Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wander Over Yonder Blogs - "The Good Deed"

Watched: September 27th, 2013 | Written: September 29th, 2013
Twice!  Two times I've already come closing to crying in the show, even closer this time!!  Goshdarn it all, Craig, how do you do it?!  How do you... okay, I'm getting ahead of myself, and I'll get to that bit later.  Here is the latest excursion from Wander Over Yonder=)
Episode V (103a):
*kazoo rendition of "ta-da!" sound*
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Now, "The Good Deed" was a really excellent episode, well done, well-written, well animated, and oh so much fun.  And out of all the episodes that I've seen in the show so far, this is actually my favorite.  =)  Step aside, "The Greatest" (101a), because there is a new contender in town!  And, just like a lot of things Wander Over Yonder-related, it's well worth talking about.
By the way, every episode takes place on a different planet, and I like that, it really gives the show some variety and makes things feel fresh all the time.  =)  So anyway in this newest planet Wander and Sylvia are having a pleasant day enjoying themselves until he spots a famished rabbit.  He finds a carrot and feeds it to the critter, making it feel full and restoring it back to health; however, Wander took a rider's carrot that is used to control this Janus-like elephant creature of sorts (I don't know, but the design is awesome) without even realizing it was his.  So Wander, being the good little helper yokel that he is, sets to make things right.  And he does... only to inadvertently undo one good deed, which he plans to make good again... only to have a chain reaction affect something.  And that's basically the premise for "The Good Deed", it explores how many good deeds it takes to undo one, and I thought it was well handled.  Any time a good deed is made, there's a spark that manages to affect something else even worse; and any time that happens the main duo just cannot fathom what just occurred and try to make it right again.  This just isn't Wander's day.  =(  But all bad things unintentionally happening aside, will our heroes successfully save the day when the worst occurs (you all know this detail, it was in the trailer; Lord Hater planning to destroy the Sun)?
Okay then, where to start?  I suppose the best thing to say about the episode is how well structured it is, and I love the bright color palettes that were used throughout the majority of the episode.  It's brighter than in every other planet yes (well it makes sense, the planet is a close neighbor to the Sun, after all) but that's okay since it's bright yet softer on the eyes as opposed to iris-burning, and that's nice.  =)  Wander and Sylvia make a perfect team, and despite their differing characteristics they're the greatest of friends, best friends even.  The relationship between the two is great, and they have a special bond for each other.  You know what is especially great?  The comedy!  =D  Once again the show elicits some great laughs, like the constant running gag with the banjo equivalent of the "wah wah wah" sound, starting with a worse thing occurring elsewhere ending with the camera pulling back showing Wander and Sylvia's incredulous reactions not believing that their good deed turned into a bad one elsewhere.  It's cute and it doesn't wear out its welcome (even though it exceeds the normal amount of running gags usually allowed in this genre's episodes).  Wander, being the fun-loving and cheerful alien that he is, often has got a good plan to make things right again up his sleeve, or hat depending on how look at it (even if it unintentionally affects something else entirely).  They might make no sense whatsoever and come completely out of left field sometimes, but they work.  For instance, a wedding is abruptly cancelled, so as a result this warring group of hillbillies/rednecks start duking it out against each other.  So what is Wander's resolution to end the problem you may ask?  =)
ROFL  X'D
*laughs*  I mean look at Wander, that is just so incredibly funny!  With the judges' podium, different accent, judges' outfit, the gavel, the ridiculously over-the-top powdered wig!  How can you not enjoy this show's sense of humor?  It is just surreal and laugh-out loud funny!  The timing is flawless too!  But it actually escalates farther than that, as there's also
OBJECTION!!!
a prosecutioner, a defendant (or is it a lawyer), a female typewriting receptionist, and a constable!  However Wander thinks up these things, it's very clever!  XD  It could've ended there, but they decided to keep this scene rolling (making it funnier as it went along, constantly cutting to each of his different personas), and in my opinion it works.  It's fantastic because the plan worked not long after it started, especially hysterical is the two hillbilly/redneck groups when they start noticing this nonsensical moment of hilarity and are trying to comprehend what the hell is going on; so they agree to stop fighting if Wander stops fighting (himself).  I love that!  XD  The gag with Wander in different roles was also done in "The Greatest", and as funny as it was there, it's a lot more fleshed out here.  Sylvia compliments Wander for turning this bad deed to a good one, even if she admits that his charade absolutely made no sense.  It's funnier if you watch this scene, words alone just simply do not do it justice.  =)
Now there's a happy image for you: Wander carrying a gun in his hands; don't fret though, it's not as bad as it looks
On a visual level it's very magnificent.  =)  The animation is really superb, smooth and easy on the eyes, as usual, plus the designs of a lot of the creatures Wander ends up helping are very creative and fit their personality well.  During the whole other personae charade scene with all the different egos there the facial expressions not only work but they're done in such a humorous way too, and a lot of the comedy is enhanced by the animation playing in motion.  Again, I love the colors they've chosen for the episode, especially when it comes to the latter half of the episode where it's a little darker yet soft; the shading and lighting is sublimely well executed, particularly during shots when Sylvia and Wander are standing in front of the Sun, and I love the attention to detail when it comes to these aspects.  There is a moment when Wander saves a bunch of pigs in suits from a rampaging yeti (which thankfully is a lot less grotesque-looking than in that one 2013 Mickey Mouse short "Yodelberg") by blowing huge magical bubbles and encasing them all in it until they land on the planet's nearby moon (I believe).  Huge magical bubbles=)  I'd make a Nostalgia Critic reference right now, but I wouldn't feel right if I did that when talking about this show; I don't know, maybe it's just me, but if other people feel the need to do that that's fine.  Wander Over Yonder has got so much heart, imagination, and creativity that I love the way it engrosses you in its various worlds.
Lord Hater and his second in command Commander Peepers are back, but only for a few minutes; and boy do they make their few minutes count.  In this episode they plan to blow up the Sun; why they decide to do that would be much funnier if you saw that moment in the episode.  In a different universe or different show for that matter an attempt to blow up the Sun would prove to be folly because naturally if anything even gets remotely close to the bright burning star that thing'll disintegrate in a heartbeat; that's not the case here, for in the series anything can happen, so the Sun blowing up is a worrying thought.  Say goodbye to all life as we know it; in here there is something to lose if nothing is done to stop the annihilation of the Sun.
So what's going to happen now?  And now for the sad moment that I'm talking about; ever since "The Fugitives" (102b) I've felt so emotionally connected to Wander, and don't get me wrong I like all the other characters too (save for Emperor Awesome, he's not a favorite of mine), but there is something about Wander that really strikes me as a special character.  He is a special kind of character, and he is one of those kinds of characters that feels so real and down to earth, and even if it weren't the case, he has got so many positive qualities about him that simply make me smile, laugh, and feel so happy; also he is a very believable character.  And that's when he's happy, smiling or just being Wander; but somehow I manage to feel sad when he's not happy and very sad.  =(  I guess it's because of his optimism, cheerfulness, happy-go-luckiness, quirkiness, kindness, and innocence, et al that makes me happy for Wander; I could never hate the little yokel, because he is just so lovable and fun!  When he's the opposite of positive, it strikes a chord with me and it's just hard to explain for me.  This next moment is spoiler-filled, and I hate to do that I really do, especially since not everyone has seen the episode (as I type this), but I've just got to get this across.  =(
Wander fans, grab some kleenex  =(
So, Sylvia, being all prepped up after all the good deeds she helped and/or saw Wander do, is ready to take on the missile and is ready to put a stop to it, blowing a magical bubble which will enable her (and all other creatures should they be inside one) to breathe in space.  Wander, on the other hand, is really deep in thought and feels remorseful about his good deeds accidentally creating problems for other parts.  At that moment he is like "Sylvia, I've been thinking," and all the while he's holding still gradually sinking down the quick... mud, "maybe we shouldn't help the Sun."  And after that I was like in a concerned tone, "What?"  =(  No, no, no, this cannot be really happening right?  Actually it is, and the fact that he feels despondent and has altogether given up, deciding not to move from his position, is really hard to believe as a big advocate for Wander.  But that's not all there is too it, he goes into a pessimistic state expressing that any time he did a good deed something worse kept happening, and he worries that if he helps the Sun the whole universe would be kicking the bucket or something along those lines.  And to see him in this state, even as he sank below the mud, was very sad to watch.  I actually felt a tear in my eye as I saw this; a tear!  It didn't stream down my face, but this scene was especially touching because Wander only wants to do good and his understandable worrying of a worse consequence for helping further (considering the day that he had) was wow... this scene!  ='(

For a fun lighthearted comedic show, Wander Over Yonder really knows how to pull off emotional scenes (even if they don't last a minute) competently.  Forget the previous episode's moment when he was going through that traumatizing ordeal being torn between keeping a promise to his friend to not help anyone and feeling the strong desire to help others despite the promise he kept; I didn't mention in the previous Wander Over Yonder Blog, but there is a brief moment of sadness as Wander is being taken away by the Watchdogs as it seemed as if Sylvia had abandoned him, but then she came back for him afterwards.  But "The Good Deed" manages to pick up the cheerful, lighthearted optimism in good fashion.  Sylvia, after Wander expressed his worries and concerns, tells him that considering what they went through all day it was possible, and she really pulls through as she encourages Wander that, like he told her before, that doing the right thing will put them in the right path therefore heading to the right place (stating she doesn't want to live in a world where the universe would end), and then she sticks out her hand as a friend for Wander to reach.  After having sunk down below the mud, Wander takes a moment to think, accepts what Sylvia said, and he pulls out his arm therefore grabbing her hand.  YAY, Wander's back!  =D  I'm sorry if I'm overthinking or overanalyzing this scene as a whole, but good God is it incredible!  Maybe others feel this way I don't know; Sylvia is a very good friend to Wander, and when push comes to shove she helps him out of his slump.  Another reason Wander and Sylvia are a perfect team, they're relationship for each other is very close.

There is this awesome moment, in a visual sense, when Sylvia pulls Wander out of the mud and places him on her back while inside the bubble (the animation is breathtaking considering it's flash).  The way the bubble reacts when something sticks out or when something is no longer sticking is really cool, especially with the ripple effects.  Sometime after I became a fan of the show I'm been wishing for a moment that Wander would hold still making a static (charging) pose while on top of Sylvia before they begin to start moving, the series' equivalent to the "Hi ho, Silver!" pose (and hopefully the phrase in the future), and the show finally did that!  Actually, it's got not one,
In the title sequence  =)
but two of these moments,
I can practically hear him say that!  =D
and seeing them in action brings a smile to my face.  =)  Also, I honestly find them to be awesome moments and well-done too; thank you Craig McCracken, I highly await the next time in the show that it happens!  Take that Gore Verbinski and your too long for its own good, heavy amount of tonal inconsistencies in your poor so-called treatment of The Lone Ranger where the main character is not believable in the slightest bit and is afraid to hold a gun and fight injustice until the last half hour of the movie has been reached (too little too late)!  Where was the dignity of that greatness (both line and pose) in your version?  =P  I would love it if one day Wander would actually exclaim "Hi ho, Sylvia!" as he rides on his steed; it's likely not gonna happen like that anytime soon but if it does it would totally make up for how "Hi ho, Silver!" was treated like a joke in the movie.  Just so everyone knows where I stand: Wander Over Yonder, good; The Lone Ranger 2013, bad.  But you know, different strokes for different folks.

Another strength of the show in general are how Wander and Sylvia are well-developed characters with great personalities, and how you genuinely care about them.  There's no question that in the end they will succeed, but the question you'll be asking is "how?".  How will they be able to do this, how will they be able to escape from harm, how will they be able to resolve certain issues, et al?  I love the way this show keeps you guessing and makes you wonder what's going to happen next; in moments when one or both of our heroes find themselves in harm's way I truly think "Oh my God, are they going to make it?  Will they be able to make it?"  =O  This is a genuinely great show, and it's funny when Lord Hater gets his comeuppance in the end; and the final scene made me chuckle.  I won't say why, but when you take everything into account it's quite funny.  XD

So "The Good Deed" was a very excellent episode in my opinion.  =)  The premise is good, the writing is intelligently clever, the jokes are incredibly funny, the timing is spot-on, the animation is perfect, the dynamic between Wander and Sylvia is sweet, the stakes are really high when it counts, the scene with sad Wander is surprisingly emotional, everything about it feels genuine, and the payoff is worth it all.  I know I've said it over and over, but watching Wander Over Yonder takes me back to my childhood, and it never ceases to make me happy.  I highly recommend this episode, it's really magnificent and enjoyably engaging.  =)
Next up is "The Pet" (104) and... wait.  *watches promo*  Oh, my God, this is going to be exciting!  =D  It's going to be a half-hour long episode (the first full episode of the show), the promo gives us a really good set up, and it looks something like Aliens!  It's going to be Aliens with aliens in it, only... yeah, there's no way I can make that sound funny.  -_-  Still, I'm hyped for the next episode; I should rewatch the 1986 classic to properly prepare myself for it.  See you all then!  =)
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( >'.')>TO EACH THEIR OWN<('.'< )
Screengrabs taken from my video camera
Wander Over Yonder is the property of Disney
I know I've sounded overwhelmingly positive about the show any time I talked about it, but I can't help it!  It's a really feel-good show, it's got a heart of gold, it's both cute and funny, it knows how to entertain, and Wander rocks!  =)
Thank you for reading this latest Wander Over Yonder Blog, please leave a comment and I hope you have a great day; take care!


Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Little Mermaid (GB) Review

Written: September 26th-28th, 2013
(As played on the Super Game Boy)
Year: 1991, 1992 | Developed and Published by: Capcom
 
10/4/15 Update: I removed the M. Bison video (as it was taken down) and left a placeholder for it, and I also removed the entire "commercial" aspect, as I just did not find it funny anymore.  The things I do to polish the pace of my reviews.

Lately I've talked about Wander Over Yonder a lot (what with it being one of my new favorite shows and the fact that I enjoy talking about its episodes), so how do I balance it all out?  I'll review a Disney-licensed game, that's what I'll do!  Yeah, I know, that's not very clever since the series is also by Disney so bear with me.  -_-
 
You know what comes to mind for me when I think of the best animated movie that came out during the '80s?  I think of the 1982 movie The Secret of N.I.M.H. by Don Bluth, which I consider to be an all-time classic and near perfect movie (a very underrated one too).  It's got impressive-looking animation for its time (even now it looks great), offers lots of dark themes, has got great characters, lots of fantasy and magic elements abound (even though the Robert C. O'Brien source material did not imbue any magic), its got emotion and weight, a fantastic story, has its share of intense moments (yet somehow it got rated G), a sublime soundtrack by the late Jerry Goldsmith, a spine-tingling climax, and is not afraid to go the dark route without straying from its themes.  And hey, so long as it's got a happy ending, children can handle anything!  =)  ... Too bad the DTV sequel Timmy to the Rescue (which came out a whopping sixteen years later) did not follow suit and decided to pander to the least common denominator and devalue its predecessor (unless you're a fan of Eric Idle, I'd say skip it; but even then it's still not good).
But that's just my own personal opinion of which animated movie epitomized the '80s generation, and if you don't agree with my choice then that's fine; to each their own as I always exclaim.  What do you consider to be the perfect '80s animated movie?  Though that's not to say that there weren't other good animated movies during that decade as well, there definitely were (many of them have a strong cult status), in particular Disney's The Little Mermaid!
 
Having come out in late 1989, this movie was revolutionary for its time and it did so well that it helped spark the beginning of a Golden Age simply known as the "Disney Renaissance" which lasted for roughly ten years ending with the animated adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan in 1999.  And above all that it became a major hit when it was released in theatres and people fell in love with it.  The animation was some of the best that Disney showed in a very long time (since Sleeping Beauty at least), it was fun and colorful, the songs by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman were fun and endearing, the story was good, the characters were charming, the main villain was fantastic, and it was just an all-around great movie.
 
A long time after its original release date, it's still a really good movie.  I didn't see it in 1989 since I wasn't really around at the time, but I have seen it in theatres during its 1997 re-release and seeing it on the big screen really made a difference after having been introduced to it via muggy-quality VHS years prior (not to mention pretty much all movies shown in that medium were cropped up pan-and-scan versions, which for several years now has become a big no-no in my book since I'm a strong advocate of seeing movies and TV series in their intended aspect ratio like the director planned; thank God we live in an age where DVDs and Blu-Rays prosper where people can see the movies as they were meant to be seen in native widescreen as opposed to how they were forced to be seen in [sometimes cluttered] fullscreen, unless it was originally like that to begin with).  I really like The Little Mermaid, as it's got a lot of really great qualities and any time I watch it I find it enjoyable.  =)
 
It's done really well over the years, and for good reason.  Its success was so great that it's garnered a "Princess" line-up of toys, accessories, and dolls; a short-lived TV series that lasted for two years (1992-1994) which preceded the events of the movie, a harmless but so-so DTV sequel in the form of Return of the Sea, followed a harmless but surprisingly good (to a point) DTV prequel to movie number one Ariel's Beginning.  But regardless of how you feel about any of these relatives, it's just like RVGFanatic said one time: you've just got to love sequels, cause if they prove to be total bummers, hey, there's always the original you can go back to!  =)  Personally, I find that to be quite profound and it rings very true for countless series.  So riddle me this: in the early '90s Capcom decided to create a video game tie-in to the movie, originally in 1991 for the NES and the Game Boy (which is the version I'm reviewing now) the following year.  And all I've got to say about that is: why?  =\
 
I mean don't get me wrong, The Little Mermaid is a really well-crafted movie, but it's not exactly the kind of film I think of that screams "Make me a video game!  Make me a video game!".  Were there really people out there that demanded an interactive adaptation for it?  Because honestly I find that a bit head-scratching; but there is a video game adaptation nonetheless, so it's my job to review it.  And hey, considering the advent of the Diamond Edition coming out on Blu-Ray and DVD at the beginning of October, I think this is a perfect opportunity to do it, wouldn't you agree?  =)  You may have noticed that the previous two times I reviewed a Game Boy game it did not end well, and both times they got a 5.  Will The Little Mermaid be able to break that boundary?
More importantly, though, will it prove to be both better than Portable Movie Adaptation that Did Not Feature Hades in it At All Even Though He Was Referenced Often During the Cutscenes and is it better than Poor Excuse of Mickey Mouse Platformer with Same-Looking Cutscenes and Same-Sounding Dialogue Where Main Duo Wander Around Aimlessly Searching For and Ultimately Retrieving Minnie's Present but Letting Pete Get Away in the End While Contending with Frustratingly Unpolished Structure?  I can answer that with a resounding "yes", and seeing as this was actually developed by Capcom as opposed to just published by them (like the latter) I think we're in good hands here.  =)  I mean when has Capcom ever let us gamers down?  ...  You're right, I shouldn't jinx it, let's just start the review proper.  Oh, and I almost forgot:
SPOILERS (both pertaining to movie and game)
So we begin our story where I presume it takes place in the beginning of the movie, only to then take place during the second act.  Gotta love how the intro just throws its exposition at us in case any one wasn't acquainted with the feature-length film.  Also noticeable is the fact they dropped major plot points; in the movie (which itself is an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's story) sixteen-year old mermaid Ariel got infatuated with a human named Prince Eric after having seen him and saved his life.  After King Triton found out and reacted angrily, Ariel is left in tears and is told by evil eels Flotsam and Jetsam that the sea witch Ursula has lots of powers.  Ariel as a result agrees to go, but only reluctantly; Ursula agreed to turn her into a human for three whole days, but at the expense of Ariel's voice (I'll spare the uninitiated some nightmares by saying that the less you know about how Ariel originally lost her voice in the story, the better).  If she got Eric to fall in love with her within those three days, she would permanently be human otherwise she would revert to being a mermaid and become Ursula's prisoner.  Here, it's all glanced over and it doesn't seem so bad.
*waves hand* Oh hi, Scuttle!  =D  I loved your brash way of introducing yourself to Ariel in the prequel series and the unspoken cameo you made in movie three!  It was quite something!
And just so everyone knows, this is Scuttle's sole appearance in the entire game.  But it's nice to see that he at least gets one scene here.
Ursula, as you may recall from the movie, is a sea witch that's half octopus/half violet-skinned human that often conjures up spells and tricks people into turning into creepy-looking ... uhhh, whatever those things are supposed to be.  In the movie it was specified that she once worked for King Triton until she was given the royal boot, so her motivation for tricking Ariel into giving up her voice and then attempting to ruin the teenaged mermaid's chance at love is pure vengeance for the royal family.  Here: she just does this stuff 'cause she's evil.  ...  Sure!
 
*insert M. Bison "Of Course!" meme here*
 
Uhhhh, when did that happen in the movie?  |=/  'cause I'm pretty sure she did no such thing.  It's a noble thing to do but it strays so far from this game's source material.
Ah yes, because Ariel has verbally confessed to Prince Eric that she was a mermaid and a sea princess, willingly going to sea to save her friends!  I'm so glad Capcom did not miss the point of the movie whatsoever!  o_o  -_-
Oh, yeah, 'cause in the movie he begged Ariel not to go.  He also found out about her secret *clinches teeth* after Ariel became a mermaid!  *stops clinching*  I mean it's not like Ariel was taken against her will by Ursula by that time she resumed her original form, and Eric was a little slow to stop her until later... oh, wait!!!
But before that Ariel has got to deal with a few things undersea, so I hope Ursula understands her tardiness.  =<  We haven't even started the game and already there are problems; the storyline has been altered entirely, and it just deviates so much from the movie.  Frankly the game is not off to a very good start.  =(  Not a very good sign.  We open up in
STAGE 1 - SEA of CORAL
 
All right, let's start!  It's a simple enough area where a series of fish and starfish under Ursula's command... are you sure this isn't based on the prequel TV series instead?  /=(  ...try to attack Ariel on her adventure and try to serve as obstacles.  Along the way she'll come across treasure chests and alcoves which may have contents that will serve her greatly (or just extra stuff to collect). 
At the end you'll be dealing with this menacing shark that almost turned Ariel and Flounder into mincemeat in the beginning of the movie.  All he needs is a few enemies encased in bubbles thrown at him and you're good to go.  The stage will end once a fancy two-handled wine bottle slowly flows down to the center; just roll with it.  Okay, we've got that out of the way, where to next?
The sunken ship?  That was the start of the movie, where the shark was also at!  You're telling me that Capcom deliberately shifted through events just to make... it's too soon!
 
The gameplay in The Little Mermaid is simple yet intuitive, and is mostly polished.  Ariel can swim around, swim fast should you hold down the B button and be able to attack by launching attack bubbles with her tail with the A button.  I've mentioned that there were treasure chests and alcoves, but the only way to access the items is by throwing a seashell at them, push and/or rollrocks or boulders that will forcefully open them, brushing through the underwater sand, or by throwing a bubbled-in enemy on there.  Speaking of which, that's one of many ways to attack as opposed to just a seashell.  There are few moments when you'll be able to jump up a surface and gradually bounce your way through some platforms; as refreshing as that is, it's shortlived.
 
Looking in chests and alcoves will gain you certain items; such as a heart that will either give you one or two health, a life, a dinglehopper (fork), a snarfblat (pipe), or surprisingly enough a power-up.  You can only have up to three of power-up A and power-up B, and with all that power together you'll be able to amass a powerful bubble attack.  And if all comes to worse (ergo, lose a life) then simply resort to the most basic of shmup clichés (lose all power-ups).  Not that it's likely to happen here, and I'll get to why.  We then progress to
STAGE 2 - SUNKEN SHIP

Okay then.  The next area has Ariel maneuver herself around a long decrepit ship as fish, spiky fish (I'm sure they have a name but it escapes me at the moment), octopi, and fish with sails on them that make them resemble ghosts (point for creativity there) all culminating towards the abyss as Ariel fights
Flotsam and Jetsam!  Maybe an odd time to fight them considering that they never once were close to any ship in the movie, but okay I'll buy that, since they are key characters.  From time to time both of them will pop their head out of holes, so encase the crustacean crabs (who I hope are not related to Sebastian) inside the bubbles and throw them at the eeeeeevil conniving eels!  Oh, and speaking of Sebastian, here he is, having this to say to Ariel:
Eh?  0_O  Frozen?  As in Arctic/Antarctic frozen?  I don't recall any moment in the original movie when Ariel and friends were anywhere near the frozen subzero climate of the ocean but okay.  Sounds cool, I guess.
 
The visuals are good but a little on the basic side, as is the norm for most Game Boy titles at the time, but they're serviceable enough.  =)  Each area has their own unique look and style, and in some cases the backgrounds are very detailed; there are even moments when there's enough shading in the backdrop to create some depth.  That's quite nicely handled.  The enemies and bosses look good but generic, with the sole exception of Ursula who's very detailed and matches the look that she had in the movie (particularly the final confrontation).  Ariel especially looks good, for she has got smooth jumping, tail swishing, and swimming animations; I like how her hair just floats around whenever she holds still.  I enjoy tiny details like that.  The most impressive aspect of the game's visuals however are the cutscenes, for they look superbly drawn and have got so much detail and charm put into them; less impressive however is the fact the ones used between each area have got an uninteresting space in the background (save for some static bubbles), and the same image of Ariel is used very often.  On the bright side, at least some conversations are either initiated by Flounder or Sebastian so at least there's some variety.
 
STAGE 3 - SEA of ICE

As we cut to Ariel swimming in perhaps the most frozen-looking part of the game, there are moments that will take place inside sea-filled caverns.  Trying  to stop you are fish, tiny sea horses, and a few more creatures.  Considering all this, you can't help but wonder how (unless they're adapted to their environment) any creature could possibly stand this icy cold current?  =/  Once you reach the final portion you'll be fighting against
... uhhh, a cute version of the walrus Dash from the second movie?  Huh??  ...  Anyway, just throw as many seashells from the surface as you can towards it and you'll be off to the next area.  The first movie never once took place in a cold environment, but a bit of the TV series and second movie (for some part of it) did.  It's almost as if Capcom knew that the movie would be getting a sequel in roughly a decade later.
*gets head closer to monitor*
Are you time traveling, Capcom?  -_I  Because if you are, then you risk serving a lifetime in prison for breaking the number one rule of Earth and reality; never travel outside your time period!  I hate to sound harsh about all this, but time is not something you want to mess with... ever!
Well this is a Capcom game, so why not?  You can't have an ice-themed world without a fire-themed one; it must all be balanced out you see.
STAGE 4 - UNDERSEA VOLCANO

I hope no one's eyes are bleeding from all this red  =(
Things are heating up down here!  Ariel must swim her way around whilst she avoids the blasts from the volcanoes, krill, fish, fish that camouflage themselves in the sand, and crabs with knightly helmets on them.  She must work her way around so as to be careful.  Too bad she picked now to explore the area, for under different circumstances and a much more docile environment she would've stumbled upon an undersea club that was kept secret for years due the no music law BS that was made after a terrible incident occurred a very long time ago.  o_o  What?  Capcom warped up the movie's timeline and plot, it doesn't mean I'm not going to reference all things The Little Mermaid-related because of that; one has to know these things.  And isn't this exactly where the climax in the first episode of the series involving the orca whale that Ariel raised as her pet took place?  ...  Yeah, did I mention I grew up with the first two movies and the series?  =/  Anyway let's not waste anymore time dabbling with details, for now it's boss time!  Introducing
... I don't get it!  There is a fish that's got anthropomorphic qualities, acting as if he were the captain of a sunken ship, signaling cannon fire any time he lunges his stick forward.  Ummm, okay.  The ship has got two cannons protruding from it, and surprisingly they're still operational; from time to time a couple fish will pop out, but make sure you stay out of harm's way should one or both of them shoot a spiky ballfish instead.
Oooh, a maze?  Sounds intimidating!  }=O
 
Let us take this moment and discuss its music.  The original movie's soundtrack was composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, and a lot of the songs in it were engaging and fun to listen to.  The one song they picked from it serving as the title and ending music is "Under the Sea" and while I'll admit that I'm not as big a fan of that song as a lot of people are, I will concede that it's a fun number to listen to.  In the movie it was exciting, fun, and enjoyable.  So how come it sounds so somber and dramatic in this portable video game version?  It's rather distracting actually.  The rest of the songs are nice and cute, and each serve their respective areas well (even though admittedly many of them sound similar).  The boss theme isn't too shabby either, especially the final one against Ursula's final form.  The sound effects are decent, and overall the sound quality is not bad.
 
STAGE 5 - URSULA'S CASTLE

I'd make a case as to why Ariel couldn't have come here immediately after being warned of Ursula's plan of undersea world domination, but then that would've made the game a lot shorter than it already is.  I will however question why Ariel decided to come back later when she only entered it once in the movie (and that was around the end of the first act); but then in this adaptation Ariel never gave up her voice to become a human and all logic has been thrown out the window, so why complain?  In this maze-like area are a series of doorways which Ariel must pass by in specific order in order to reach Ursula.  Once that happens, it's time to face Her Villainy herself, Ursula!
The object to this fight is battle Ursula by throwing bubbled-in enemies directly at her.  From time to time she will summon her fish army via swirling spheres from her cauldron and then they will pop out and try to attack you.  Um, I didn't think too much of it until just recently, but if Ariel is out to save her fish friends... then why is she hurting them?  o_O  Isn't that a bit hypocritical as to what you're trying to accomplish here?  I'm just saying Capcom, you're starting to send mixed messages right now.
But it's not over yet, since Ursula has gotten a second wind and has decided to wage Round 2!  Never minding the fact she became big in the movie after deciding to harbor revenge on Ariel for preventing her from killing Eric and instead killing her pet eels by mistake, this is actually a good set up.  It'd be even greater if no words were spoken at all, since it ruins the dramatic feel for the climax.
And here we go!  =)  Look at Ursula, she is just towering over half of the screen!  I'll excuse the fact that Ariel ends up slaying her with bubbled enemies here as opposed to Eric in the movie via a mortal jab from a decrepit pole from piloting a boat charging towards her (and that Ariel was trapped and helpless at that point), only 'cause this just looks freakin' awesome!  =D  Ursula can even control the currents underwater, so be mindful of that.
 
And now once Ursula has kicked the bucket you'd think that it would be time to celebrate right?  Not quite for our heroine still harbors feelings for Eric and does not wish to be apart from him.
Eh heh, the movie was actually pretty subtle in this scene.  Yeah Ariel was sad and wished to be with her one true love.  She had a longing look and sigh, she was quiet about it, but she wasn't full of "tears".
What they don't show you in the movie is that after transforming her back into a human with his magic trident, King Triton reduced her to just her bare legs.  'o'  Having realized that mistake he decided to give her a bright shining dress to cover her all up.
You know, for kids!
Well at least Capcom got that part right.
That is until they gave birth to a daughter named Melody in a reverse The Little Mermaid-like plot where Melody wishes to go to the ocean but Ariel won't allow her 'cause as a baby she was almost taken by Ursula's sister Morgana (voiced by the same actress as Ursula oddly enough) so she makes a wall to keep her safe.  Things would get resolved by the end however as Melody runs away from home, trusts Morgana to turn her into a mermaid and naïvely follows her advice to take her grandfather's trident not realizing that the sea witch has ulterior motives, makes a couple of comic relief friends, learns the truth about her mother the hard way, and saves all of Atlantica and the surface world by throwing the trident back to King Triton who encases Morgana in ice, therefore inviting opportunities for people to quote Christopher Lloyd's immortal movie line with joy (you know which one I'm talking about).  Other than that though, Ariel and Eric lived happily ever after!  =)
 
So that was The Little Mermaid for the Game Boy, and even though looking back and comparing it to the movie I find it mindboggling that it was even made to begin with, I do consider it a noble attempt by Capcom to create an interactive adaptation where you take control of Ariel.  It's got the look and charm of a good Disney-licensed Capcom game, the areas are well-constructed, the music is nice to listen to, the gameplay is rather absorbing, and there is a big hint of polish in this product.  However if there's a downside to the game it's that the enemies have little to no AI in them, it's incredibly easy, and the biggest con is that it's astoundingly short.  There's nothing wrong with being an easy game so long as you've got elements that make it fun, and while it lasts it's definitely fun; however, one could not help but think that maybe there could've been more to it.
 
The game is easy in the most basic of ways, and it can be beaten in just one life if you're careful.  Many of Capcom's other Disney games, as easy as they were, had at least a bit of challenge in them and it was possible to lose at least one life if not more if you were not careful; with this game you can plow through it in your sleep since here the challenge value is marginally low.  To make things even worse in this regard, the game can be beaten in as quick as fifteen minutes if not less; the original Kirby's Dream Land took longer to beat than this!  I'm still not fond of the fact that Capcom had to alter the movie's plot in order to make a game; adding an extra area not originally in the movie or two, that I'll buy, but changing the plot is a big no-no.  With a game based on a series you can get away with that since there are so many episodes to choose from; but a movie?  If you feel like embellishing a bit, that's fine so long as the central focus in the movie is left in tact, but I didn't feel it was the case here.  As mediocre and slow-paced as Hercules on the Game Boy could be at times, at least it stayed mostly true to the core plot of the movie it was based on.
 
Even then, The Little Mermaid is still a good title on its own, it just doesn't have the high standards set by Capcom's other Disney titles in my opinion.  Short as this game may be, I'll take it over Mickey's Dangerous Chase's frustrating twenty-five to thirty-five minutes of playing time, because as easy this game is it at least has the decency of feeling polished and fun; unlike the latter as it was cheaply designed, more frustrating than fun in terms of structure, and felt oh-so repetitive in terms of cutscenes and dialogue.  Ariel's closer image may have been used often, but at least they changed the character that she spoke to once in awhile; that way it always felt fresh.
 
If I had to make a comparison to another Capcom game it would be Final Fight 2 (and don't worry I'll get to that one eventually).  I'm more lenient on this game for being so mercifully short as opposed to that beat-em up being so painfully long!  I'll gladly pick this game's fifteen minute length over Final Fight 2's grueling one-plus hour it takes to get to the end (even for a beat-em this length is very excessive).  I heard that there was also a video game adaptation of the movie made for the MegaDrive/Genesis and Game Gear by Sega, though from what I hear it is worse than Capcom's Nintendo version; I'd confirm it myself, but I haven't played it.
 
At the end of the day in the grand scheme of things this is a harmless game, and Capcom wanted to make an adaptation (as questionable as it may be) as easy and undemanding as it possibly could be; can you really blame them for that?  I still have mixed feelings on this game but I respect it as a noble attempt to appease fans of the movie.  It's got good things going for it and when all is said and done it's not bad.  If you have spare time (or are taking a small break at work should you for some reason bring a Game Boy with you) it's fun to play in short bursts, despite its issues.  If you're in the mood, this game is worth the time.  If you're expecting something bigger, than you may wish to lower your expectations and watch the movie it's based on.  The game is good, but you can't beat the original.  =)
6.5/10
( >'.')>TO EACH THEIR OWN<('.'< )
P.S.: Finally, I reviewed a Game Boy game without that accursed mediocre 5 rating!  =D  This is a momentous occasion, this calls for a celebration: DUBSTEP!!!  XD  *dances off to Muse's "Follow Me" instrumental*

P.S. 2: Regardless of how you all feel about the third movie, it did do one thing that neither of the first two movies or the TV series ever accomplished before: introduce us to Ariel's mother.  The only downside is how she died in the first few minutes of said movie during Ariel's toddler years.  Some might find the way she died tragic while others might deem it BS... to me it's for the most part sad, but I do get where the "BS" part comes from.  Although, it does explain King Triton's hatred for humans (forbidding contact with the surface world) when you think about it, since his wife died after a pirate ship had come and squashed her tail as she was saving some of her daughters from harm in the surface.

P.S. 3: Next up in my blog is my analysis on Wander Over Yonder's newest episode "The Good Deed" (which was really good), and dammit Craig McCracken, this is the second time I almost cried in the show already (five episodes in)!  Imagine that: a program by Disney that tugs at your emotional heartstrings.  I know, hard to believe!  =<  And just so everyone knows: I'm not a fanboy (that part in the commercial gag was a joke, which I hope people found funny).  =)  Just because I'm a fan of something it doesn't mean I'm obsessed or go "CoCo for Cocoa Puffs" about it; I do love Wander Over Yonder and I am a fan of that show, but a "fanboy" (not that anyone's ever called me that... at least I hope not)?  Not even close!  Gee, I hope I worded this properly; I'm also cautious and conscious about my writing when discussing moments like these, which is one of my weaknesses because I want to word these genuinely and carefully so as to give a proper idea of what I'm trying to convey.  =$

P.S. 4: Capcom's second (and last) attempt at making a video game adaptation based on a Disney movie, Disney's Aladdin for the SNES, would prove to be much superior in my humble opinion.

P.S. 5: You know what's funny?  In 1994, ex-Disney employee Don Bluth released Thumbelina (also based on a Hans Christian Anderson novel) where the titular character was voiced by Jodi Benson (as well also the case in all things The Little Mermaid), Kenneth Mars voiced Prince Cornelius' father (also a member of royalty just like King Triton in the series and first two movies), two people of different classes fall in love, it's a musical, the main character aspires to be and wants more to her life, and there are few moments that just feel so similar to or make you think of the movie The Little Mermaid.  I find it to be a funny coincidence, to be honest!  XD

P.S. 6: I know that like the Aladdin TV series that the TV series for The Little Mermaid lasted for two years, but there's a main difference.  The Little Mermaid had thirty-one episodes in just three seasons, while Aladdin amassed a whopping eighty-six episodes in just two seasons!  So yeah, Aladdin wins; hence the "The Little Mermaid was a short-lived show" comment!  =)

Thank you for reading my review!  Please leave a comment and I hope you have a great day, take care!  =)