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YOU ARE A TOY! and a Space Ranger...
Next Tribute ♦
About the Game
Minor Gameplay Spoilers
Character
Space Ranger.
While I was growing up, I played quite a few good movie tie-in games. In recent years, tie-in games get less and less, and the number of good ones outside the Lego series are very thin on the ground. So great movie tie-in's like Toy Story 2 get better as time goes on. Let’s explore why it’s great.
Quote Let’s start by asking one question, who is the best character: Woody or Buzz? People have being debating that since the original movie. I'll ask another question, who is the coolest character? Being a space ranger, for most people Buzz would win that round.

In Toy Story 2, you play as Buzz Lightyear, which fans of will tell you – is one cool toy. Having Buzz as the sole playable character was a smart move on the developers part as they have done a fantastic job of bringing the toy into the video game world, as he translates well. Buzz has lots of different moves and abilities, some from the film, whereas others are new unseen abilities to keep things fresh.

His arm laser is his main weapon. Fire it at an enemy in a quick burst, or to make it more powerful, hold the trigger button for a few seconds to unleash his yellow blast. The spin attack is his secondary attack. It can be used for a few seconds without charging, or hold the spin button to unleash a spin attack that lasts for a lot longer. He also has a disc launcher, which can used at certain points.

But it's not just weapons, Buzz has great agility and also has gadgets to help progress through his journey – remembering he is exploring the big world when he is just a toy. He can double jump using his wings, swing around poles, climb up objects and move objects.

Buzz also has new moves to learn in certain parts of his adventure, including a grappling hook and hover boots. Once learned, Buzz can use these moves in any level, unlock areas of levels which were previously inaccessible. Controls make or break a game, and the game is vastly improved because Buzz controls flawlessly (a problem tie-ins sometimes have).
[Buzz Lightyear]If Michael Knight can do it, so can Buzz...
Most movie tie-ins I've played in the past (Tarzan, Lego Star Wars, The Emperor's New Groove) usually follow the 'get from A to B' approach to level design, similar to Crash Bandicoot. Toy Story 2 for the most part doesn't – it has free roaming levels. For the most part, you choose what order you complete the level. The environments are all pretty big, and like TY the Tasmanian Tiger, it is a joy to take your time and explore everything the level has to offer.

What if I told you that the game has ten levels and five bosses? Sounds a bit short on first glance doesn't it? What if I then told you that each level has five objectives to complete? Yea, that sounds better now. While your exploring, you have objectives to win pizza planet tokens which unlock later levels. So it’s definitely worth tracking down as many tokens as possible.

These objectives are quite varied. Each level has 50 coins to collect, which is difficult if you haven’t explored all the level. Each level also has a time challenge, a mini-boss (which can be just as tricky as the big bosses, so you stay on your toes!) and five lost characters to track down. Lots to do then! So just having ten levels to explore isn't a problem – the game will take you a while to complete, so no worries!

I quite like it in movie-tie in games when some levels are based off the movie, whereas others are new locations which are not directly in the movie, but inspired by it. Some of the more memorable locations from Toy Story 2 are here, including Al’s Toy Barn, the Airport and the excellent Al’s Penthouse, still one of my favourite video game levels of all time. It was one of the first levels that I ever played that I thought: “Wow, I can actually fully explore a location from the movie.” There are some pretty cool moments to be had as you progress through your journey.

It isn’t just locations, to make it even more authentic, all your favourite characters from the film are in the game too. Rex tells the player hints and tips, Hamm gives you a token for collecting 50 coins, Mr Potato Head unlocks special powers when you find his missing body parts and Slinky has time challenges. Other characters like Bo Beep, the Soldiers, the aliens, RC, Jessie and Zurg also make appearances, along with some new characters for the game. It really is a great tribute to Toy Story, especially since almost the entire cast from the first two films make an appearance!


Closing Thoughts
Classic Classic
Toy Story 2 had a lot of competition when it was released, as there were dozens of movie tie-ins and platformers about the same time. Despite this, and unlike some other games, it still feels great today. Toy Story 2 showed that movie tie-in's can be fun, playable, easy to control and glitch free. It’s just a shame that movie tie-ins are almost non existent these days. Welcome to the world of Toy Story and enjoy your stay – to infinity and beyond!

My One Big Highlight
Spiderman There's so many great moments I could pick, like walking along a moving plane. One of my first memories was in Andy’s Neighbourhood. Using precise moves, gadgets and a little luck, you climb up a giant tree. It’s massive in size and scale and it’s something I had not experienced in a video game up to that point. The feeling of climbing so high, and then running the risk of falling down to the ground if you make a mistake was terrifying! But in a good way.
Elephant In the Room
elephantSo all good so far. You will be glad to know there aren’t any major problems. It’s a little on the short side if you complete just the bare minimum, and I was disappointed by the final boss in terms of who you fight. Other than that, it’s as perfect as movie tie-ins get.