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Barbie Pet Rescue (Game Boy Color) artwork

Barbie Pet Rescue (Game Boy Color) review


"It is rare that I find a game so utterly soul-destroying that I start deliberating the passing of time, but those ninety minutes I spent completing this lackadaisical creation are minutes that I will never live through again. In a way, we're all dying, as every passing moment brings us closer to death. The one inevitability in life is that we will all die, and it's for that reason that every moment is precious. Life is what you make of it, whether you live it, or waste it. When I played t..."



It is rare that I find a game so utterly soul-destroying that I start deliberating the passing of time, but those ninety minutes I spent completing this lackadaisical creation are minutes that I will never live through again. In a way, we're all dying, as every passing moment brings us closer to death. The one inevitability in life is that we will all die, and it's for that reason that every moment is precious. Life is what you make of it, whether you live it, or waste it. When I played this game, that was time wasted. A part of me has therefore died forever, and it's all because of Barbie: Pet Rescue.

Due to some stormy weather and flash flooding, various animals have inexplicably become separated from their parents, and now it is up to Barbie and her Pet Rescue Centre Extraordinnaire to reunite the baby animals with their mothers. This is achieved through answering the office phone to find out where the poor critters are, and then going out in one of Barbie's various pink vehicles to find each baby in turn. Once rescued, animals must be cared for and returned to full health and happiness, by making full use of the medical facilities and playroom. Once inside this playroom, mini-games feature prominently - and the relevant option selected to return the animal to full happiness by playing various mini-games. Once rescued, cared for and successfully returned to its mother, each animal gives the player a certificate and the game is completed when all certificates have been collected.

Controls within the office and rooms of the Rescue Centre are via a system of selecting the relevant option on the menu, and success is assured through default as nothing actually goes against the player if an inappropriate option is chosen, thus removing all concept of challenge from this portion of the game. However, a difficulty level of sorts is achieved when it comes to rescuing the animals in the first place. Possibly due to the storms, the streets and rivers of the town are scattered with a handful of obstacles, and the vehicles must be steered to avoid collision. Three chances are provided in each instance to get through the course in order to reach the animal. If all three chances are missed, then Barbie is returned to the rescue centre and must start again. The variety of obstacles that appear is small though and avoiding them is very easy - plenty of warning is given through the appearance of a warning triangle at the bottom of the screen in advance of approaching one such jump, and Barbie's jeep can jump a bafflingly long distance. The screen scrolls so slowly for these mini-levels that it is almost impossible to miss a jump and there is rarely more than one obstacle on screen at a time. Indeed, the entire lack of challenge is what really lets the game down - there is no addictive quality to a game that can be beaten easily by pretty much anyone straight away, and these driving levels are ridiculously repetitive due to the lack of variety provided here.

Once an animal is rescued through successful completion of another mini-game, which generally consists of walking across the screen or taking a photo of the animal (again, these being ludicrously easy and very short), the animal must be returned to the rescue centre where it is cared for. Despite the obstacles faced in reaching the location you'll be in, you'll find that you mysteriously just appear back in the office. Once there, you need to check on the animal and find out what's wrong with it, and this will consist of feeding it by pressing a button and then once again, playing more mini-games. These games are also easy and repetitive, as so few have been included. Again, they are very very simple and lacking any form of challenge whatsoever - this is particularly true of the maze-type puzzle which seems to have no dead-ends and provides an extremely long time limit to complete it in. All paths of the maze lead to the exact same location which is where you need to go, and this seems to go against the definition of the word, "maze"! I understand that this game is aimed at small children but considering that I was a considerately better gamer as a six-year-old than I am now, I do not comprehend what kind of patronising nonsense could be going through someone's head as to think that a six-year-old target demographic could possibly find any kind of difficulty in a maze that has no dead-ends whatsoever.

Barbie is now orange. I'm not sure how this happened, but it did. Given the fact that Barbie appears to have had some kind of accident with fake tan immediately prior to making this game, then you'd have thought that the developers and her entourage would have teamed up to make the impact more subtle, but instead they chose to make the majority of the game's backgrounds bright pink which is probably the least flattering colour one can use if one has had some kind of mishap with the Tango Man, and thus the entire game looks as though someone has vomited all over the screen. As far as I am aware, the GameBoy Colour is capable of producing hues in a variety of forms beyond the magenta and the orange, so really this just smacks of laziness and / or an unfair interpretation of the desires of the target demographic which is mightily disappointing. Once again the spectres of outdated stereotypes have prevented the makers of this game from finding out that actually, girls do NOT like pink to feature in everything they do. This could have been ascertained all too easily if only they had bothered to ask, hence the apparent laziness.

The music is disgustingly trite and bland. "Xylophone Tunes Of The Senile" appears to have been the soundtrack of choice here, and boy is it obvious if you succumb to turning the volume to an audible level. In fact, it's so loud that a faint whisper of sound can be heard even if the volume is pushed all the way down, which makes this game almost impossible to play in public (should the need arise) without annoying everyone you come across. In place of sound effects, there is a slight change in music if you achieve something such as completing a section or successfully returning the animal to its home, but this is so subtle as to be barely distinguishable from the rest of the revoltingly dull soundtrack, rendering it irrelevant. Driving levels are completely devoid of any sound effects whatsoever beyond the music.

This is not a fun game. It is not worth playing it, and it is not worth buying it. In conclusion, I am confused as to how it could exist and sickened with myself for having actually completed it. Really, just don't bother.

Rating: 1/10

lisanne's avatar
Community review by lisanne (August 22, 2007)

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