Written by  :  Guy Chapman (2002)
Written on  :  Aug 30, 2010
Platform  :  Xbox 360
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Summary

A Love Letter (Brawler) To Video Games.

The Good

Scott Pilgrim was a surprise to me. After watching the movie and getting a feel for what the character and world was about, I knew that there were a lot of video game references in the movie, but how would that translate to a game?

From the second it powered on, I knew this game was special. It gave me tingles the way the old arcade titles used to back when playing in an arcade actually meant something.

Will you like this game? If you were a fan of:
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Golden Axe
  • Streets of Rage
  • Double Dragon
  • River City Ransom
  • Castle Crashers
Or enjoy references to games like:
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Mega Man
  • Street Fighter II
  • Pac-Man
  • Guitar Hero
  • Legend of Zelda
  • Castlevania
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Final Fantasy
Chances are you're going to find some reference that will make you smile.

It is a straight old-school brawler against a wave of endless, nameless enemies. The game plays like a trope of every big name brawler out there, but instead of feeling rehashed and "been there, done that", it's all a loving homage. Sure, you've done some of the scenarios, but not all in the same game at once. It's fun to go it alone. It's crazy to go 4 players at once.

The music? I don't remember a lot of "modern" gaming music. Not in the sense like a NES or Genesis classic. I've been humming the music all week. It's catchy, infectious chiptune music that only complements the action further.

Other high points are the wonderful and well animated 16-Bit style graphics complemented by an excellent control scheme. The game keeps you busy with numerous moves, special techniques and special character assists.

The game even has codes that you can input with your controller. Not DLC downloaded features, but honest to goodness look it up on the internet or in a magazine.

The Bad

If there's anything that it perhaps TOO old-school is the lack of online co-op. It's a little frustrating to know that I could be playing this game with friends in other regions, but I can't. The game can recreate the classic gaming days, but it can't recreate my friends stopping by after school before the parents make dinner and I have to do homework.

An online patch would work wonders.

The Bottom Line

A few years back, Ubisoft published an excellent TMNT brawler for the Game Boy Advance that was probably the most authentic in recreating that classic beat-em-up feel I've played since Castle Crashers. And now we have Scott Pilgrim, a game that unabashedly revels in the glory of the arcade brawler. Everything is perfect. From the attract screen to secret areas, cheat codes to crazy 64+ hit combos.

Even if you didn't know who Scott Pilgrim was, the references would hit home to any old-school gamer. If you know the character, they do a spot-on job in telling his story to win the heart of Ramona Flowers.

I grinned like a fool all the way through the game from beginning to end. I went back and completed it with friends. And I'll play it some more because the levels are fun, and the music is fantastic and utterly toe tapping.

I've made comments in other reviews about downloadable games like Penny Arcade and Strong Bad in that these games capture the very essence and love of what it is to be a video game. Scott Pilgrim stands firmly in those ranks. It's a love letter to gaming. The people that created their game knew their stuff, and the end result is something special, once again reminding me why I love this hobby so much.

An exceptional title, and ridiculously fun.