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Wednesday 29/03/2017: Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink

December 2, 2013

Garfield: The Search For Pooky (Part 2)

Part 1 can be read here.

Hello, and welcome back to this review of Garfield: The Search For Pooky! Guess what? The torture continues with the second half. So far, we've had a few scenes of Garfield searching for Pooky... and many scenes where he completely forgets his goal. You know, Garfield... if you want to save your teddy bear, maybe you should at least give a damn.

This Monday, I share your pain, Garfield. Can't
tell about the next Mondays, but... Just for
this one, it's a certainty. I hate it.

When we left off last Friday, Garfield had been brought to the farm by Jon, who had no idea Garfield was on a quest to retrieve his prized possession. And now, Garfield wants to go back home. What is a grumpy cat to do when he wants to get his point across? Well, wreak havoc around, of course! Garfield's plan is to destroy as many pieces of furniture as possible in the house, to annoy granny and make her toss him out. And for damn sure you're gonna do that! By the way, this level has the biggest offender in comic drawings turned into sprites: Garfield is here pretty much as tall as Jon's mom. She patrols the rooms, spying on Garfield while he's trying to destroy armchairs. And he's almost as tall as she is! What the Hell! However, the level is simple: Just stay on the ground and claw at the armchairs you see. Easy breezy. Do that in all three parts of the level, reach the end, and you've completed this level! Jon eventually grabs Garfield and puts him outside.

AAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!
However, Jon isn't done yet at mommy's house. No, his father now asks him to retrieve the chickens scattered around the place and put them in a cage. Garfield will be more than happy to help with this! After all, the faster this is done, the faster Garfield can go home. This is another fetch quest, in which you must catch chickens only one at a time and bring them to the cage. Kind of like the mice fetch quest, but more annoying. Why? Because there's way too many chickens in each part of this level. It's probably the longest one in the whole game. Oh yeah, did I mention that Garfield dies if he falls down? The place has only endless pits on the ground! By the way, there's like 7 chicken on each part of this level. DAMMIT! It took me almost five minutes getting them all in ONE part! This is way too long! God, I HATE this god damn level. Most of this game's problems can be seen in this one level. Sloppy programming, tricky areas, bad level design (with pits that are just large enough for Garfield to barely make it to the other side when he jumps), overly-long levels... I apologize in advance, I know it's a rude word, but I just have to let it out, just try not to mind this word, but... No, I can't say it yet. So... Ostie de tabarnak de câlisse! God freaking dammit! Goddamn tabarnak!

...wow. Er... I'll use a cheat code to skip that level. I don't do that often, but it took me an hour to try and finish this level, and that's because I had three Game Overs through it.

Anyway, once you've beaten this horrible, horrible level, Jon finally drives back home. You know what that means... More street mischief! If you remember the first part of this review, you know the deal: Clones of Liz are on the sidewalk with gifts in their hands. You must grab the food, but avoid those that hide bombs or friggin' energy balls that make Garfield even more hungry. Normally, I'd complain, but after the past level, I'm just glad we're away from the damn farm. After stealing all this food, Garfield decides to leave the ride. He ends up in the alleys he visited some hours ago.

Jump, shake that grease!
When Garfield sees the remaining distance leading home, he realizes he'll need a lot of food. Why the Hell couldn't he just stay with Jon in the car??? Now that I think of it, the story in this game is really a huge mess. Everything gets in the way of Garfield's quest – even Garfield himself – and way too many moments make no sense... Garfield still tries to make his way through the dangerous alleys. And here comes a problem I already mentioned, but I think it's worth mentioning again: When Garfield jumps, there is sometimes no way to see the platforms below. As a result, in some cases you're unwillingly jumping in an endless pit... because you couldn't see the platform and readjust your fall in time! That's tied in with the problem I mentioned before: Sometimes the gaps are just wide enough for Garfield to reach the other side when he jumps. You know, even Mario had only a few pits he had problems crossing... Garfield has DOZENS! Freaking DOZENS! It really sucks. Well, Garfield still makes it to the other side of the neighborhood and shares a meal with Eddie. WHAT? But that's not all; a piano falls on Eddie. Re-WHAT?

Yay, victory! Enjoy it while it lasts... 
Well, at least Garfield is back near his own house. Jon tries to hit on the pretty neighbor Lisa, so Garfield has to stay in the garden. He decides to keep searching for Pooky, although he doesn't know where to look. Garfield thinks, “It can take a long time for Jon to get date”. Um, poor sentence structure much? Whatever, we got a garden to explore. He must open gates by giving bones to dogs and find his way out. The first two parts of the level are simple enough, being regular levels. However, a few bones are scattered around the third part of the level. You have to give them to dogs once you see them. Seems simple enough. However, the god damn endless pits combined with the inability of seeing where exactly they are make this level yet another one that will get you cursing all the way through. Dammit!

Eventually, Garfield gets home. The night is approaching now, so Garfield has to rush to find his teddy bear... Where the Hell could it be? Garfield finally gets the information he needed. Where's Pooky? The mafiosi mouse who stole it has set up his base... in the attic in Jon's house. Where Garfield lives.

You gotta be freaking kidding me.

All this search for Pooky, all these levels that went nowhere, this whole game... all this was just a Shaggy Dog story? Garfield's teddy bear was in his house all along? Garfield crossed the neighborhood, he faced the dangers of the city, he stormed a shopping mall, he endangered car drivers, he ripped apart armchairs, he collected chickens in an infuriatingly painful and long level, he did more stuff... AND ALL THIS WAS FREAKING POINTLESS? Screw you, game! Screw you in every possible way!

So, Garfield is now in his attic. And for some reason, when he falls off the wooden crates, he falls in endless pits. Remember that he's in his house's attic. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? That's not all. The level also has lots of spiders, and Garfield uses an attack he never used in any other level: Smashing things with journals. He never did that before, and I can see why. This is his most impractical attack in the whole game. Often he'll switch to kicking, but it's only after he's smashed a few times with a journal. This is probably a programming glitch. One in a long list... Oh, but that's not all... Some platforms are hidden behind pipes, just well enough for you to not see them. And there are electric thingies blasting electricity once in a while, and Garfield can get electrocuted. Not to mention the ever-present problem with being able to see where you're going when you're falling. Put all this together and you get another level that I'd describe best as a swearing magnet. Eventually, the boss is reached... and it turns out to be a big mouse with cool glasses.
 
 

No, not that one. God, I wish. This last boss is pretty nasty, and it's almost as big as Garfield. Also, Garfield only has his lame attacks to use against it, while it is equipped with... a briefcase. Look out, a briefcase! It can still be defeated... relatively easily. Just wish you didn't waste all your lives in the horribly designed levels of the attic...

Once the mouse is defeated, it finally hands Pooky back. What happens after? Garfield goes to sleep with his teddy bear, and it ends on this cute little note.

BULLSHIT! THIS GAME SUCKS! IT SUCKS, IT STINKS, IT'S AWFUL, IT'S CRAPPY, IT IS AN INSULT TO GARFIELD FAR, FAR GREATER THAN THE TWO LIVE-ACTION FILMS, IT IS AN INSULT TO THE WORKS OF JIM DAVIS, IT IS ONE OF THE WORST! GAMES! I HAVE! EVER! PLAYED! I never thought I'd say this someday, without any form of censoring or disguising, but I'm gonna say it. Garfield: The Search For Pooky, you mark the very first time I ever say this on my blog about a video game: FUCK YOU!

Picture taken from the intro. Thanks for this, game.

Cue complete and utter shock from almost all my readers.

Ah... I feel relieved. Finally, I got that out of my system. Now that my hatred has been spewed out, I guess I can wrap this up by saying why this game sucks. In case I didn't repeat it enough times already.

While at first it seemed like a good idea to use the comic's pictures to make up the sprites, in the end some of the sprites seem unpolished, and while the main character couldn't possibly be more recognizable in a 2D platformer thanks to this idea, it's still kind of silly to see the results when, as an example, spiders or mice can be almost the size of Garfield, or Garfield is almost the size of Jon's mom.

It doesn't really help with the programming, either. The game has problems detecting hits, as an example when Garfield hits an enemy by kicking or with his journal, and when Garfield himself is hit by enemies or hazards. Other programming troubles include the fact that Garfield always stays at middle height on the screen, which as I pointed out not long ago, makes it really hard to see where Garfield lands when he's jumping. Oh, but that's not all; sometimes, you can see where the platforms below are by ducking. But you can't do that on slippery platforms, and therefore jumping off a slippery platform can lead most of the time to you not seeing where the platforms are, and thus Garfield falling to his death. Even in places where it doesn't make any damn sense. LIKE HIS GOD DAMN ATTIC!

Talking about the platform hazards, there's spikes on too many places, there's glue on too many places, there's oil on too many places, other hazards are completely ridiculous or way too difficult to avoid... And, of course, I must talk again about the pits so large that Garfield barely makes it safely to the other side when he jumps. This is a BIG platforming flaw. You could basically fall to your death just because you didn't jump far enough. Once or twice in a game, it's fine. Not dozens. Of course, since Garfield has a maximum of nine lives, it means you can lose them real quickly. I can testify.

Also, can you make any sense of this level selection screen?
No? I thought so.
Oh, but that's not all! The story is a steaming pile of crap. Garfield has his teddy bear stolen, he must find it before the night. But oh look, he's too hungry, he must steal food everywhere he goes first! And he has to complete those stupid fetching quests that take forever to finish – Looking at YOU, the level with the chickens! His search basically goes nowhere, not even half the levels have any point within the story, and all in all it's a giant mess. Have I mentioned that Garfield is rarely funny in this? At the end, you just feel like you wasted hours of your precious life playing a worthless little GBA game. Need I even mention how the cutscenes are really below par with all those still images? I can understand that it was to reflect the fact that it's originally a comic series, but it's not enjoyable.

Even though I can admit that the backgrounds and the environments look nice, that's pretty much all I can say about them. The sprites are very detailed for the most part, but that's their only positive point. Even the music, which wasn't so bad at the beginning, eventually becomes unnerving and repetitive after a while.

Even Garfield is angry. That's saying a lot.

I don't think I need to say that I might have found the worst game in my collection so far... I mean it: One of the worst games I own, people. And it's guilty of a crime even worse than anything else: It has tainted my nostalgic vision of an icon of my childhood. More than the two live-action films EVER did. And for this, it sucks even more. If I was the kind of guy to destroy the bad games, I would give it the mallet treatment. But I'm not, so I'll put it in the little Ziploc bag of shame.

And if you ever see this game being sold at a used games store, please convince the merchant to toss it in the trash can. Because this game is better off never played.

Screw this game.