Garfield: Caught in the Act

At this point in the project, we’ve played so many mediocre platforming games starring well-known cartoon characters that as soon as we began playing Garfield, our first instinct was just to shrug, chalk it up as just one more average at best platformer, and try to think up a clever one-liner to dismiss it with on Wednesday.And we’d have been right to do so – Garfield: Caught in the Act is about as typical as platformers get.But we’ve said that about a lot of games throughout this project.What does that actually mean?

Garfield000

It means is that it’s one of those games where you go from left to right through stages where you have to jump over hazards and onto platforms of different heights, and dodge enemies, which you either jump on their heads to kill them or, in this case, throw crap at them.It’s kind of like Aladdin, except with a character that nobody between the ages of 5 and 60 actually likes.There were a TON of games like this that came out in the 8-bit and 16-bit days, and they were all fundamentally similar (to be fair, that happens for every kind of game – the thing that makes something a genre is the fact that all the games in that genre are fundamentally similar).Since its such a crowded market, each game needs to have a little “hook” – some unique aspect that makes it a little different from all the others.For some games, like Mario or Sonic, the hook is that they’re really well-designed and fun.For other games, there might be some kind of interesting gameplay twist, such as the ability to reach out and grab things in Ristar.For most licensed games, the hook is really just that they are based on popular movies or TV shows or whatever, which is why they are usually not as much fun as other games – being fun or well-made are secondary concerns.And in the case of Garfield, that’s a double whammy – the game’s only hook is that it stars Garfield and well, who really gives a shit?

So, beyond having Garfield in it, the rest of the game is pretty average and forgetable.If it were a football team, it would be the Atlanta Falcons.If it were a romantic comedy, it would be How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days.If it were a TV show, it would be Wings, and if it were a band, it would probably be The Goo Goo Dolls.Is Garfield: Caught in the Act a terrible game?No, but by this point we’ve knocked off most of the really horrible stuff (don’t worry – we’re saving a few for a rainy day).It’s time to separte out the good from the mediocre, and Garfield lands pretty solidly in the latter category.

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