|System: PS3, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Wideload||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Gamecock Media Group||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 2, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
The recent heated race for the Democratic Presidential nomination seems to have put politics on the forefront of many gamers minds. Historically, video games and politics havent mixed well, with the pastime becoming the favorite scapegoat of many politicians.
As with virtually every other form of media that has come before it, video games found themselves in a struggle to avoid censorship and to enlighten the masses of their true potential. With all the abuse video games have taken from politicians over the years, Gamecocks latest release instantly brings the phrase turnabout is fair play to mind. Hail to the Chimp seemingly strikes back against these numerous injustices by making a mockery of the presidential election process. This game is completely overflowing with political satire, which is displayed in everything from its over-the-top characters to its ridiculous mini-games objectives. While the quality of the included jokes and puns can vary greatly, the majority are actually quite amusing. Even the menu screen attempts to keep you laughing, with the CNN-spoofing GRR news program constantly providing you with comical commercials and news segments.
Unfortunately, once you get past this satirical comedy, what you are left with isnt all that appealing. Hail to the Chimp is a limited compilation of mini-games that are all loosely based on different aspects of getting votes. These mini-games will have you doing everything from winning favor by smearing your competitors with negative headlines to collecting campaign funds from fat cats (literally). While there are over a dozen different mini-games to choose from, eventually the painful realization sets in that they are all essentially the same.
Apparently, in the world of Hail to the Chimp, clams somehow play a major role in choosing a president. Although each mini-games gives you a slightly different reason for doing so, collecting clams will be your main objective in every outing. These clams are the ultimate currency in this game, being used for everything including stuffing ballot boxes, purchasing campaign contributions, and even as your health. Any time you run out of clams your character becomes incredibly fragile, only requiring one hit to kill. Thankfully, clams arent very difficult to come by and will continue to appear throughout matches; even if there are no clams to be found on the ground, players can always find more by beating them out of their opponents.
Sadly, the actual mechanics involved in playing this game are just as limited as its objectives. Players are only able to move, jump, attack, interact with a few objects, and team up with an opponent. Attacks are incredibly basic and become increasingly more difficult to time properly. Early in the game you will have no problems beating your enemies senseless, but later on it seems as though your foes attacks always land first. This becomes immensely frustrating very quickly, since there is really no way to avoid combat. Object interaction is also fairly limited and is usually just a means to exchange your collected clams towards your current objective.
Teaming up with enemies can sometimes prove to be tricky but is often rather helpful. Players will need to press a button to declare they are interested in teaming up and then get within close proximity of another player. That player can then either accept your invitation or simply just attack you for trying. There are a few different versions of team attacks, but instead of being able to choose the one that would best suit your current situation, the game will just randomly choose one for you. However, the benefits of team attacks far outweigh these issues, as they are virtually unstoppable once initiated and can quickly turn the tide of almost any game.