Garfield's Nightmare Review
Platformers are about a dime a dozen these days. Some platformers separate themselves from the rest of the crowd with unique gameplay features, some are uninspired but are still somewhat fun and some are just cookie cutter clones of other platform games. Garfield's Nightmare is the middle choice. In a nutshell, it's a basic platformer that hides itself behind some pretty 3-D graphics.
The game starts out with a comic book setup reminiscent of the popular Garfield comics. After pigging out one day, Garfield decides to take his usual nap. He falls into a deep sleep and gets lost in his own nightmare. Since he broke his alarm clock the morning before, he is unable to awaken from this nightmare and he must now wander the dream world and find the pieces of his alarm clock in order to awaken to the real world.
The gameplay of Garfield's Nightmare is much like any standard platformer that you've most likely played. Garfield wanders the dream worlds and defeats all enemies by jumping on them. Just about every single enemy in the game can be defeated with a jumping attack - even a tornado or a storm cloud. He can grab a hold of boxes and pull or push them to make stepping stones up to higher platforms and there are a few switches here and there to trigger for an occasional mechanism that must be activated in order to advance. Later stages add a few different obstacles and drop the box pulling/pushing.
The game's stages are long - very lengthy and drawn out! Thankfully there are many checkpoints throughout each level that can be continued from if Garfield loses a life. The lack of variety becomes noticeable very early on in the game however since each stage tends to overstay its welcome.
The platform genre wouldn't be complete without plenty of items to collect and Garfield's Nightmare doesn't disappoint in that aspect. Collect donuts for extra lives, coins to enter secret doors, and lasagna to recharge Garfield's life gauge. The secret doors are hidden throughout the level and will lead to mini games with a 3-D overhead view that can be beaten to earn extra lives - these range from jumping on spiders that pop out of mouse holes to jumping on trashcans to find extra lives while avoiding bombs or mines. There is a whole load of extra lives that can be gained rather easily and they can mount up very quickly since the game is rather easy. I had about 38 lives by the time I beat the game and I did not go out of my way to find extra lives hardly at all.
Boss fights could have been used to add some much needed variety to the walk and jump gameplay but they fall under the same category - wait for the boss to finish his wave of attacks then jump on him as he moves closer to Garfield and strikes his "hit me" pose. A few of the bosses require a bit more, but Garfield defeats them all the same way basically.
Besides the story told in comic book format at the beginning of the game, Garfield's Nightmare is completely absent of any type of plot. Once a stage is finished you move on to the next stage. Once a boss is beaten then you move on to the next set of stages. There is no sense of accomplishment for finishing any stage.
Garfield lacks any type of personality from his comic strips. Other than the comic book style story at the beginning and the ending, we are completely disconnected from his usual personality for the rest of the game. There is also an absence of any other character that is usually found in the Garfield comic strips - there is no Odie, no Nermal, no John. A few of Garfield's friends are found in one mini game, but they really should appear somewhere in the main game. All the enemy types are generic as well. Garfield fights legions of spiders, ghosts, mosquitoes, penguins, snowmen, and tornados, just to name a few. Why no zombie Nermals or rabid Odies?