Oldies But Goldies: The Pagemaster

A "good" licensed game?

A game licensed from the kids movie Pagemaster starring Macaulay Culkin, the movie itself was a typical 90's kids movie. It was pleasant, colorful, had strong voice actors for the time, and I at least remember having a good time watching it. That said, licensed video games were known to be sub par, even back then.

The Pagemaster game on the other hand, is a game obviously licensed from the movie, that featured colorful graphics, showcasing the superior graphics the Sega Genesis could sport back then, in a typical action platformer. Is it any good though? or does it go down the drain along the rest of the horrible licensed games?

Visuals

Lets start with the obvious, the visuals. All in all I will have to say that the game is not half bad. Smooth animations, great graphics and good enemy design, this is clearly the strong suit of the game. The camera does its best to follow your movement, and although at times it feels that it could benefit from being a bit further back so you can avoid those usual cheap deaths, it is not that bad.

One thing I liked in particular is the way they have perfectly captured the feel of each world, being properly spooky in the Horror sector and vibrant and colorful in the fantasy. All in all, I will say that in the visual department, it is proper oldie goodness.

Sound Design

Aaand here we have the first cracks. I wont sugarcoat it guys, I am not a fan of the sound design of this game. The music is MEH, at best, irritating and grinding at its worst. I do not think I heard a single note from the movie, and the sound effects are what you would expect. I would mute this one and be done with the nonsense.

Gameplay

As far as action platformers go, this is not a bad one! Your task is to essentially go from start to finish in a level and survive the various opponents in between. In the process you will have your usual collectibles, which can give you a live in regular intervals of I think 100, and power ups, that also act as extra "hit points".

One thing I loved, is that the powerups are themed after the specific overworld. So for example, the weapon powerup in Horror is a bag that allows you to throw eyeballs at your enemies, while in the adventure overworld its a sword etc.

What I did not like however, is the floaty nature of the jumps, and the camera often hides dangers that you -should- know, which results into some cheap deaths every now and then. Today that would be unacceptable, but considering how -PLENTY- of games did it back then, I will give this one a pass.

Final Thoughts

Solid gameplay, good graphics, and shitty music, I will say that all in all, this is not only a good licensed game, but a good platformer as well! As a kid I remember playing this game time and time again, and I would recommend this to any and all Retro gamers out there, especially if, like me, you are more of a Sega Genesis kid than a Nintendo kid.

Share this