What can be done with a game license based off of a movie about generic superhero family members? Why, turn it into a generic, sidescrolling brawler with repetitive enemies and stages, and spice it up with playable cameos from the movie. The Incredibles for GBA doesn’t harness the superpower of Pixar’s market value, but it is a competent little fighter and it ends up being solidly average considering its limitations.
I haven’t seen the movie, but I have to assume it follows the plot rather closely. For the most part, this is an exercise in franchise exploitation though, so don’t expect anything too moving. Mr. Incredible is the primary controllable hero, and the rest of his nuclear family comes in as playable characters too. Helen, Violet, and Dash lend a hand at some point for brief stints in specialized stages, but they’re really there to add a modicum of variety to the beat-em-up gameplay. Mr. Incredible has the greatest move set by far, followed at a distance by Mrs. Incredible and her stretchy limbs (I can feel the prurient fanfics being written even now), and finally Violet (stealth and shield attack) and Dash (super speed) who are both relegated to unique moves not well suited for a brawler, but ultimately help dad fill out this somewhat entertaining game.
Stages are your standard “alleyway” fair, meaning you move from left to right steadily and can move up or down about 15 scale feet to fight the baddies. Some levels take on more interesting design attributes which does help to mix up the play style. Mrs. Incredible has a lot more climbing to do, with her pliable, extensive limbs. Dash took on the faster levels, dodging corridors of well-placed obstacles, and even powering a boat with his lightning legs. Violet was the most awkward, traversing small levels that were the same sidescrolling levels as Mr. Incredible, only she’s not able to kick ass like her old man. You too will learn to hate her stupid offensive force shield.
Controls are handled with the usual aplomb, using the A and B buttons for various moves/attacks, and augmenting them with Incredible power by hitting the L shoulder button. As mentioned before, Mr. Incredible’s move set is more complete and accessible than any of the others, but the player really isn’t tested to try too many of the many moves available. This is probably excusable as well, since there are only about six different moves, and each is enhanced to a more powerful attack by hitting the L button. Refilling the Incredible power happens slowly over time, but there are also power-ups for Incredible power, as well as health, that you can pick up along the way. For the most part, the player may end up button mashing the B button, sticking close to the basic fighting actions.
Not a whole lot more can really be said for a game that’s decidedly simple in its presentation and content. Truthfully, this game would normally score a lot lower, but it does have merit as a game suitable for the younger crowd or Incredibles fans. Helixe, by now industry veterans at GBA development, did a great job at constructing a decent little game with what they were given. Visuals and control are pretty tight, and there’s nothing specifically wrong with any piece of the game (besides some of the family cast). The Incredibles punches its way through the barrier of stupid, frustrating pugilistic gameplay – it’s just not... well, super.