Swamp Thing


Review by Joe Santulli



Graphics: 4

Sound: 2

Gameplay: 3

Overall: 3

Poor little Swamp Thing. Tiny little beast of the muck. If you didn't know anything about the legend of this DC anti-hero, you'd think he was merely a slow-moving clod, forced to deal with the tasks of jumping over floating tin cans or dispatching the occasionally irritable swamp flower. You'd think he takes great pride in his leaping ability which aids him in avoiding the touch of the deadly "jumping fish of the swamp".

Yes, this Swamp Thing is the same Swamp Thing who not only had a comic book running for 20 years but was also turned into two movies and a television series that ran for three seasons. Hardly the kind of guy that's killed off by a fish.

The Swamp Thing I know is seven feet tall and weighs about 400 pounds, an intimidating mountain of a Thing, with lots of supernatural powers to supplement his superhuman strength. The Swamp Thing I know has a link to the spirit world that allows him to heal himself and others as well as communicate with the dead. The Swamp Thing I know can regenerate, read minds, create illusions, induce growth in and control plants, influence the weather, and on a really good day even alter time itself. Hardly the kind of guy that's worrying about carefully timing a leap over a floating tin can.

So before even getting into the details of the game, you may get the idea that the character itself has been done an injustice. Knowing that, how do you suppose they managed the rest of the elements that make up a game: graphics, sound, and gameplay? I probably don't need to tell you, do I. No, they didn't get those things right either. The graphics are the game's strong point and they're dreary and repetitive. I mean, swamps in general are dreary and repetitive but I'll take the swamps of Bayou Billy any day over this one, and they get WORSE after you get out of the swamp, which by the way is no easy feat. Because, you see, gameplay is severely lacking. Swamp Thing jumps, and he jumps a lot (which I'd bet you've never seen him do in all of his years of comic adventures) and he can punch, but his punch is useless without gathering the swamp powered projectiles that are in themselves difficult to obtain. So he spends the game leaping out of the way of enemies that you or I - creatures without the ability to bend bars or communicate with plants - would find rather pedestrian. You have a short life bar that's depleted each time you make contact with one of these things, and trust me, you'll contact them a LOT because you often aren't given enough time to see them coming.

Drab graphics and dumb gameplay aside, these are joys compared to the game's awful sound. The problem is that there aren't many of them. That leaves the repetitive background music to play on and on and on with little else to distract you from it. And this isn't a fun and catchy riff like you might find in Burgertime or Mappy. It's a dirge, of sorts. An upbeat dirge that I can only describe as a failed new age single being played through a radio that also happens to be underwater at the time.

Swamp Thing, I'm sorry this is how it has to be, and I hope that someday someone comes along to take advantage of your significant powers and makes us forget that once upon a time in videogames even sharp blades of grass terrified you.


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Last updated: Sunday, February 27, 2005 11:59 AM