In August 1991, a Nickelodeon show first aired on American TV screens called Rugrats, an original animated show about the misadventures of babies in their point-of-view…oh! and they could talk…and the parents didn’t understand them despite speaking perfect English. But just like the original Star Trek series it wasn’t popular until they re-ran it and so it got a huge legacy for itself, the show was revived, it got three movies, merchandise and even games.
I did used to watch the show and I liked watching it as a child, heck I watched all three of the films, I don’t know but I found the idea of talking babies quite charming and at times could be relatable, you could understand their opinions and thoughts about the world around them and I think that’s why the show worked, it’s a shame though that Nickelodeon has gone downhill.
Anyway, there was a game I grew up playing, Rugrats: Search for Reptar, developed by n-Space and published by THQ (Moment of Silence) and was released in 1998. Tommy Pickles, the main character, is playing with his Reptar doll (their version of Godzilla for any child who still watches SpongeBob Squarepants), he decides to play with the Reptar puzzles but the pieces are missing and he cries and his parents don’t give a crap so he and his friends decide to find them themselves. You play as Tommy in the hub, which consists of the Pickles home, which is so cool to play as Tommy in a well-known scenario from the show.
You go around the hub and find special items in the home, and these items will enable you to enter levels, 14 of them to be precise. These levels are based on actual episodes from the show and I loved playing levels from different scenarios, though some levels have been altered from the show because video games.
Luckily you can play these levels in any order as the levels have different difficulties. You can play any of the easier levels first to unlock the harder levels, Examples of what levels you do is one where Tommy has to race against Angelica (anything bad you can describe this child, she is) to retrieve the cookie jar, there’s one where Chuckie has to play hide and seek without his glasses and a level which consist of the kids playing golf.
The easy levels are pretty good, but the ones that have the higher difficulty are the ones that are better and more enjoyable, which is a first for me. Maybe because they give out a good challenge, who knows I just like those better (or maybe because I’m 19. Go figure). Once you complete some levels you sometimes get a bonus game, one is where, after you complete Chuckie’s Glasses, Angelica wants more cookies even after the fact that she got sick eating too much, the kids tell her no, but wants them anyway because that’s Angelica, so you have to pass them to your friends and make sure they eat them whilst avoiding Angelica.
Another bonus level is pretty much the same except instead of cookies its chocolate milk, that’s just so lazy. But then there’s a bonus level that’s not lazy, Mirrorland, which Tommy has to pop boxes and collect balloons, the twist being that the house is upside down, rarely does any 3D game have a level that consists of an environment that’s upside-down and it’s so much fun.
The graphics are pretty good for the time and for looking as authentic as the show but looks dated by comparison, and the controls are very clunky and stiff, especially with a directional pad (I really don’t know how I coped with that as a child), I used an analog stick to control the kids, but at times then I want to go forward they go backwards and I have to wiggle the controls to get them to go where I want them to, this is very annoying and I wished they took the time to tweak the controls, I know it’s the PlayStation and the fact that it’s a licensed game but hey, at least it’s not tank controls.
The best part of the game is the ending, or the final level to be precise, once you collect all the pieces, you celebrate with your friends and Tommy’s parents put Tommy and his friends to bed, but Tommy has a dream in which we enter the final level, Reptar 2010 in which you play as Raptor destroying buildings to get to the city hall, this is a very fun way to end a game, and what does Raptor do when he gets to city hall, dances with a top hat and a stick. Random! What a great way to end a game, though I wish it was longer, it’s like a 3D Rampage.
Overall, as a TV licensed game, it’s not that bad, the levels are memorable and walking around a house you saw in the cartoon is fantastic. The presentation looks like it was imported from the cartoon so it emulates well into the game even if it’s on a PlayStation, moving your character isn’t great but I had a fun time playing it nonetheless, it’s just that it doesn’t have that lasting appeal and you can beat it in under an hour if you’re not 6 years old.
Would I recommend to kids ? In this day and age, unless your child is a huge fan of NickToons as they probably seen some of the episodes, probably not, they’ll probably get annoyed with the controls, but it would be nice to show your child the game you grew up playing and watching the show, I mostly played for nostalgia, I beat the game ages ago and I beat it once again now. If you grew up with this game, or the show, I recommend you take a look, but you will have to mind the clunky controls and PlayStation graphics.
You can get it only on the PlayStation.