Finding Nemo

Developer:  Disney Interactive/Pixar
Publisher:  THQ
Year Released:  2003

Review by Rosemary Young (March, 2004)
Young fans of Nemo and friends are in for a very pleasant surprise with this adventure. Aimed at children 5 to 8 years, it's one of several electronic games based on the popular children's film, Finding Nemo, and this one has adventuring and puzzling activities as well as a little simple arcade action.

Not surprisingly, with the involvement of Pixar who also did Toy Story and A Bug's Life, the cast of fishy characters are delightfully brought to life with their own individual foibles and personalities. The dialogue is excellent, and the voice acting and music also play a big part in making this a vibrant and friendly game.

Lost at sea
If children have seen the film then there's a lot to recognise here, including excerpts from the film interspersed with the gameplay. At the beginning we see Marlin's worst fears come true when Nemo is scooped up in a fisherman's net and whisked away. Of course, Marlin sets off on the trail of his precious son, accompanied by the scatterbrained Dory who doesn't know which way to turn. The young player can switch between Marlin and Dory as they carry out their search, or Nemo, of course, who is destined for a life in the aquarium.

Marlin and Dory's journey is fraught with dangers that are solved by completing a few simple logic or arcade-type activities. First up, however, there's a friend to find for Bruce the shark and his companions in order to get the lost goggles that will lead the way to Nemo. Then it's off to face such obstacles as a mountain of jellyfish where a good memory is useful to follow the right path, and there's a busy slipstream to negotiate, dodging oncoming traffic, before the end is nigh.

Nemo, on the other hand, has a quieter time, but nonetheless eventful. He meets up with his domesticated friends including Pearl the Starfish, Bubbles, Gurgle and more, and gets a taste of life in a fish tank. He soon learns the worst, he is to be Darla's new pet! Where would we be without friends? Luckily Gill has a plan to escape. All Nemo must do is collect 6 totems from the various tank dwellers, but before handing them over they will ask a little favour in return. So find the keys to open Gurgles' locked chest, grab the pearl for Flo, match the cogs for Jacques and complete the other tasks to collect the totems. Then play a couple games involving colour and shape recognition and freedom is awaiting.

Underwater fun
Finding Nemo has a variety of activities for Nemo fans to enjoy and it won't matter if kids haven't seen the movie because Nemo and Marlin will make some new friends here. It is certainly a delightful package but could have been even better with more interactivity or more things to do to extend 'active' playing time. 8 year olds will move through it quite quickly, but kids at the younger end of the recommended age group will be entertained for longer.

It's very easy for kids to get into. Starting out is simple, just pick a character from the opening splash screen and press the arrow to enter the game. The game is automatically saved on exit and on re-entering the chosen character will take the player back to where they left off. The controls are very simple too. Move the pointer over the screen and watch out for it to change colour. If it's red then there's something to click on for a surprise. If it's yellow there's something to do such as pick up an item or talk to a character. When it turns to a big yellow arrow, that's the exit to another location.

Finding Nemo plays full screen and subtitles can be activated for the dialogue during the game. There are no subtitles for the movie clips. It comprises 1 CD and is both Windows and Mac compatible. rating:  

Copyright © Rosemary Young 2004. All rights reserved.

System Requirements:
Pentium II 266 MHz, Win 98/2000/ME/XP, 64 MB RAM, 160 MB free hard drive space, 8X CD-ROM, Video card with at leat 8 MB RAM, DirectX 8.1 (included on CD), DirectX-compatible display capable of 800x600 resolution in 16-bit color,

Mac OS X version 10.2 or later . G3 or G4 266MHz iMac, iBook, PowerBook, Power Macintosh, 128 MB RAM, 160 MB free hard drive space, 8X CD-ROM, 8MB VRAM, Thousands of colors video display, QuickTime.