Wow, this looks painfully bad.
Back when the Wii was first being shown off, Spike's Necro-Nesia garnered quite a lot of attention in the absence of anything from Capcom on the Resident Evil front. A survival horror game that used the Wii controls definitely seemed right up everyone's street. Sadly, though, upon closer inspection 'Escape from Bug Island', as it is now called in the West thanks to Eidos, did not meet expectations. But just what went wrong?
The promise of a game akin to the gore-filled action of Capcom's Resident Evil series or the scare-fest that is Konami's Silent Hill sounded like the perfect match for a Wii console that was to bring Nintendo a large chunk of the 'mature' market, rather than leaving the new console classed as yet another platform for children. However, sadly for Eidos' Secret Stash Games release label, Japanese developer Spike had fallen into that age-old trap of rushing a game out to hit the launch deadline of a new format. It is a curse seen across many platforms over the years, with the horrendous Universal Studios on GameCube being a prime example, plus other rushed titles like Cruis'n USA and the painful FIFA 64 on the Nintendo 64 being burned into the memories of gamers around the world. Spike is by no means a bad developer, with it currently working with Goichi Suda's Grasshopper Manufacture on Wii's No More Heroes, which hits Japan in just a few days, but Escape from Bug Island see the company having a 'bad day' as the game really does feel unfinished and lacking any real polish, scare-factor or even enjoyable gameplay.
Everything starts off with the rather cheesy premise of three friends, two guys and one pretty young piece of meat, travelling to a wondrous island full of never-before-seen creepy critters. After a camera shot of the woman's derriere in a short skirt and some playful banter between the guys, it is revealed that shy, retiring Ray is only tagging along for the ride because he likes Michelle so much. However, as he is about to tell her his feelings, Mike, full of wooden machismo and bravado, declares his undying love for her, much to the chagrin of Ray who knows his best mate's history as a bit of a ruthless Casanova. As a result of the advances, she scurries off into the fog-filled island all on her own to clear her head. Mike then gives chase, leaving Ray, the game's lead, and his fear of bugs all alone and ready for action.
That story, complete with its ham-fisted acting, is probably the highlight of the game, in all honesty, since from then on in it turns into a third-rate action adventure game that would not have looked too out of place at the GameCube's launch. With dated graphic models that look not only basic in structure and jerky movement, but dull in colour and expression, and a soundtrack that is completely forgettable, not adding to the expected atmosphere found in this genre normally, Bug Island is what we in journalistic circles like to call 'wishy-washy'...(*ahem* technical term, obviously). Anyway, attacking involves holding down B and whacking the Wii controller downwards, dodging left means having to shake the Nunchuk and right involves doing the same with the Wii-mote. All the moves are very rudimentary, but also not as responsive and smooth feeling as other Wii motion-controller titles. Rolling basically gets you out of any impending danger and repeatedly holding B and shaking for dear life will also get you out of most problems without too much hassle (although the resulting severe pain in your right arm from trying to get the clunky controls to respond properly can get you down somewhat). As for the character movement, running forwards is perfectly acceptable, if a little on the sluggish side, yet trying to move backwards or quickly turn around is annoyingly awkward, leaving the camera to go haywire and results in players being momentarily disorientated. Cutting edge stuff it most certainly is not...
To be honest, there is not really too much to say on the game. With cumbersome controls, overall poor presentation, a story that is not engaging in the slightest and monsters that have no scare factor at all, Escape from Bug Island turns what could have been a great filler product for Resident Evil fans into a huge waste of time for anyone other than the small group of Wii owners so desperate for a new game they will plump for anything. As for reasons to actually replay Bug Island, there are three difficulty levels on offer for anyone resilient enough to stick with this for longer than a few hours instead of digging out the receipt and returning it straight away. But those people will definitely be in the minority. It is probably best for everyone to just steer clear of this effort and wait for Eidos's other Wii game, Tomb Raider Anniversary...
Roll back about a decade and perhaps the slow-paced nature of the game and clunky control set-up would be more acceptable. Certainly not nowadays, though.
When a Wii game is accused of not only looking like a GameCube title, but compared to third-rate early offerings on that platform, you know something has gone awry...
Lack of any atmospheric soundtrack, whilst the sound effects are truly painful at times and the voice-acting particularly stilted and cheesy.
If you stick with this more than just a few hours, then respect is due as this grows stale very quickly indeed.
Sadly what could have been the perfect remedy for those waiting for Resident Evil at the launch of the Wii turned into a game that was delayed in the West due to low Japanese sales and failed to live up to anybody's expectations. Escape from Bug Island is a disappointment in all areas and proves to be a perfect example of how a Wii game should not be done.
Wow, this looks painfully bad.
If only they'd held off from making it a Japanese launch title and given it a decent development cycle this one could have been good. They really missed their opportunity to make the first good survival horror game on Wii, even more so since they've released it so late over in the West allowing the remake of Resident Evil 4 to get here before it.
Nice work Adam!
What always makes me laugh is how just a few months back the Eidos US boss said he would make it his mission to bring over quality Japanese titles for the Western market...starting with Necro-Nesia. Well, things can only get better, I suppose! :lol:
Cheers Mike : Nobody was going to touch this after RE4 came out...and since it arrived at the end of October, it's sold so little it never even strayed into the Wii Top 30 once. Now with RE: TUC on the market as well, Eidos has no chance of seeing this resurrected.