The Grinch is a tedious play where older players will find it far too easy and younger players will find it far too frustrating.
Released in late December 2000 shortly after the release of the hit movie of the same name. The Grinch puts you in control of the green meanie who is desperate to spoil Christmas for the inhabitants of Whoville.
To do this, the Grinch plans to unleash his dastardly inventions on the peaceful and happy Whos. However, before he can do any damage all of his blueprints are blown out of his cave settling in four locations around Whoville.
As the Grinch you must explore the town of Whoville, Whoforest, the Dumps, and Wholake to find the blueprints. While collecting the blueprints to re-create the villain’s inventions is the main goal, each area comes with plenty of additional missions to help you ruin the Whos’ Christmas celebrations. From having to sneak into the Mayor’s office to ruin his statue to dropping beehives down chimneys, there is plenty to keep you busy.
All in all, there are 24 missions to complete with 68 blueprint pieces to find and 3000 presents to destroy. At first your move list is pretty basic. The Grinch can expel a rotten smell from his mouth, jump and bash things with his bottom. As well as switching control to his pet dog, Max who can get into areas the Grinch can’t.
As you complete blueprints, you’ll unlock gadgets that will allow the Grinch to reach previously unreachable areas. Gadgets such as a rotten egg launcher, a Grinch copter and a submarine.
The ‘challenge’ comes from the Whos who will try to stop your nefarious ways. There is no health meter, instead the Grinch has an exhaust-o-meter that when full will start you at the beginning of the location. However, all your progress remains so it really doesn’t matter. Simply put, you can’t fail in The Grinch.
That wouldn’t be a problem if the game was fun but it’s not really. It relies heavily on exploration but thanks to the limitations of the PS1 you can’t see far at all meaning you’ll spend a lot of time running around. This is made all the worse as there are no directions in how to complete missions. No arrows or clues, just a list of missions that you have to complete. Stopping to look around and hopefully see an area you haven’t before isn’t possible as buildings and trees disappear in the distance.
The PS1 was capable of better and the ugliness of the game, regardless of the bright Christmas look, does begin to wear you down. If you’re going to play any version of The Grinch then the Dreamcast version is the one to play as the graphical capabilities of that machine vastly improve the experience.
Those who do choose the PS1 will find far too many flaws to really enjoy. The controls are stiff and at times, unresponsive especially when it comes to quick jumps. The voices aren’t great and the music very forgettable (nothing official from the movie of course). There is fun to be had because of the simplicity of the game but only in short bursts before it starts to get frustrating.
The Final Score - 5/10