Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure (2001, GameCube) by Kemco
Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure, a 2001 GameCube game by Kemco, is unlike any game I’ve ever played, let alone speedrun. This game is so unique and weird, and dare I say fun, despite some of the most terrible controls I’ve ever experienced. You play as one of 6 kids in a fictional representation of the Universal Studios park in Japan, which opened the year this game was released. You must gain points so you can experience the different attractions, which are E.T., the Wild, Wild, Wild West, Jurassic Park, Backdraft, Jaws, and Back to the Future. (No, I am not counting WaterWorld. It’s embarrassing. You literally just see a 3-second clip of a CGI plane landing in the water. They should’ve just made that “attraction” a menu feature lol).
The graphics look like N64 graphics, but the music in this is OUTSTANDING. Of course, it’s just the actual John Williams’ compositions, ripped directly from the movie soundtracks, but they still hit so freaking hard! The sound effects sound like they’re ripped from a Casio keyboard. And then there’s the layout of the levels, which have some awful, ATROCIOUS camera angles, making it hard to simply walk from A to B… especially with the controls.
Oh, the controls.
In some of the minigames, they’re not bad. In Back to the Future they’re serviceable, and in Jaws, they’re okay at best. In Wild, Wild, Wild West and Jurassic Park, they’re almost good, even. But in E.T., YOU TURN LEFT BY PRESSING UP, and you TURN RIGHT BY PRESSING DOWN. That wouldn’t be so bad except, to avoid falling, you have to press LEFT. And you cannot use the D-Pad, you have to use the Analog Stick, so your bike ends up going all over the place. In Backdraft, when the camera angle changes, your controls do not change with the new orientation until you stop moving, so you might walk onto a screen holding left and you’ll be going up, and when you let go of the stick you’ll have to press up to continue on. It’s so bad… so so bad.
That said, they are still fun minigames, and are almost as good as the games on the NES in some cases. I particularly like the Wild, Wild, Wild West game. It’s too bad that there’s no real speed tech to speak of; just go fast and don’t make mistakes, get some good RNG on Jaws, and you’ll be fast. That is still pretty fun, for what it’s worth, as long as your patience for this horrible-feeling control scheme doesn’t wear thin.
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