Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

From graphic novel, to movie, to video game; not a totally unheard evolution of media production. The largest hurdle has always come at the video game stage, though. The original concept is easily thought of by the writer, it’s then adapted by a film company who usually alter the vision for the cinema audience, and then some developer is loaded with the task of trying to squeeze the rock dry of blood and make an interactive experience from it. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, however, has turned out far more epic than I would have expected.

The following section of the review comes from me prior to seeing the film in cinemas: What sold this game for me immediately were the aesthetics. I’m a huge sucker for 8-bit style 2D games, and already having a brief knowledge of the history of Scott Pilgrim, I knew that the game itself already has its sights firmly set upon on my wallet. A side-scrolling beat ’em up with retro style graphics and music with a pinch of in-jokes thrown in – I honestly couldn’t ask more out of my 800 Microsoft Points. The storyline behind the scenes though was an interesting enough plot: a boy (Scott Pilgrim) falls in love with a girl (Ramona Flowers) but must fight her 7 evil ex-boyfriends to prove his worth. He therefore teams up with Ramona and two of band mates (Kim Pine the drummer and Steven Stills the lead singer/guitarist) to battle his way through them. That’s it. Very simple, clean cut, and gives a very nice seven world/boss fight game an easy pace to work with for the gameplay. Perfect so far.

The perfection continued though as the video game humour and references came at me thick and fast from the moment I booted up the game. I spotted Triforces, Mario coins, and several other Nintendo placed homages (curiously, despite the game being available on every platform but) before I’d even pressed the start button. I was happy and in a nerdy heaven as I was dropped into my first 8-bit world with a chunky texted ‘Lives x3’ placed lovingly in the top left of my screen. Then I died, admittedly not quite that quickly, but it felt pretty quick (and rather shameful) to lose all three lives before I’d even reached the first ex. Scott Pilgrim showed absolutely no mercy upon my goofy smiling face as I was beaten savagely by a group of thugs with trash cans. However, as you play, you gain XP and level up to learn better combos and I was back into the fray and X-ing and Y-ing my way through seas of 8-bit foes – and it was fun.

I’m well aware that ‘fun’ is a term not used in video game reviews, often, but Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World perfectly demonstrates why we need to bring it back. I walk onto a new screen, a pack of enemies stroll on from the opposing side, and I grab a baseball bat (or a trash can, or rock, or a previously beaten enemy corpse) and proceed to open up a can of whoop-ass on them. It’s all the satisfaction of Double Dragon but with a ton of video game quips and local four player co-op (Yes, four player co-op!) thrown in. A co-op mode which, by the way, I highly recommend – I was hammering the X button like a cricket on speed and it wasn’t until I found a willing friend to buddy up with me that I realised that getting a group of friends together for this game not only makes it easier, it makes it far more enjoyable (and FUN).

I can honestly say that I’ve never smiled so much while playing a downloaded XBLA game before Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. I screamed with anger when I kept dying, I clenched my teeth as I got double teamed by two enemies with broomsticks, but most importantly – I kept playing. The 8-bit music (that happens to be EPIC), the 8-bit graphics (that happen to also be EPIC), and the cheeky video game-culture references were easily enough to leave a toothy grin spread widely across my face. I miss boss battles in games, and I miss playing a story mode with three other buddies to enjoy it with, but I really miss just having fun with a game. That’s what this game is, a one word review, fun. I’ve not even seen the movie this game is based upon, and I’m already smirking my lips off by just how much I like throwing a 8-bit beer bottle comically at an enemies head. This is what XBLA was made for – not remakes, not re-releases, not indie developers trying to get their name out there (okay, maybe the last one, but hush, I’m trying to make a point here!) – but to get a game that’s quick, simple, epic, and FUN.

The following section of the review comes from after I saw the film in the cinema: Buy it. For the love of all that is good, and holy, and glorious, and video game related – buy this game. NOW.







One response to “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World”

  1. Simon avatar

    I’m so getting this. You had me on the idea of being double teamed by people with broomsticks, and now you’re bringing throwing beer bottles at people’s heads to the table? Sold.

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