boss.

This is obviously hugely frustrating. There's nothing for it but a tedious trudge back along the same route using pretty much the same tactics. The game isn't hard but even one such defeat is liable to test your will to continue, particularly as it probably won't be your fault. The automatic targeting system almost invariably selects the explosive barrel you're standing next to rather than the enormous gun emplacement a bit further away which is filling you full of bullets. This is not good. It's possible to switch targets manually but the system often switches back if you move around or chuck a grenade. In the heat of battle, this sometimes isn't clear until you're dead. Grrr...

Then there's the awkward fixed camera angles to mention and the hopelessly uninteresting story and characters. Oh, and almost no use is made of the Wii's special controls as well. Shaking the wiimote launches a hand-to-hand attack and shaking the nunchuk causes a roll. That's it. Nonetheless, in a final touch of disaster, this is enough to mean the game doesn't even work with jOG - try running on the spot and your character somersaults around like a loony.


About the only thing G.I. Joe has going for it is that there aren't many similar games on the Wii. Anyone swayed by that argument, though, should head down to their local second-hand store and pick up an original Xbox and a couple of better games for a similar amount of money...

Conclusion: I suspect few people have sufficient fondness for the subject matter to bother slogging through this.

Graphics: Bland.

Length: Longer than your patience.

Rating: 1/5.


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