DaViD introduces Guest Reviewer Chuck Landsdown:
Hello folks. When I received this DVD “game set” from BV the other day I really felt that it ought to be reviewed by someone with a sincere love for the Lilo/Stitch phenomenon rather than someone like myself who enjoys the full-length feature films but can’t really approach the game material (what this whole DVD set is about) from a fan’s point-of-view. Lucky for me our own HTF member Chuck Landsdown happens to be a self-admitted Stitch addict and when asked if he would like to write a review for this DVD, he responded with an enthusiastic “yes!”. Well my friends, here are the fruits of his labor...so from this point on I’ll turn the review over to fellow HTF member Chuck Landsdown...
|Lilo, Stitch & Me...|
When I first heard of Disney’s Production “Lilo and Stitch” in 2001, I have to say that I wasn’t the least bit impressed by idea. Then in 2002, when stills and ads began to appear for the feature, my mind was totally changed. I was captured at the first appearance of Stitch and I have never looked back.
In fact, it was nearly the first Disney film that I had seen in over a decade. So much of their product just lacked appeal to me (of course, this would be some of the best years to Disney according to Disney with such classics as “The Lion King” and the numerous Pixar films) and I wasn’t interested. After a single viewing of Chris Sanders’ creation, I was hooked. I had to see the movie as many times as I could (and almost every theater in my area) and get my hands on as much Stitch merchandise as I could. As a result, I have a fairly large shrine in honor to Experiment 626.
So when I found out that there would be daily adventures for Lilo and Stitch from Disney, I cannot tell you how happy I was (and I am 32 years old). That is where Disney’s new “Lilo and Stitch’s Island of Adventures” comes in. Not only does it contain two full length episodes (called “features” on the packaging) of “Lilo and Stitch: The Series,” it also contains what Disney calls a “revolutionary new” DVD game.
First, we’ll take a look at the animated features on the set:
“Mr. Stenchy”- This episode opens with Lilo and Stitch already having captured Experiment 254 and taking it home in hopes of finding it an Ohana (Hawaiian for family) where it belongs. As a result, Myrtle Edmunds, Lilo’s nemesis, finally invites Lilo to become a part of their club, as long as Mr. Stenchy comes along. Stitch, jealous of the attention that everyone is giving to the Stitch’s new “cousin,” he allows Gantu to take Mr. Stenchy to the evil Dr. Hamsterviel, a ornery rodent who wants the experiments for his evil doings.
Mr. Stenchy has two abilities exclusive to him. One, he is very adorable and everyone falls in love with him at first site. His second ‘talent’ isn’t near as cute; 48 hours after activation, Mr. Stenchy begin an aromatic assault on the atmosphere. The problem is, no one knows when he was activated. Stitch and Lilo must locate him before Hawaii and, ultimately Earth, is filled with a never-ending foul smell.
“Clip”- The never-ending insults of Myrtle to Lilo continue and Lilo won’t take it anymore. Seeking revenge against her ‘friend,’ Lilo and Stitch pose as cat burglars to leave an overnight surprise for Myrtle--Experiment 177, who has a hunger for hair. Their plan backfires when Gantu locates the experiment and attempts to steal it back, but first releasing it on Myrtle’s unsuspecting mother. How can a creature with an insatiable appetite for hair ever find a purpose? That is what our heroes must discover.
Having grown accustomed to their usual broadcast appearance, to say that I was taken aback by their presentation is a understatement. The colors vary from rich blues to luscious reds and the backgrounds are in the style of the original, watercolor-splashed feature film. Both are presented in their television aspect ratio of 4:3 (the correct ratio for these titles) and are amazingly clear and seemingly free of any edge enchancement. It’s also great to see these titles as the creators originally envisioned without the static logo mouse ears of the Disney Channel or without the annoying banners. With the release of these two episodes, I hope that the conclusion of the first season will lead to a full season DVD release. While children and adults will both enjoy the antics of Lilo and Stitch, parents will be entertained with subtle doses of adult humor mixed in as well.
|Lilo and Stitch’s Island of Adventure Game...|
Disney’s first interactive game DVD comes packaged with the following:
*Six Vehicles “Place cards”
*50 Experiment Pogs (32 are single Experiment Pogs and 18 are Five Experiment Pogs)
Objective: Utilizing the DVD, your remote control and the board game in conjunction, players race around the board and face a number of obstacles as they help Lilo and Stitch find homes for the Experiments. When a player crosses the finish line, the game ends, and the person that has captured the most experiments wins.
All right, I will start with the negatives toward the game before I get to why I enjoyed about it.
The experiment pogs arrive in a series that are punched out from a cardboard sheet. They should have come in a pouch or something else to store them in. Otherwise, they are loose to just dump back in the box.
One particular event encountered in the game involved the potential capture of an experiment. Per the instructions given during play each player is required to take turns and press the enter key. Eventually, a player would capture the experiment by chance but it went on far too long. Even though we only had two people playing, it took six times before the experiment was finally captured and the remote kept getting passed back and forth. NOW…granted, kids will find this part exciting as it builds suspense, but for adults, it is simply annoying and time consuming.
Now, those are little things that I found aggravating, but overall, I had a great time. The game can last a fairly long time. In fact, there were only two people playing game, yet it took almost 90 minutes to finish. Adding more people will surely slow the game down. Granted, I was writing notes and really paying attention to things more so than what the average game player would for the review, so I am also taking that into account.
I also like the fact that the game features mini-games and physical interaction activities that entire family can enjoy. We came across two of the interactive games and one featured the player trying to last longer than Jumba at shouting, and the other was a starring contest between the player and Jumba. In both cases, if you outlasted Jumba, you won the round and picked up an experiment. Also, there are a few challenges with trivia and basic concentration games for which you will be awarded should you succeed.
It is because of the duration of the game, entertainment value and the activities involved that I am sure that it placed it highly on Parents Magazine’s Hit List Recommendations. Playing the game is not only fun, but also will bring the entire Ohana together.
Technical Aspects of the Game:
The screens are animated and entertaining, making the sometimes long periods of time on the screen easier to take. Every aspect of the game is fully animated with new material with the cast of Lilo and Stitch and looks wonderful. The game, just like the two feature programs, is 4:3.
|Sound (Features and Game)...|
Surprisingly, everything relating to the programs on this disc are presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Most of the sound is focused between the front channels and center. Surround and subwoofer is limited, though its main uses are for Gantu’s spacecraft passing by or rumblings from one of the experiments. Overall, the sound quality is pleasing, lively and effective.
Overall Rating: A
I have very little to complain about this release aside for the packaging issues that have already been discussed. Fans of this newest member of the Disney family will be pleased not only with the quality, but the features and the educational benefits that this game provides. Virtually ever member of will find something positive about this release.