El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2008-05-03 PS2 Platform E10 (Everyone 10+) Blue Tongue / THQ

A budget title based on a TV cartoon that I've never heard of before didn't seem like something I would play. There it stood until I eventually decided to open it and subject myself to the contents of what I thought would be a less than average game. It turns out it's wasn't half bad!

In El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, Miracle City is under attack by Mikla, the Prince of Doom, and his AzTech minions. They create chaos by setting the city's villains against each other, and in the middle of the confusion, Puma Loco and White Pantera (El Tigre's relatives) are kidnapped. So now it's up to you to save them and rid the city of all villains, by playing with either El Tigre, Black Cuervo or Frida.

As a 2D platform game, this is a pretty straighforward adventure. Run, jump, avoid obstacles, destroy enemies. The game is separated into four distinct areas: Miracle City, Calavera Mesa, Old Cemetery and AzTech Ruins, all areas based on environments from the cartoon.

Jam packed with typical platformer cliches, The Adventures of Manny Rivera have it all: spike traps, moving and falling platforms, bouncing pads, some climbing here and there, double jumps, rolling blocks, moving carts, creatures you must dodge... the level design is pretty good, and all these classical platform elements combined help keep the stages fresh and the player on his/her toes.

There are also collectible items, here called Macho points. You get them by picking up tokens, killing enemies and finishing levels with bonus time. You can use your Macho points to unlock bonus content such as extra levels and character costumes.

You can progress through the stages fairly quickly though, which makes the game considerably short, and what will probably take you the longest to complete are the strangely difficult (in comparison to normal stages) bonus stages. These are races against time that totally change the pace of the game and require better timing of jumps and obstacle avoidance, while picking up tacos to earn extra time. No issues with the controls, they are pretty responsive, and the only frustrations came out of my own platform gaming clumsiness.

The story of the game itself isn't all that appealing, and you never get much information about the characters either, unless you decide to watch the 10-minute cartoon episode that comes in the disc. The plot is simple, to the point and you know just enough to get you started, which makes it very accessible to kids. Another child-friendly feature is the infinite "continues" system and virtually no deaths. If you manage to get yourself knocked out, you will go back to the last pinata checkpoint and continue from there.

For a budget title, El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera turns out to be a pretty good platform game, suitable for a younger audience. Even if lacking on the replay value (with the exception of an extra playable character when you finish the game for the first time), the price tag is appropriate. In the end, it may not be an innovative title, but it's a well-executed platformer that manages to be fun, albeit its short game life expectancy.

Special thanks to THQ for providing a copy of this title.