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Revenge Of The Gremlins

Gremlins GizmoBack in October last year we took a look at the two games produced by Sunsoft based on the classic 1990 film Gremlins 2: The New Batch, but those games for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy are not the only games from the Gremlins franchise that have been released over the years.  Spanning from the Atari 2600 to the Nintendo Wii, Gizmo and Stripe have been trading blows for years courtesy of a variety of publishers.  Some were better at their development craft than others.  Hardcore Gaming 101 returns to take us on the rest of the Gremlins journey to explore text adventures, platformers, and — oh, please, no — a virtual pet mogwai experience.

On the DS, Gremlins: Gizmo kind of acts like it wants to be a Tamagotchi style raising sim, as there are three stats for each mogwai that you're supposed to maintain - love, music and strength. But keeping them up is so laughably easy that all that remains are the various mini games the creatures use to entertain themselves. On the DS, of course most of them are played with tapping or swiffing at the screen with the stylus. There are three or four similar rhythm games and a number of faux rhythm games, several of which are just adaptions of Ralph Baer's Simon.

The game was also announced for release on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation network, but the only other version that made it out the door was for Nintendo's Wii. Like the NDS version, the Wii version features five mogwai, but drops the weak sim pretense and replaces it with many more and funnier costumes and more rooms. The highlight of the new challenges is a neat if rudimentary cart racer, but there's also braindead stuff like ball games where you just point an enormous Wiimote cursor at the incoming ball to bounce it back, or a game where you just walk around with a vacuum cleaner to collect "dust bunnies".

When I was at E3 in 2011 I'd heard rumblings that there was a Gremlins revival game somewhere on the showfloor.  I went looking for it one afternoon when I had time to kill without knowing which publisher was showing it off.  I searched high and low until I finally found it on display on a small table off by itself in the middle of an aisle.  There was no signage around it to signify who was responsible for it, nor was there anyone around to talk with about it.  I stood and watched the demo for a moment as poorly animated mogwai danced to whatever Top 40 pop song was the flavor of the moment.  My heart sank; this is what Gremlins had become?  You deserve better, Gizmo.  You deserve so much better.

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