I’m afraid I haven’t seen Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. The fact that the tagline for the film is “an epic of epic epicness” or whatever makes me very wary of it. It’s extremely difficult to make film for a specific subculture (in this case gaming slackers) without it seeming like pandering. However, I had heard good things about the tie-in game and so a chance was given. How did it turn out? Actually, it’s freaking awesome.
Scott Pilgrim (the game) is a throwback to the old 2d sprite-based side scrolling beat ‘em ups from the NES era. The visual style works really well; in HD the sprites are colorful and clear and the game features several animations that just look fantastic. The overall art style is just wonderful. Each level varies enough in style to keep you from getting bored with the scenery, and you can tell that a lot of care was put into the various backgrounds you’ll be moving past. The music seems to be all 8-bit, and it sounds terrific.
The game has the most in common with River City Ransom—mostly in that defeated enemies drop coins that are, in turn, used to upgrade your character (of which there are four). The various stats you can upgrade add thin RPG elements to the game and create depth that isn’t very common in games like this. Not to mention you can level up, which brings on more combos that your character can perform.
The combos feel great as well, generally consisting of a direction + a button in order to execute the move. Once you learn them, they’re easy to apply to gameplay and nearly all of them have actual use in certain situations. Just like the old beat ‘em up games, there are also various objects you can pick up and use as weapons, ranging from the practical (baseball bats) to the ridiculous (people).
By far, the greatest feature of Scott Pilgrim the game (I hate having to say that) is that it features up to four-player coop. Also, each of the game’s four playable characters is leveled up individually and has his or her own special moves. I only played the two-player coop, but it was incredibly enjoyable. I can only assume the four-player is even better.
You can tell that the creators of the game have a real love and respect of the old NES games. I never once felt like Scott Pilgrim was a rip-off or that it was just trying to bank on nostalgia and “Remember this?!” factors for its charm. It’s a true throwback and if you enjoyed the Ninja Turtles games, Double Dragon, River City Ransom, and the like back in the day, then you will find something very enjoyable in Scott Pilgrim. And at only ten dollars, it’s a steal.
I somehow doubt the movie is as good as this, though. Then again, I’ve been wrong before.