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Bratz (Game Boy Advance) artwork

Bratz (Game Boy Advance) review


"You see a woman. Her platform shoes are bigger than her head. Her waist –perfectly visible thanks to clothes so small that they’re barely there- is inhumanly thin, to the point where it seems impossible that it could hold a person’s innards inside. Her lips show evident signs of having been stung by a particularly ferocious bee, and are painted with buckets of lipgloss that contribute to give them a stronger inflatable plastic look. Above those lips, two humid eyes inattentively look back at you..."



You see a woman. Her platform shoes are bigger than her head. Her waist –perfectly visible thanks to clothes so small that they’re barely there- is inhumanly thin, to the point where it seems impossible that it could hold a person’s innards inside. Her lips show evident signs of having been stung by a particularly ferocious bee, and are painted with buckets of lipgloss that contribute to give them a stronger inflatable plastic look. Above those lips, two humid eyes inattentively look back at you through a forest of giant fake eyelashes. The lack of visible eyebrows and the absolute, shiny smoothness of the skin around the eyes contribute to make this empty, abulic stare remind you that of a fish; as if those expressionless eyes were looking through and behind you. All around this once human face is a true jungle of big hair, so mistreated by chemicals and aggressive treatments that you can no longer tell whether it’s already a wig, or it still has one more year to go.

You see that woman, and what do you think she does for a living? Give it a thought while you read these lines, and answer honestly. Do you instantly think “Oh, she must be a successful lawyer”? Does it sound like a journalist to you? No, you know she’s an actress of a very particular genre of action movies. Or, if she’s leaning against a lamp-post in the corner of a marginal street, something slightly different. Or Melanie Griffith.

But no, we forgot another possibility! She could also be one of the Bratz girls, the dolls that want to replace Barbie as the ideal of a perfect woman. Thanks to these dolls and their army of spinoff retail products (which now also include a movie), now your kids can play with this very particular kind of women in their own home or with their friends. Truly the dream of any parent or tutor come true.

Of course, the game’s concept has the same level of depth of the women in them. The Bratz want to become stars of the dancefloor, and as we all know the way to stardom begins in filthy parking lots, some hairdresser’s office or the back of a shoe-shop. However, should they manage to impress their audience by dancing statically and not breaking a joint in the process, the Bratz are guaranteed to find absolute success and get to dance in a nightclub. Barbie and her puny doctor uniform never reached this level of ambition.

In order to achieve this, we have to go through the already classic tests of pressing certain buttons at certain times, as indicated by the screen. Depending on the precise moment you press the button, it might be rated as “Missed” if you failed to press it entirely, “Good” if you press it more or less when you were supposed to, or “Perfect” if you do it in really good synchronization. Additionally, in the middle of each dance session there are short periods (referred to as “Freestyle”) in which you must press the buttons randomly as you see fit. By doing all this, you get a variable amount of points.

That’s it, I already described all there is to describe about this game’s gameplay. Seriously. I imagine the Bratz girls might have a relatively hard time coordinating their occasional spasms of consciousness to play successfully, but I don’t think any kid would find this challenging. Once you get enough points to advance a level, the background image changes (ooooh, I’m in front of the mall!!) and everything starts anew. Eventually you complete the game, and start all over again with a different girl. Who doesn’t look very different to the one you were using and makes no difference whatsoever when playing... and you’re done, you’ve mastered the game.

So we’re left with an extraordinarily shallow game based in extraordinarily shallow dolls, which should be kept as far as humanly possible from kids. The fun would only last five minutes –approximately two levels, but what about the concept that women exist solely to look pretty and dance in clubs? Is that the way to counter Barbie’s 1950s housewife life?

Characters in “manly games” may be described according to the weapon they carry, but a “girly game” in which a character is described as totally retro-cool Bohemian style (sic) should not be the only alternative. Be sure to avoid this shameless attempt at a game that threatens with choking the player in its disgustingly obvious shallowness.

Rating: 2/10

MartinG's avatar
Community review by MartinG (August 30, 2007)

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