CID the Dummy Reviewed: Uninspired Platform Action
This is an action platformer starring a crash test dummy who is sent on a quest to rescue the Professor's daughter from an evil rival known as D-Troit. The familiar game-play features simple puzzles and plenty of action but the controls are frustrating and this is mediocre stuff.
The unusual hero of this action platformer is a crash impact dummy, CID for short. He is unleashed from his day job by Professor B. M. Werken who wants his missing daughter found. CID has to overcome all sorts of obstacles and defeat a bunch of enemies in order to get the girl. This is old fashioned 2D platform game-play. A mixture of action and simple puzzles with some strange controls which don’t entirely work and a fairly lacklustre art style.
CID is completely bored with his menial job and unsurprisingly he wants a break from being repeatedly battered. When he gets the opportunity to attempt a rescue of the Professor's daughter Mia he jumps at the chance. The word is she is the most beautiful girl in the world although you have to wonder if CID is really equipped to think like that.
The quest challenges CID to run, climb and jump through a series of blocky levels. There are stealth sections where you need to avoid the gaze of security cameras and you face a collection of enemies along the way under the sway of big baddie D-Troit. CID has a variety of special attacks and a bazooka in his back pack but the controls are a typical exercise in frustration as with many Wii games. Trying to fight more than one enemy at a time can prove very tricky as you shake the remote in desperation. You shake up and down to attack, side to side to sprint and with the bazooka drawn you can aim at a target to fire.
The levels are littered with pick ups and if you manage to collect ten you can activate his “Panic Mode" which clears the screen of bad guys and proves very handy. The puzzles are very basic, like push a button basic. However there are also secret areas and you can use your super charged run to break through weak sections of wall. The stealth sections are poorly done and irritating and although the game has a 3D veneer this is familiar old 2D platform game-play.
The game is quite tough but that’s really down to ropy design. The controls combined with the lack of a checkpoint system mean frequently replaying the same sections. This is a reminder of the days when auto-save was a glint on the horizon and developers thought making you repeat the same bit over and over would extend the life of the game.
The game is not exactly pushing new boundaries in terms of visuals but it is competently put together. The stars of the game are quite nicely designed and animated and it is good to see some originality in the character design. The environments are chunky and a bit on the dull side but the cut scenes look fairly decent and some of the visual effects are well made. The HUD design is functional and fairly attractive. In general you’d have to say that the presentation is rough around the edges.
The audio in the game is unfortunate. There is music on a short loop and some awful voiceover work. The sound effects and musical score are fairly inoffensive they just aren’t particularly great either. The voiceover dialogue is terribly annoying. The game is not improved in the slightest by the stupid intonation and countless failed attempts at humour from the hammy actors involved. They are obviously deliberately delivering cheesy performances but it comes across badly. The sound is in keeping with the rest of the production in that it lacks polish.
There are so many truly awful Wii titles on the market that somehow outsell great games. CID the Dummy is far from the worst of the bunch, it is simply mediocre. The platform style of game-play has been done again and again over the years and this really brings nothing new to the table. The lack of checkpoint saves, the poorly designed puzzles and controls, the irritating sound and the lacklustre graphics are impossible to overlook.
CID the Dummy does have its moments and if you miss the platform games of old then springing up tunnels and bouncing through walls will conjure up memories of a certain spiky blue hedgehog. In fact the robotic contraptions and enemies brought Dr. Robotnik to mind as well. The game has been released on PSP, PS2 and the PC as well the Wii. Twelve Games are the developers responsible and they don’t appear to have much of a track record. Their attempt to create new characters and an original story is laudable it is just a shame they didn’t apply some of the same creativity to the gameplay.
All references, cover art and screenshots from CID the Dummy for Nintendo Wii.