Wii

North America

SPRay

by Neal Ronaghan - January 22, 2009, 7:45 am PST
Total comments: 19

3

SPRay is a peculiar mixture of poor 3D Zelda and Super Mario Sunshine gameplay with Wii controls and a terrible camera.

Tecmo's SPRay is an adventure game about a spirited prince named Ray. With the help of his liquid-spouting friends, he has to save his father and his kingdom from the evil Queen Mordack. However, Ray fails to save his own game thanks to uninspired puzzles, unworkable camera control, and lame combat.

The basic gameplay mechanic, and the reason the game is named SPRay, is the hero's ability to manipulate various liquids through two liquid spirits, the angelic Liad and the devilish Gush. By aiming with the pointer and pressing the B button, you can unleash your liquids upon the fantasy world. You can cycle through your liquids using the D-pad.

At the start you can only spout water and vomit, but as you progress through the game, you eventually unlock the power to discharge slime, ice, and antimatter. The combination of all these liquids could have made for some cool gameplay possibilities and interesting puzzles, but it all falls flat. Water extinguishes fire, vomit reveals hidden paths, slime makes things sticky, ice makes things slippery, and antimatter opens portals through walls. They give the appearance of variety, but each has a very particular purpose and that's it. Oftentimes I over-thought the puzzles and tried to use the liquids in interesting ways. The game is rigidly tied to its simple puzzles.

The vilest villain in SPRay is not the wicked Queen Mordack—it's the camera. Combat in this game is a mixture of liquid attacks and Ray's meager sword attacks, which are activated by a shake of the Wii Remote. This would work fine if it weren't for the camera. There is no way to control the camera besides centering it with a double-tap of the Z button, which also happens to be used for locking on to enemies. If you're in the heat of combat, forget about adjusting the camera to your liking. What you'll get instead is a crappy angle on an enemy that you need to miraculously point at with your Remote. Furthermore, most jumps are made twice as difficult thanks to the finicky camera, since you have to position your hero in the perfect spot to even have a prayer of getting the camera view you want. Luckily, if you fall to your doom, you respawn nearby.

As far as the actual progression of the game goes, the overworld map and the levels it contains are extremely unfriendly. With enemies constantly respawning, traversing any area in the game is a chore. And there is a lot of traversing. This works in Metroid games because it is empowering to come back later and squash the once-tough enemies. You never become that powerful in SPRay.

The crux of the game revolves around collecting crystals so you can revive the kingdom. Before you complete a level, you have to break a magical barrier by using the pointer to crudely draw a shape. Then, after collecting the revealed crystal, you teleport to the dungeon where the disembodied spirit of your father is hanging out, which is as far away from the later levels as you can get.

There are also multiplayer modes that pit up to four players against each other in four different games that involve the liquids. To be blunt, they are all very bad. The camera is zoomed out so it can show all four participants, and this makes it really easy to lose your character and/or your pointer in the shuffle. Like the main game, the multiplayer is focused on the one thing that each liquid can do and that's it. There is also a cooperative mode that unnecessarily separates the player's normal duties amongst two people, one controlling Ray and the other controlling the liquids. Cooperative play works in Super Mario Galaxy because it adds the second player as a sidekick. It doesn't work here because each player only plays half of the game.

With all its problems, SPRay is a pretty terrible game. The basics of the gameplay are promising, but it never becomes anything of substance. While the camera control is far and away the game's worst problem, it also suffers from lackluster puzzles, bland combat, and an awful overworld. SPRay has some nice ideas, but all it feels like is a terrible mixture of borrowed gameplay.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
4 6 3 3 3 3
Graphics
4

This looks like a lackluster GameCube game with bland colors and a limited palette of enemies.

Sound
6

The only thing the music does is set the tone for the boring regal epic. The sound effects are good, especially those used for the different liquids.

Control
3

The pointer controls work fine for spraying liquids and the motion-controlled swordplay is passable, but the atrocious camera ruins every good thing about the controls.

Gameplay
3

Aside from the promising idea of using the liquids, SPRay offers little to no inventive gameplay.

Lastability
3

A short main quest is all that lies in SPRay. There are multiplayer modes, but they are even worse than the main game.

Final
3

Tecmo's SPRay is pretty bad, but it does have a few nice ideas. The liquid gameplay mechanic would work fine if it weren't for the vile camera and the dreadful level design. Even if you can get past the camera, SPRay is an unimaginative adventure game that misses the mark.

Summary

Pros
  • Using the pointer for liquids is fun.
Cons
  • Navigating the world is confusing
  • The camera is the bane of my existence
  • Uninspired puzzles
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

MaxiJanuary 22, 2009

Same score NP gave.Yikes!

So would you say the spraying controls make a good argument for a New Play Control release for Super Mario Sunshine?

Quote from: insanolord

So would you say the spraying controls make a good argument for a New Play Control release for Super Mario Sunshine?

Yes.

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 22, 2009

It is too bad this game turned out so bad. It looked like it had potential and I was actually looking forward to it at one point.

TJ SpykeJanuary 23, 2009

The sales reflect the bad score. The game only sold about 150 copies in December according to NPD (not 150,000. just 150).

Yikes.  Hope it's got legs...

KDR_11kJanuary 23, 2009

Quote from: insanolord

So would you say the spraying controls make a good argument for a New Play Control release for Super Mario Sunshine?

I think a bigger point would be to remove Sunshine's goal for reaching bowser, it should be tied to a starcount instead of beating the 7th mission in each map.

PeachylalaJanuary 23, 2009

If Koizumi and EAD Tokyo remade Sunshine, it would get the respect it deserves.

And Wind Waker.

In all honesty, I hope EAD Tokyo is working on a new game. I'd rather just see a straight port of Sunshine with Wii controls.

And I don't know if I'd ever want to see Wind Waker remade. I think that game is fine just how it is, warts and all.

vuduJanuary 23, 2009

Quote from: TJ

The sales reflect the bad score. The game only sold about 150 copies in December according to NPD (not 150,000. just 150).

LOL; I feel bad but at the same time I can't help but laugh.

KDR_11kJanuary 23, 2009

Overall the stupid apply-item-to-matching-hotspot puzzles seem to be taking the upper hand in hardcore games these days with their "no gamer left behind" policy on difficulty.

TJ SpykeJanuary 23, 2009

I think it might be a good idea to buy a copy of the game and save it fro the future. Some GameCube games are worth a lot of money because they sold poorly (and thus pretty rare). If sales stay low then a shrink wrapped copy could be very valuable in a few years.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusJanuary 23, 2009

Quote from: nron10

In all honesty, I hope EAD Tokyo is working on a new game. I'd rather just see a straight port of Sunshine with Wii controls.

And I don't know if I'd ever want to see Wind Waker remade. I think that game is fine just how it is, warts and all.

Well the only part I want to see done better is the missing dungeon where you get the last jewel just like that, also the triforce hunt redone.

KDR_11kJanuary 24, 2009

Quote from: TJ

I think it might be a good idea to buy a copy of the game and save it fro the future. Some GameCube games are worth a lot of money because they sold poorly (and thus pretty rare). If sales stay low then a shrink wrapped copy could be very valuable in a few years.

I think that only applies to games that have actual demand, not games that are so horrible they are against the Geneva Convention.

I never thought about it like that, but I guess SPRay is against the Geneva Convention...

IceColdJanuary 24, 2009

Quote from: True

If Koizumi and EAD Tokyo remade Sunshine, it would get the respect it deserves.

And Wind Waker.

Actually, Tokyo EAD consists of most, if not all, of the Sunshine team. And it shouldn't be remade - it deserves the respect just as it is.

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 25, 2009

Quote from: KDR_11k

Quote from: TJ

I think it might be a good idea to buy a copy of the game and save it fro the future. Some GameCube games are worth a lot of money because they sold poorly (and thus pretty rare). If sales stay low then a shrink wrapped copy could be very valuable in a few years.

I think that only applies to games that have actual demand, not games that are so horrible they are against the Geneva Convention.

CD-i Zeldas say you are wrong.

MaxiJanuary 25, 2009

I don't know if that was intentinal GP but I just pictured Zelda trying to figure out who killed Link.

KDR_11kJanuary 25, 2009

FAMOUSLY bad games, sure. Those are, well, famous. However there won't be much collector value to every random piece of broken shovelware.

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SPRay Box Art

Genre Adventure
Developer Eko Software
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: SPRay
Release Dec 02, 2008
PublisherTecmo
RatingEveryone 10+

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