Attack of the Movies 3D
It was only a matter of time. Third party developers are now capable of creating stereoscopic 3D visuals for consoles and that gimmick was apparently just enough to slide right by Microsoft’s quality control standards and onto store shelves, in the case of Attack of the Movies 3D. An on-rails shooter with the clear intention of utilizing the Wii Remote, the game simply falls apart on an Xbox 360 controller due to unfortunate design choices. Developed on a miniscule budget by Panic Button Games, this attempt at cashing in on the 3D trend in gaming comes at an odd time where gamers have yet to experience a good gaming equivalent of a standard-setting 3D film (I.E. Avatar and Toy Story 3).
Perhaps the idea of creating an on-rails shooter with some low-end 3D technology wasn’t the worst idea. It’s a good enough pitch; unlike many seemingly more formidable action-packed games, you’d think an on-rails shooter would make a pretty good fit for the 3D effects, with the number of possible scenarios being limited to a couple diverging paths per level. It seems like a given that the game would work out fine, with six typical Hollywood sets dressed up as stages for the action and a decent assortment of B- movie baddies trudging their way toward the screen until they escape from the television and start swinging their moderatly protruding limbs in your direction.
However, developer Panic Button Games basically had two options: either waste their entire budget going for something authentic or simply use placeholders for popular films. Reasonably opting for the second choice, the game unravels at a local city-center overrun by enormous killer insects. Spanning a battle in outer space, an underwater voyage, an Indiana Jones-style Temple level and an end-of-the-world scenario highlighting the uprising of robots, the game wraps in a graveyard, where all manner of sparsely detailed undead await. It’s too bad there’s no character-building, meaningful dialogue, storyline, or tangible depth behind the game, because it has a moderately decent early outline of a product that should be much better.
Attack of the Movies 3D requires angled-movements of the control stick, which snap back to center once you’ve let off. Without any options to turn it off, this convoluted control option is my biggest point of contention with the title, and put everyone I played the local multiplayer with off from ever trying the game again. That and the part where they couldn’t tell if the 3D was working. It had been working but the effect is just as cheap and old-school as the cinematic blockbusters that inform each stage.
Littered about each location are icons for ammunition, rapid-fire, health, and a high-powered assault rifle which puts your beginning pistol to shame. It’s all pretty standard stuff. It’s unsurprising Attack of the Movies 3D doesn’t change it’s mind with a massive weapon cache anytime through the game. Apart from tasking challenges ranging from blowing up every underwater mine or hitting all the glass bottles in the graveyard for achievements, there’s really no reason to replay this game in any capacity. It barely scrapes by handling the bare minimum of what we’ve come to expect from an on-rails shooter.
Tragically Attack of the Movies 3D features some of the neatest box art found in this generation’s lineup. The creatures shown can be viewed in all their glory without having to use one of the four horrible looking glasses packaged in with the game. This is a convincing argument in favor of 2D gaming and keeping on-rails shooting games off of systems without readily available peripherals. Better yet, let’s just leave the on-rails style in the ’90s where it belongs. It’s been a nice ride, but we need to start moving on.