Looking back, I was a big fan of animation- and comic-based video games as a young gamer. When you're ten years old and shown the big wall of video games at the video store, you usually go for what's been advertised on tv, or what you recognize from Saturday morning cartoons. If you had suggested anything to me that was obscure or new, I'd have given you a funny look.
Despite these childish preferences and requirements, I found a lot of joy in games like Chip N' Dale Rescue Rangers, Ducktales, Sonic the Hedgehog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles...and I can't forget Tiny Toon Adventures' infamous Cartoon Workshop which I spent hundred of hours glued to. Why? When you're relatively new to video games, you want something that is easy to understand and not too difficult to complete, yet provides enough of challenge to make you think. These games keep you coming back for more, and eventually you have the potential to seek better things and become a gamer (though not true for everybody).
Garfield and His Nine Lives is one of these games. With the recent releases of the two live-action movies and the already well established daily comic strip in newspapers, a Garfield video game is an obvious choice for younger gamers and fans of the orange fat cat.
The player guides Garfield through each of his nine lives, which are different worlds where Garfield lives out his dreams and nightmares. Each world has a simple goal. It might be to find a certain character, locate a hidden key to get out of a building, or to fight a boss. Along the way, Garfield collects different snack foods scattered throughout each level, and locates pans of lasagna to regain health. To complete the game 100%, players will also have to locate the hidden Pooky (Garfield's teddy bear) and collect all 100 snacks in each level. Of course, there are many different obstacles to prevent Garfield from progressing, so he'll have to kick, shove, and belly-flop to prevent himself from losing a life.
Garfield offers a little challenge. Many of the snacks to collect are hidden throughout the level, so exploring and a little sleuthing will expose these areas to the player. The bosses require a little bit of thinking to discover their attack patterns and weak spots. This may take an inexperienced gamer a while to complete, but for me, I was able to give it a complete run-through in a couple hours...even on it's hardest difficulty setting.
The graphics are cute and well done, and for a GBA game the music was fun and fitting for each level. The enemy characters don't look out of place in the Garfield universe, which I've noticed isn't common in tv and movie based games. Garfield and His Nine Lives can also be played in Spanish and French on the same cartridge, which is both great yet unnecessary for as little text as the game contains.
Hardcore gamers, don't bother with this one. If you're that curious, give it a rental for a night. If you're a Garfield lover or looking for a title to give to a younger gamer, then Garfield and His Nine Lives might just be a winner.