Danny Fenton was once your typical shy kid–you know, kind of a wallflower. But all that changed one afternoon when Danny accidentally blew up his parents’ laboratory and became ghost-hunting superhero Danny Phantom. Now 1/2 ghost, Danny’s picked up some pretty cool paranormal powers–but only his best friends Samantha and Tucker know his secret.
A powerful new eco-ghost has turned Amity Park into a real urban jungle. Danny Phantom must battle his way through the twisted thorns and monstrous vegetation and learn an all new-freeze power to defeat this evil nemesis. All this sets the stage for THQ’s Danny Phantom Urban Jungle.
Danny Phantom is actually a pretty good looking game, especially when you consider it was based off the GBA title of the same name. When put up against other DS titles it fails to be as impressive. In truth the game does do some good things, all the main characters are represented fairly well in the cutscences, and the game runs smoothly with a bunch of enemies on the screen. As a licensed title it delivers on pretty much everything you’d expect as a Danny Phantom fan.
The music in the game consists of a techno/rock soundtrack that complements the gameplay fairly well. I would’ve liked some voice sampling from the show and unfortunately there was none. What you get here is music that fits the current stage and adequate sound effects that make sense. Otherwise, it’s fairly bare bones
This is where Danny Phantom shows his GBA roots; the DS controls feel a little tacked on and you actually can play the entire game without the stylus. For a shooter, Danny Phantom is very responsive and accurate. You won’t get any cheap deaths from the controls, and they work very well for what the developer was trying to accomplish.
What little touch screen input they did include is useful. On the bottom screen are two tanks that hold heart containers and plasma containers that you touch to refill your health bars. Also, you can touch the special attack icons to activate those attacks, but that’s just as easily done using the B button. I would’ve liked more touchscreen specific things to do, especially during the stages where you pilot Danny’s ghost ship. Hopefully a fully DS specific title will embrace the system wholly.
Urban Jungle is essentially a side scrolling shooter. Drawing heavily from R-Type, Gradius, and Ikaruga the developer, Altron, definately picked some good pedigree to base their title on. Basically, each stage consists of blasting ghosts, capturing them, powering up your attacks and changing your polarity as you fight towards a Boss. This combination works well, and considering the target audience, this is a great intoduction to the sometimes overwhelming shooter genre.
As you progress through the game you gain new abilities for blasting baddies. Overall, there are twelve different abilities you can unlock and all of them work well and have a useful purpose. Not everything is great though. In fact there are some glaring misses on the development side.
First, the developers missed the boat on truly using the Ikaruga-esque polarity changing. Danny can absorb enemy fire by changing his color to match the color of the attacker’s shots. Treasure studios built a whole game around this mechanic, and it seems as if it was just tacked on to help lessen the difficulty. As for difficulty, I understand this game is aimed at kids, but since the game is auto-set to start at Easy difficulty even a 4 year old could be successful without much trouble. Lastly, the game only lasts a couple of stages, and that’s dissapointing considering the full price tag. I would’ve liked to see some more variety in the stages, even taking some of the great ideas used in the bonus stages as full on challenges.
Unfortunately, Danny Phantom isn’t a very long title. An experienced gamer can blast through it in roughly an hour, but maybe a kid might find more enjoyment out of the title. There’s a multi-cart multiplayer option, as well as a boss battle mini-game that is unlocked after completion. Other than that, there isn’t much else to hold onto your attention.