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Toy Story 2, the Action Game

By WILLIAM LAMPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 29, 1999


Toy Story 2: Action Game, Toy Story 2: Activity Center and Toy Story 2: Print Studio

Disney Interactive

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Disney has built a business tying software to its movie releases, and it hasn't slipped up when it comes to the new Disney/Pixar movie Toy Story 2. As with last summer's Tarzan games, little new ground is broken, but still the games are entertaining.

Toy Story 2: Action Game, for ages 8 and up, can be challenging for an adult as well as a 7-year-old. My computer-game-experienced daughter eagerly plopped herself in front of the screen to help Buzz Lightyear search for the missing Woody.

She steered Buzz through the Toy Story 2 world as he collected gold coins and Pizza Planet tokens in this 3-D action game. Along the way, Buzz helps Mr. Potato Head, Bo Peep and others find missing ears, sheep and whatnots. There is some shooting at menacing toys, but it's a very minor part of the action and can be avoided by running past the threats. My daughter didn't like battling the master robot in the attic at Andy's house, but otherwise had a great time playing. Even I had a difficult time defeating the robot and it cost me several lives.

The game seems pretty stable and, for the most part, intuitive with its limited commands. But the big bugaboo with the Action Game is quitting: Exiting can be baffling. The game sends you through a half-dozen steps where you have to arrow up or down, hit the space bar and hit the pause button before you can quit. After the first four or five times you begin to figure it out, but the software doesn't offer many clues.

Buzz and Woody co-host the amusing Toy Story 2: Activity Center, games and activities for ages 4 to 8. The single-player games put a Toy Story 2 spin on classic arcade hits: Cone Chaos, where you help the Toy Story 2 cast (hiding beneath traffic cones) cross a busy highway a la Fogger; Toy Shelf Showdown, where Buzz battles the evil Emperor Zurg's robots in Al's Toy Barn while putting together a rocket a la Burger Time; and Luggage Lunacy, where Buzz hops from suitcase to suitcase in search of Woody a la just about any arcade game.

Critter Corral pits two players (or a player against the computer) in a Chinese Checkers-like game to move your critter disks into your opponent's corral. The games were easy enough to thrill my almost-4-year-old daughter and entertaining, but not too terribly challenging for her big sister.

When the games got old, the Activity Center let them create their own comic strips using backgrounds, characters, props and sounds from the new movie. The software also includes a scaled-down version of the Print Studio so you can print greeting cards, wanted posters and stickers.

And speaking of Print Studio . . .

If you have any of the other Disney Print Studio software titles, you won't find much different in Toy Story 2: Print Studio except the graphics. Geared for all ages, Toy Story 2: Print Studio lets you select from pre-designed doorknob hangers, bookmarks, cards, banners, stickers, calendars and other projects and print them out in color. Or you can create your own with the provided templates, retro background patterns and characters from the Toy Story 2 movie.

Systems:

-- Toy Story 2: Action Game: Windows (reviewed) and Macintosh.

-- Toy Story 2: Activity Center: Windows and Macintosh (reviewed).

-- Toy Story 2: Print Studio: Windows (reviewed).

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