Over the Hedge (handheld game)

Infobox VG
title = Over the Hedge


developer = Vicarious Visions
publisher = Activision
designer =
engine =
released = vgrelease|North America|NA|May 5, 2006
vgrelease|Europe|EU|July 22, 2006cite web|url=http://uk.ds.ign.com/articles/705/705380p1.html|title=IGN:Over the Hedge Review|author=Harris, Craig|publisher="IGN"|date=2006-05-05|accessdate=2007-10-14]
genre = Platformer, Stealth
modes = Single player, multiplayer
ratings = ESRB: 10+
OFLC: PG
PEGI: 3+
platforms = Nintendo DS
requirements =

"Over the Hedge" is a platform game with stealth game elements developed by Vicarious Visions and published by Activision for the Nintendo DS handheld video game console. It was first released in North America, and was later released in Europe. The game is set immediately after the events of the DreamWorks movie "Over the Hedge",cite web|url=http://uk.gamespot.com/ds/action/overthehedge/review.html?sid=6152315|title=Over the Hedge for DS Review|author=Provo, Frank|publisher="GameSpot"|date=2006-06-06|accessdate=2007-10-14] unlike the console versions which follow the events of the film. Vicarious Visions is responsible for many handheld versions of licensed video games. [cite web|url=http://www.modojo.com/features/20070504/227/interview_living_vicariously/|title=Interview: Living Vicariously|publisher="Modojo"|date=2007-05-04|accessdate=2007-10-23] Publisher Activision has a longstanding business relationship with animation studio DreamWorks and has exclusive global rights to publish games based on DreamWorks animated films. [cite web|url=http://uk.ps2.ign.com/articles/667/667709p1.html|title=Activision Extends DreamWorks Deal|author=Adams, David|publisher="IGN"|date=2005-11-16|accessdate=2007-12-09]

Gameplay involves guiding three playable woodland creatures through suburban houses to collect items and return them to their forest. House inhabitants and traps must be avoided or neutralized to succeed. The game's plot concerns Gladys Sharp's attempt to turn what's left of the animals' forest into a swimming pool; the animals try to prevent this by luring endangered species to the forest, making the forest a protected habitat.cite web|url=http://www.grrlgamer.com/review.php?g=overthehedgeds|title=Over the Hedge (DS)|author=Cardoso, Didi|publisher="Grrl Gamer"|accessdate=2007-12-09] "Over the Hedge" received positive and average reviews from the gaming press,cite web|url=http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/931662.asp|title=Over the Hedge - DS|publisher="Game Rankings"|accessdate=2007-10-14] cite web|url=http://www.gamestats.com/objects/802/802587/|title=Over the Hedge|publisher="GameStats"|accessdate=2007-10-14] as well as gaming website IGN's 'Best Game No One Played' award for 2006.cite web|url=http://bestof.ign.com/2006/ds/36.html|title=Best of 2006 - DS - Best Game No One Played|publisher="IGN"|accessdate=2007-10-14] The game was praised for the technical achievement of displaying full 3D on both of the Nintendo DS' screens,cite web|url=http://www.deeko.com/nintendo_ds/reviewdetail.asp?id=597|title=Over the Hedge Review|author=Sellers, Pete|publisher="Deeko"|date=2006-05-27|accessdate=2007-10-14] but some reviewers found the gameplay repetitive.

Gameplay

The game has been likened to both "Tomb Raider" and "Metal Gear Solid" due to the 3D platforming and stealth gameplay respectively. Players guide the forest inhabitants through 20 levels,cite web|url=http://cheatcc.com/ds/rev/overthehedgereview.html|title=Nintendo DS Review: Over the Hedge|author=Smith, Cole|publisher="Cheat Code Central"|date=2006-06-30|accessdate=2007-10-18] during which they must infiltrate a series of suburban homes in order to steal a variety of items and destroy construction materials. The items needed to lure endangered animals to the forest must be collected from houses and carried back to the forest one at a time. Each level requires several trips to be completed. Security systems must be avoided or deactivated in order to progress through each level. Household members and their pets must also be avoided, distracted or stunned by a thrown object. For example, a phone card can be used to make a prank call to lure a householder away, catnip can be used to distract cats.

Each character has their own unique abilities. Verne has the strength to push and carry large items and can retract into his shell in order to avoid detection, but cannot jump as high or run as fast as the other characters. RJ has average strength and agility. He can climb, lift items and also throw Verne. Hammy is the most agile of the three, running faster and jumping higher. This enables him to circumvent security more easily.cite web|url=http://ds.advancedmn.com/article.php?artid=3949|title=Over the Hedge|author=Smith, Stephen|publisher="DS Advanced"|date=2006-07-07|accessdate=2007-10-14]

"Over the Hedge" is presented in full 3D on both of the Nintendo DS' screens, which is not often seen in a Nintendo DS game. The upper screen displays the game in an over-the-shoulder third person perspective, whereas the touch screen shows an overhead perspective. The lower screen indicates the sight range of enemies and can be used as a touch screen to target enemies to attack. The console's microphone is used to attract the attention of dogs or to rouse the woodland creatures should they be knocked unconscious.cite web|url=http://nds.gamezone.com/gzreviews/r28663.htm|title=Over the Hedge Review - Nintendo DS|author=Bedigian, Louis|publisher="GameZone"|date=2006-05-22|accessdate=2007-10-14]

Multiplayer

A multiplayer mini-game is included and allows two players to compete via the DS' wireless connection, only one player needs an "Over the Hedge" game cartridge for two separate DS consoles to play. Stella the skunk is available in this game mode, alongside the three playable characters from the main game. Players navigate a maze to collect food before the timer runs out. The player with the most food wins the game. A maximum of five pieces of food can be carried at once, these must be carried to a collection area before more food can be picked up.

Plot

"Over the Hedge" is set immediately after the events of the animated film. Gladys Sharp, president of the homeowners' association, plans to bulldoze the forest in order to build a swimming pool. She has been joined by a new character, the taxidermist. The animals decide to lure endangered species to the forest in order to have it declared a protected habitat, preventing its destruction. The householders have been warned about RJ and company's intentions, and have created traps from everyday objects to repel the thieves.

Reception

The game received both positive and average reviews from the gaming press, with an average score of 73% from both Game Rankings and GameStats. "Over the Hedge" was awarded IGN's 'Best Game No One Played' award during their 2006 game of the year awards.

Several reviewers were impressed by the game's 3D graphics, considering the graphical limitations of the Nintendo DS. GameZone's Louis Bedigian commented "Three-dimensional worlds are such a rarity on the DS that you'll definitely take notice." In particular, the technical accomplishment of using the DS' two screens to show gameplay in two different angles and in full 3D was praised. Two members of Vicarious Vision's team held a seminar on the techniques used in "Over the Hedge" and other DS games in March 2007 during the Game Developers Conference 2007. [cite web|url=https://www.cmpevents.com/GD07/a.asp?option=C&V=11&SessID=3727|title=3D Tricks: Engineering Innovation on the Nintendo DS|publisher="gdconf.com"|accessdate=2007-10-17] [cite web|url=http://www.gamasutra.com/gdc2007/index.php?id=12972|title=GDC Preview: Managing Editor Jill Duffy’s Picks|author=Duffy, Jill|publisher="Gamasutra"|date=2007-03-05|accessdate=2007-10-17]

Critics are divided over the game's difficulty level and target audience. Some found the game too easy for adult players. Nintendo World Report's Lasse Pallesen stated "Over the Hedge" is not engaging to adults or children due to "the repetitive collect-a-thon nature of the game and the one-dimensional gameplay." GameZone's Louis Bedigian had similar reservations, "Players young and old will be turned off by the lack of excitement." Other reviewers felt the game was suitable for children and adults. Cheat Code Central's Cole Smith stated "It's not just for kids. It's loaded with variety and will engage your mind, not just your reflexes." "Deeko"'s Pete Sellers found the game "a well designed adventure that requires patience and planning."

Some reviewers found the gameplay, focused mainly on collecting and returning objects, as repetitive. In his GameSpot review, Frank Provo stated "Games geared toward younger players are typically repetitive, but Over the Hedge for the Nintendo DS sets a new standard for repetition." He lists one of the negative aspects of the game as "Whole game feels like housecleaning or a real estate tour." GameZone's Loius Bedigian also found the game repetitive, saying "..the game stays far away from anything deep, opting for a simplistic series of missions that redefine the meaning of the word rehash."

References

External links

* [http://www.overthehedgegame.com/ Official website]


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