Replay Value: 7
Toy Story is without a doubt Disney's best thing since Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King. The three dimensional cartoon was loved by millions and grossed many millions of dollars as well. The sequel Toy Story 2 brought back Tim Allen and Tom Hanks as Woody and Buzz Lightyear. In the world of Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear is this incredibly popular action figure that also has his very own cartoon series. In the Toy Story world a cartoon video of Buzz Lightyear was released as it was here in the real-world, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command explains the story of Buzz Lightyear through his adventures up in space fighting alien scum. With Activision's Toy Story license, Traveler's Tales has returned to create their second Toy Story game for Playstation which is based on the video/DVD release Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.
Using cel-shaded characters which seem to be incredibly popular with many games, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command is designed to capture the imagination of kids with its very vibrant colors and excellent looking backgrounds. The character detail is splendid, the characters move fluidly and best of all are incredibly solid. Star Command is a very simplistic game with very simplistic linear environments that don't offer you much room for exploration, unlike Toy Story 2 which let you explore nearly every single nook and cranny of a stage. Yes the stages may be detrimental to the game, but since this game is clearly targeted for younger audiences, the choice may not have been a bad one at all, and besides the backgrounds and overall visual polish is very refreshing. The game much like TS2 includes some clips from the Buzz Lightyear video, they aren't as long as the slightly "spoiler" clips that TS2 had, but they do the job to accompany the whole setting and move you on to the next stage. My take on the visuals is that they are simple for the best, Star Command is a child's game, and Traveler's Tales didn't want to go and over-complicate everything by making Star Command feel like a sequel to TS2.
With the targeted audience being children, I found Star Command quite the interesting game. The gameplay is very simple and consists of Buzz Lightyear running around through 14 linear based stages, following key bad guys such as Torquem XL, Warp Darkmatter and the Evil Emperor Zurg along with his henchman. As you pursue the enemies you will eventually come to the end of the stage and be forced to battle that certain enemy. Every one of the 14 stages will have you doing that, but once you beat a stage you will be granted two new options such as Time Trial or collecting XR's pieces that are scattered throughout the stage in a matter of time. For me I found the game to be quite repetitive, the linear stages don't cut it for me, but children above the age of 7 should adore this game. All of the 14 stages are portrayed on the same premise and that is to run and capture the bad guy, fight him in a one on one battle, arrest him and do the same for the stages to come. To make the journey easier, Buzz has an array of weapons he can purchase by using credit tokens that can be collected in stages, some of the weapons are homing missiles, lightning guns, plasma bolts and even lasers. Picking up power ups such as Hoverboards, Jet Bike and other additional power ups are done easily, if you have 100 credit tokens that you picked up, and you see a sphere with the number 50 on it, then whatever item that is in the sphere will cost you 50 credit tokens. You can pick up items such as Hoverboards, Jet Bikes, Jet Pack Wings, Plasma Gun, Rockets, health kits, shields, fuel and much, much more. Buzz Lightyear of Star Command isn't really the deepest game, in-fact it takes just about five minutes to get into the action, but older gamers may want to stay away from the game, chances are you'll probably beat it in about a week.
Since the game includes clips from the cartoon, that means that voice acting is present here and it's pretty much flawless. That though isn't the only time voice acting is active in the game, before heading into a mission your commander will give you a briefing by explaining the whole situation. Now what ticks me off is, where is the background music to accompany the game itself, I would have probably given the game an 8.5 for score if some music was present. I'm also disappointed to see (or to hear) that Tim Allen doesn't do the voice of Buzz, instead somebody else named Patrick Warburton does the voice of Buzz, meanwhile Nicole Sullivan of MAD TV fame is the voice of Mira Nova, the comedian Bobcat Goldthwait does XL, Larry Miller is XR, and Edward Asner voice acts as Fixer. If Tim Allen made an appearance and the game had some environmental audio, then the sound may have very well got some extra edge as well.
Controlling Buzz Lightyear is a cinch. Jumping is done as simply as pressing X, Square is to use a weapon, Circle is to change weapon, and L1 and R1 are for strafing. The left analog stick is used for movement, that's a plus, but there is no sensitivity in maneuverability, although the Dual Shock is superbly used and offers a great punch to the whole effect of getting zapped by a space gun. Nothing really to worry about in the controls.
My final thoughts on Buzz Lightyear was that it may not be a game for older gamers, but this game is surely for gamers around the age of seven through ten. Children will find the game quite amusing, since its simplicity level is quite high, the controls are very easy and configured for young hands, and the whole Toy Story atmosphere will be enough to grapple your child's attention as well as his/her mind. Buzz Lightyear should be on retail by the time you read this and it should retail for roughly $30.