Stuart Little is certainly hot property, but does his game sequel live up to the praise of his second movie?
I haven’t seen either of the Stuart Little movies, so I had no idea what I was in for when I plunged into this Game Boy Advance rendition. Stuart Little was based on a book written by E. B. White, the author of Charlotte's Web. Stuart Little 2 is based on the second story, where Stuart befriends a bird named Margalo who comes to stay with the Little household. Stuart volunteers to find Mrs. Little's ring when she loses it down the kitchen sink, and all seems to be well. However, Margalo disappears and Stuart sets out to find his new friend.
The game seems to stick true to the movie, with Stuart constructing a plane, flying it, going home from school and driving his mini hot rod within the first five or so levels. All of the levels are different and varied, yet Stuart Little 2 seems to suffer from being incredibly boring and generic. If you play the platform levels (which are the majority of the levels in the game), you'll notice that they're all pretty similar and are basically a straight line from start to finish. Add to the fact that you can't tell which graphics are platforms and which aren't, and you'll begin to get frustrated. Then there's the bright idea of not letting Stuart defend himself. There is only one stage that I know of where you can actually attack enemies.
The graphics for Stuart Little 2 are quite good. Stuart himself is animated really well, and waves at you if you leave him idle for a bit. The levels are easy to see, despite the Game Boy Advance's less-than-perfect screen, and levels are nicely drawn and detailed. The car race through the city streets has parked cars, oil slicks and water to avoid, along with open manholes and holes in the road that you have to cross on narrow pipes. In later levels, there are Chinese Noodle boxes to push around, giant cats trying to pop your balloons and spiders to avoid as well.
To be fair, there have been some good ideas used in the non-platform levels of Stuart Little 2. Driving the hot rod is (while a bit awkward at times) enjoyable and challenging, as every so often there is a falcon circling you, getting closer and closer. To avoid the falcon, you must reach checkpoints within a time limit. The driving is easy to pull off as you drive along footpaths, pipes and other small obstacles, and you have to watch out for holes in the road and the like. Another level finds you being lowered into the kitchen sink to find Mrs. Little's ring - this is incredibly tough, even on easy mode, as spiders are attacking you from all directions and the only way to stop them is to shine your tiny torch at them. The spiders rapidly get faster and faster along with being larger as well. It’s a simple level in concept, but rather tricky to beat.
To help younger players progress, an easy mode has been included in the game which shows you where to go throughout the levels and where to find your objectives (such as the paint for the plane, or the item that's stopping Margalo from getting to her new home). This is a good idea, as Stuart Little 2 can be frustrating if you don't know what it is you're supposed to be doing. However, Easy Mode really only takes place in the platform levels - there is no assistance given to the player in other levels such as the sink or the car levels.
Before each level in the game begins, you're given a brief introduction, along with a small cutscene with digitized speech. The speech is fairly distorted, but it is nowhere near as poor quality as something like Wario Land 4. At least you can understand what each character is saying, and even if you can't, you've got speech bubbles to assist you. Other sounds are very basic game noises that you'd probably hear in a Super NES game - nothing really stands out aside from the speech. It is enjoyable to hear Stuart's terrified cry as he plummets to his doom though, which can happen quite frequently. As for the music, well the best description would have to be a demented merry-go-round. It's clearly not inspired from the movie, but the music really is enough to drive you insane. At least there's the option for you to turn the sound or music (or both) off if you desire.
Stuart Little 2 also has two multiplayer games to play, based on two of the levels in the single player game. The first is the "Little Prix", where you race with a friend around a race track to the finish line. According to the manual, 'every race is different', so it sounds like the tracks are randomly generated. It's a good game to add as a multiplayer game, as the car driving level was quite fun. The other game is called "Level Runners" and has Stuart and Margalo racing against each other in various platform stages. Unfortunately as both games require multiple cartridges to play, I wasn’t able to test them out myself.
Stuart Little 2 is nothing to get excited about. It’s a very standard platform game with some nice graphics and speech thrown in. The password save will infuriate you, along with game music that will most likely send you to an asylum. There are a couple of multiplayer modes thrown in, but they're only accessible if you have two cartridges, which is highly unlikely for this game. A couple of the levels stand out in terms of creativity, but there are many better games than this one. Save your money for something better.