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Lucky Luke: The Video Game - CD-i Review

>> Monday, January 22, 2007

Philips CD-i is not known for realtime high action games. Developers often complained about the lack of sprite support and the scrolling issues. After the launch, CD-i was promoted with 'static'games like Connect Four and Battleship. Was this everything the CD-i had to offer? Luckily Eindhoven based SPC Vision started a CD-i games division, developing exclusively for CD-i. Two years after the excellent CD-i platformer "The Apprentice", SPC returned to the 2D platform genre once again with a licensed character: Lucky Luke.

This was right on time, because the cartoon licenses were hyped soon after, and companies like Ocean and Activision paid a lot of money to be granted these licenses. This resulted soon in the next Lucky Luke game on the Playstation, by Ocean. However, SPC was known for great gameplay and graphics on CD-i, so let's see what it had to offer.

Facts:
Developer: The Vision Factory (SPC Vision) & PixelHazard
Publisher: Philips Media (germany)
Release: 1996
Genre: 2D platform adventure
Review date: January 2007
Required: Digital Video Cartridge
Recommended: Gamepad
Extra: no multiplayer, age rating: >12 (USK), >11 (ELSPA)

At first I was a little sceptic about this game, after seeing it for the first time in a CD-i kiosk in 1996. After the award-winning "The Apprentice", the main thing that confused me was the relatively large character on screen. In fact, Luke takes up half the TV screen ;). Ofcourse, I don't want to judge a title on first sight, and after my first play I was very surprised about the quality of this game. Graphics-wise SPC did an excellent job, especially the weather effects were very cool and I never thought this was possible on CD-i. I suspect the use of the Digital Video cartridge was needed to perform this kind of animation on CD-i, still I'm not sure. This was the second time I didn't believe the CD-i was capable of a game like this. The first time was with "Litil Divil", and I'll tell you about that one in a next review.

Basically, this is a normal 2D platform game but totally different than the usual "Mario" games one may think of automatically when it's about platforming. If you've played SPC Vision's other CD-i games, you know the games are quite difficult and you won't go far by just running and jumping to the end. No, you have to know what you're doing. The first level you start with a simple pistol, allowing you to shoot one bullit at a time. When you encounter an enemy, you notice its life level on the top left. Normally 4 bullits are enought to kill him. Before that, you'll see the bullits go "matrix style": it's a nice yet tricky move to fire your gun and slowly follow the bullit to its target. This requires a little tactic to shoot everyone down, instead of wildly firing all that moves on screen. Thankfully, the levels are filled with gun-update-boxes: Up to a double-barrel shotgun (I love his voice when you find this gun) and it shoots out 3 bullits at a time, in one hand! Very cool, but not as cool as the dynamite boxes you'll find on the way. One click and an eagle flies over holding the TNT and you decide when he'll drop it. A major explosion is the result, killing anyone that's near. Very nice!

Already in the first level you get to meet your good friend Rantanplan, who is always following luke. However, he's not as stupid as he often is in the comic series. When you find a bone Rantanplan comes to get it and goes into fight with anyone you want him to get. So he is a major help when a lot of enemies are on screen. However, no more than three enemies will be on screen at the same time because the screen won't go further before all enemies are killed. This give a little "Double Dragon" feeling to the game. This also prevents you from jumping and running through the whole level.

Back to the story. Like with all Lucky Luke adventures, it's about the Dalton brothers having escaped again. It's your task to find them and put them back to jail. If you thought basic platforming is the only type of playing here: you're wrong. If you closely follow the question-mark track on every start of a level (notice the animation!), you see the question mark changing into a town building (that's a normal platform level) or a wigwam. That means you're going to ride your good pal Jolly Jumper! Horse-riding is very diverse, while the scrolling this time goes automatically, be aware to jump over obstacles like trees and rocks, picking up bonus targets and killing all the enemies. It's amazing how SPC got to create this kind of action on CD-i, really.

When the question marks goes into a train, it's the same type of level on Jolly Jumper, only you're catching up an on-going train instead of an indian village. After three levels of fun like this, you enter the mines where you have to race against one of the Daltons. He has a barrel of gold blocks which are one by one falling off due to the rough way in the mines. Be careful to pick them up because you need them to complete the level. At the end you have to fight the Dalton: SPC once again created great end levels with loads of action and always a tactical way to defeat the enemy. It's all in the same style as the end monsters in the Apprentice, and it's great to see a lot of (graphical) references to this title as well.

The use of the Digital Video Cartridge resulted in various cool graphic effects. This is the first platform game with different background layers, and one that goes higher than just the one screen. Also the weather changes from time to time, creating a cool day and night effect, not to forget rain and thunders. The save system works automatically after every three levels, and each level has a checkpoint so you won't have to start all over when you're dead. After you've beaten a Dalton, you get to enter the bonus stage, when you have to use the controller as a gun, like in Mad Dog McCree. Balloons are floating by with the letter LUCKY, you get free lives when you get them all. Loads of extras can be found here, like coins, extra time (pick the hour-glass) and extra guns to start with in the next level.

So what do others say? Gir from the CD-i Collective only rates it 2/5. To quote a few lines: "animation becomes stuttered and clunky as the screen scrolls, and the desire to fully animate the hero also makes it easy to cheap hit him." >> there's a true point in this, as the action doesn't goes as smooth as in The Apprentice, and it's up to your oqn opinion whether you think this affects gameplay. In my view, it doesn't. But you have to get used to the way of playing, that's for sure. "The best thing that can be said for this one is it's audio. Pretty darn right on there pardner. One of the CD-i titles that can be played in an audio CD player, it does have some pretty decent music for it's type." >> Another great remark. Ofcourse, SPC Vision is known for its CD-Ready format and always gives you the opportunity to play the game-music in a normal audio player: A great extra. Giving the quality of the soundtrack, it's definately a plus. "Control is what it really comes down to in this one, flashy graphics and sounds are ok... but the control is really pathetic. I honestly felt I had more control when the controler was unplugged." >> At this point he's overreacting a lot, and I don't know why this is said about Lucky Luke. OK, it;s not as fast-paced as its "prequels", but it doesn't hurt the game, as long as you're willing to, ofcourse! Gir's comment on the colission detection is right the charme I find in this game, and again this is no bad issue for a game like this.

End comments:
To sum it up, I think this is a damn good platform game for CD-i. It's shorter than the Apprentice, but it does make up for that offering a very diverse gameplay and a lot of fun. The pick-up-and-play thing is a little tricky, and don't get scared off immediately by the controls. As with a lot of game classics, this is one to get used to, and once you will, you'll discover a gem of a game. At the original retail price of only 30 dollars, what else do you want?

Graphics: 9
SPC stands my memory as one of CD-i's greatest producers. The very colourful anime art is typical to every game, and mixing this with the classic Lucky Luke license makes this the most unique Lucky Luke game on any platform, period.

Sound: 9
Again, this is a part where SPC shines. The soundtrack is heavily inspired by INXS and Sun Electric, creating a blend of electronic and disco music. Play it with a normal audio player and experience the sound: classic!

Playability: 7
To some, a little hit and miss situation. Because of the very clever response times the Apprentice was able to achieve, any downgrade is automatically seen as a con. However, it's a mix you have to make between graphics and gameplay. Lucky Luke takes it a little more to the graphics experience. This meant I was shocked to see this quality on CD-i, but it took a little on the control side to compensate ;)

Value: 7
Personally, I've played this game over and over again, and for me it's no less fun every next try. Ofcourse, after you've played all the levels, you'll want to return to find the secret levels, but there's no multiplayer or extras to keep you hooked any longer. The game is relatively short, and will leave you wanting more.

Overall: 8 (not an average)

Similar games on CD-i:
The Apprentice, Christmas Country, Pyramid Adventures

2 reacties:

Patrick,  January 28, 2007 at 6:01 PM  

Nice read, I am as well quite a fan of platforming games, and if I ever come across a Lucky Luke copy, I'm definately gonna buy it! Now, wasn't this based on the same engine as The Apprentice? That one is my personal favourite.

flamoon,  December 31, 2009 at 10:04 AM  

great platform game on CDI, great garphics and great music

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Games 0-F

3rd Degree - PF Magic
7th Guest, The - Philips Freeland Studios
Accelerator - SPC/Vision
Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle, The - Denshi Media Services
Affaire Morlov, L' - Titus
Alfapet - Adatek
Alice in Wonderland - Spinnaker
Alien Gate - SPC Vision
Alien Odyssee - Argonaut
Aliens Interactive CD-i - Dark Vision Interactive
Ange et le Demon, L' - Smart Move
Apprentice, The - SPC Vision
Apprentice 2, The - Marvin's Revenge - SPC Vision
Arcade Classics - Philips ADS / Namco
Asterix - Caesar’s Challenge - Infogrames
Atlantis - The Last Resort - PRL Redhill (Philips ADS)
Axis and Allies - CapDisc
Backgammon - CapDisc
Battle Chess - Accent Media (for Interplay)
Battleship - CapDisc
Big Bang Show - Infogrames
BMP Puzzle - Circle (for ZYX)
Brain Dead 13 - Readysoft
Burn:Cycle - Trip Media
Caesar's World of Boxing - Philips POV
Caesar's World of Gambling - CD-I Systems
Cartoon Academy - Bits Corporation
CD-i mit der Maus - SPC Vision
CD Shoot - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Change Angels Kick-off - HMO
Chaos Control - Infogrames
Christmas Country - Creative Media
Christmas Country - The Lost Levels - Creative Media
Christmas Crisis - DIMA
Clue - 3T Productions
Clue 2 - The mysteries continue - 3T Productions
Connect Four - CapDisc
Creature Shock - Argonaut (for Virgin)
Crime Patrol - CapDisc
Crow, The - Philips POV
Cyber Soldier Sharaku - Japan Interactive media
Dame was Loaded, The - Beam Software
Dark Castle - Philips POV
Dead End - Cryo
Defender of the Crown - Philips POV
Deja Vu - Icom Simulations
Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas - Icom Simulations
Demolition Man - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Demon Driver - Haiku Studios
Discworld - Teeny Weeny Games
Dimo's Quest - SPC Vision
Domino - Wigant Interactive Media
Down in the Dumps - Haiku Studios
Dragon's Lair - Superclub / INTL CDI
Dragon's Lair 2- Time Warp - Superclub / INTL CDI
Drug wars - Crime Patrol II - CapDisc
Dungeons & Dragons - PF Magic
Earth Command - Visionary Media
Effacer - CapDisc
Escape from Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Evidence - Microids
Falco & Donjon & The Sword of Inoxybur - BMi / Zephyr Studio
Family Games I - DIMA
Family Games II - Junk Food Jive - DIMA
Felix the Cat - Philips Sidewalk Studio
Flashback - Delphine/Tiertex (for US Gold)
Flinstones Wacky Inventions - Philips Funhouse
Fort Boyard: The Challenge - Microids
Frog Feast - Rastersoft

CD-i Games Index G-M

Go - CapDisc
Golden Oldies - SPC Vision
Golden Oldies II - SPC Vision
Golgo 13 - Japan Interactive Media
Great day at the races, A - CD-I Racing, Dove Films, Total Vision
Guignols de l'Info, Les - Canal+ Multimedia / INTL CDI
Heart of Darkness - Amazing Studio (for Virgin)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The - Philips Kaleidoscope
Holland Casino CD-i - HMO
Hotel Mario - Philips Fantasy Factory
Inca - Coktel Vision
Inca 2 - Coktel Vision
International Tennis Open - Infogrames
Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost - PF Magic
Jeopardy - Accent Media
Jigsaw - Novalogic
Joe Guard - DIMA
John Dark: Psychic Eye - CapDisc
Joker's Wild!, The - Accent Media
Joker's Wild Jr., The - Accent Media
Kether - Infogrames
Kingdom - The far reaches - CapDisc
Kingdom 2 - Shadoan - CapDisc
Labyrinth of Crete - Philips Funhouse
Laser Lords - Spinnaker
Last Bounty Hunter, The - CapDisc
Legend of the Fort - Microids
Lemmings - DMA Design / Psygnosis
Lettergreep - Wigant Interactive Media
Lingo - SPC Vision
Link - The faces of evil - Animation Magic
Lion King, The - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Litil Divil - Gremlin Graphics
Litil Divil 2: Limbo Years - Gremlin Graphics
Lords of the rising sun - Philips POV
Lost Eden - Cryo (for Virgin)
Lost Ride, The - Formula (Lost Boys)
Lucky Luke - The video game - SPC Vision
Mad Dog McCree - CapDisc
Mad Dog McCree II: The lost gold - CapDisc
Magic Eraser - Circle (for ZYX)
Mah-Jong - Japan Interactive Media
Making the Grade - 3T Productions
Man Before Man - Cryo
Marco Polo - Infogrames
Mario Takes America - CIGAM
Master Labyrinth - AVM AG/HQ
Mega Maze - CapDisc
Memory Works, The - Compact Disc Incorporated
Merlin's Apprentice - Philips Funhouse
Microcosm - Philips Freeland Studios
Micro Machines - Codemasters
Monty Python's Invasion from the Planet Skyron - Daedalus CD-i Productions
Mutant Rampage - Body Slam - Animation Magic
Myst - Sunsoft (for Cyan)
Mystic Midway - Rest in pieces - Philips POV
Mystic Midway 2 - Phantom Express - Philips POV

Compact Disc Interactive

Compact Disc Interactive

Games N-Z

Name that tune - Philips Fantasy Factory
New Day - Bits Corporation
NFL Hall of Fame Football - Philips POV
Othello - HMO
Pac Panic - Philips ADS / Namco
Palm Springs Open - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Pool - SPC Vision
Pinball - CapDisc
Plunderball - ISG Productions
Power Hitter - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Power Match - Two's Company
Pursue - BEPL
Pyramid Adventures - Compact Disc Incorporated
RAMRaid - PRL Redhill
Return To Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Riddle of the Maze, The - Fathom Pictures
Riqa - Bits Corporation
Rise of the Robots - Mirage Technologies
Sargon Chess - Spinnaker
Scotland Yard Interactive - AVM AG/HQ
Secret Mission - Microids
Secret Name of Ra, The
Shaolin's Road - Infogrames
Skate Dude - Viridis
Smurfen, De - De Telesmurf - Infogrames
Solar Crusade - Infogrames
Solitaire - BEPL
Space Ace - Superclub / INTL CDI
Space Ranger - Studio Interactive
Special Operations Squadron - SPC Vision
Sport Freaks - SPC Vision
Star Trek - Philips POV
Star Wars: Rebel Assault - LucasArts
Steel Machine - SPC Vision
Striker Pro - Rage
Strip Poker Live - Greenpig Production
Strip Poker Pro - Interactive Pictures
Super Fighter - The Super Fighter Team / C&E
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds - NovaLogic
Surf City - Philips Sidewalk Studios
Tangram - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Taco's Toyroom Troopers - Creative Media
Tankdoodle - Creative Media
Tetris - Philips POV
Tetsuo Gaiden - Creative Media
Text Tiles
Thieves' World - Electronic Arts
Tic-tac-toe - BEPL
Tox Runner - ISG Productions
Treasures of Oz - Philips Kaleidoscope
Ultra CD-i Soccer - Krisalis
Uncover featuring Tatjana - SPC Vision
Uninvited - Icom Simulations
Video Speedway - ISG Productions
Vinnie the Pinguin - Pandemonium Labs
Voyeur - Philips POV
Voyeur 2 - Philips POV
Whack-a-Bubble - Creative Media
What's it worth - Marshall Cavendish Multimedia / Spice
Who shot Johnny Rock? - CapDisc
Wordplay - BEPL
World Cup Golf - US Gold
Zaak Sam, De - Toneelschool NL
Zelda - The wand of Gamelon - Animation Magic
Zelda's Adventure - Viridis
Zenith - Radarsoft
Zombie Dinos From The Planet Zeltoid - Philips POV

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