bitparade: Codename K.N.D.: Operation V.I.D.E.O.G.A.M.E. (PlayStation 2)

We see these sort of titles all the time. Licensed games of popular kids programs and personally I’d heard of Spongebob Squarepants and Fairly Odd Parents, but I get the feeling they may be a bit outdated now, as I’ve never heard of this Cartoon Network license despite having 2 brother-in-laws of the age to watch the channel. I assume its popular otherwise there’d be no point in releasing a game for ti. And it’s a shame, for the kids, that developers don’t make an effort with this sort of thing. They usually take the role of collect-em-up;s with a script that includes as many of the characters from the show as possible, and Codename KND is no different.

It even features a ludicrously stupid subtitle in “Operation V.I.D.E.O.G.A.M.E.”. The way this differs from most licensed collect-em-up’s is that it is actually fun, in a surreal way, if only for 20 minutes. Its then that the annoying soundbites and music begin to grate your skin, the idiotic spelling drives you up the wall and clumsy controls make you want to throw the controller against the wall.

And while these are all problems that really hinder the game, it does have some very good ideas for levels and bosses. The first proper level , for example, see’s you running through a overgrown doughnut making oven before facing off against “Gramma Stuffum” in a robot featuring various cooking utensils as weapons. You can’t hurt the robot normally but by hitting three switches(one to drop a lump of dough, the other to open trap doors and the last to cover the robot in jam) you can lower its shield for a short period of time so you can shoot it with your gumball cannon. Also sections of levels are also inspired, still in the doughtnut maker, you have to make your way up a turbine using the fan at the bottom to help you jump long distances from platform to platform. But while the idea in principle is good, the choppy frame rate and awakward camera make life too difficult to bother.

While Codename KND is a better effort in the licensed collect-em-up genre, its still a mediocre title, that with some more time and effort, could have been fairly entertaining.

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