Ooogie's Revenge is a character action game made by Capcom for the PS2 and Xbox in 2005. It serves as a sequel to the movie, telling the story of the titular revenge of Oogie Boogie and Jack Skellington's effort to stop him from becoming king of all holidays.
I feel it's prudent to discuss the combat before we move on. Being a Capcom game, one would think OR would escape the fate of many a licensed game, especially since it wasn't released in conjunction with the movie.
It kinda does, but it's still pretty lackluster, especially at first. The game has the fundamental framework of a character action title, but stumbles on a few key points that makes for a poor experience. My guess is that they made an effort to keep the game simple for kids and accidentally went too far.
The first thing that docks points is the lock-on system. It automatically locks to enemies and you can't even swap targets yourself unless you make it possible in the options screen. It's passable, but I much prefer being able to lock onto enemies myself.
This system makes it hard to hit things sometimes, not helped by the game's sluggish movement and attacks. You can't jump easily and Jack's weapon, the Soul Robber, is quite slow and cannot be cancelled with dodges.
I can't count the amount of times I was attacking a skeleton with standard attacks, saw the wind-up of another skeleton and was unable to get away in time. I find this unacceptable in a character action game.
The lock-on system and janky movement are to blame of course, but the dealbreaker is your starting Soul Robber. It's so garbage that I recommend either grinding or cheating for the upgraded one. Before I got this upgrade, which adds a third hit to your combo, damage as well as an extension to heavy moves, I found the game completely unplayable. It was ridiculous.
But once I got it, they game suddenly became acceptable. The third hit is wide instead of straight, and the damage made enemies much easier to dispose of. But since there aren't any guns, directional attacks or aerial attacks, the game remains rather simplistic.
There are some fun ideas though. The Soul Robber has a regular combo that goes up to 4 hits, with the last one launching smaller enemies. Once they're airborne, they're easy pickings for the grab attack.
With a grabbed enemy, you can slam them as long as they or the Soul Robber lasts, or just throw them at something else. You can also do a spin to build a combo and absorb shinies in the area.
That's it for regular moves, but you can charge the Soul Robber for one more. With a charge, you deal more damage for a little while and can do the Soul Spin, which is absurdly strong. It's a gigantic whirlpool of death that sucks in nearby enemies. It's fun, but it's the degenerate strategy for many battles, so it quickly becomes boring.
If you taunt an enemy, something interesting happens. You get a charge, plus an exclamation point (for rank) and the enemy goes into Oogie mode, healing them and making them tougher. But if you're quick with the Soul Spin and don't get interrupted (which happens easily), you can keep them from transforming.
It's a fun idea, but the taunt seems to only trigger on enemies outside of attacks and the range of it is poor, making it unreliable. And you only get the Soul Spin or more damage, so it isn't that interesting. Hell, if you want boosted damage, you're better off popping a Blue Soul.
Rounding off the combat are the two suits Jack has. One would think the Pumpkin King would be his Devil Trigger, but it's closer in usage to the DT explosion in DMC3. It runs on very rare Red Souls, dealing damage with a flamethrower attack or an explosion. The explosion is much stronger than the flamethrower, making the suit equal parts boring and useful.
It's needed for a few puzzles and since you can easily run out of Red Souls due to their rarity and the usefulness of the explosion, you have to backtrack to the shop in order to buy more. And if you don't save some for the final boss, you lock yourself out of a fighting strategy! That sucks, and the game would have been much better off if it had a Pumpkin King meter filled by combat instead.
Santa Jack isn't worth much either. The gimmick is that you can throw presents at enemies for special effects. They are pretty lackluster outside of the standard one, which surprises enemies for an exclamation point and neutralizes Oogie mode. It's interesting when combined with taunts, but the game doesn't reallly feel designed for it, mindless mashing works pretty well.
It's main purpose is to disable springloaded enemies in containers, of which there are a lot. They only serve to drag the pace down and I despise them, especially when they respawn and surprise you.
The combo system is pretty limiting too. It's only built on number of hits and fades fast, making it hard to keep a good combo going unless you spam the spin. And once you get going, there isn't much keeping you from spamming your way to a high number.
I'm not kidding when I'm saying that this game is a DMC game with the numbers filed off. You get DT:ed enemies, the protagonist offering his thoughts on examined items, Nero's distance grab, secret arenas and missions, 4 blue things making somehing useful, a result screen judging you on time, damage and combos and even a giant spider associated with a bunch of smaller spiders.
It's really freaky for someone familiar with the DMC games, especially since they recycled the Soul Robber for Nero's Devil Bringer in DMC4. I shouldn't be surprised, since there multiple shared people between the games.
Same thing holds true for Bayonetta, as a few of her moves are based on Jack's. The dodge that ends in a long recovery if you spam it and the taunt that makes enemies harder, to be precise. It's so weird!
Seeing as the movie is a musical, it isn't surprising that they tried to represent the music in some way. Many songs serve as battle music, which doesn't really fit and gets old fast. Kingdom Hearts wins in this regard.
The songs also seem to be remade with a few different singers, which kinda sucks. But they also recycle songs with new lyrics, which is pretty fun.
The best parts of the game is when you get into a dance battle with a boss. One piece of the movie soundtrack (or a new song, which is pretty good) plays as Jack sings with the boss. It's an awesome spectacle. Your attacks cause notes to spawn and when you collect enough, you trigger a rhythm game with accompanying dancing. Once it's done, you deal critical damage to the boss and resume fighting.
The bosses aren't that great, but the presentation works wonders. The three battles you get with Oogie Boogie are the highlight, him and Jack have such good chemistry.
As previously stated, Jack can't jump. That's not actually true, you can technically do it by spamming dodge, but that's only useful in two places. Instead, you use the Soul Robber to pull Jack for you to platforms. I think this was done to not subject kids to DMC platforming, which is nice. But I don't think that's worth the loss of the jump's combat versatility. Not to mention the fact that Jack shouts ”Soul Robber” EVERY TIME YOU USE THE GRAB IN AND OUTSIDE OF COMBAT. HE EVEN DOES IT IN A CUTSCENE!
The world is designed with Halloween Town Square as its center, which means that it's easier to navigate than a DMC game. But this comes at the cost of serious backtracking. And in certain missions, it isn't even feasable to backtrack to the shop in town, which sucks, since the upgrades are so vital. Doing a few of the ”puzzle” missions without an upgraded Santa Jack is torture. Fuck the vampire bats, by the way.
And don't get me started on the teleporter maze in the Hinterlands that you have to backtrack through, ugh.
The game really goes out of its way to represent just about every aspect and location from the film, which is commendable. I'm not a fanboy of the film, but it's really cool to see the enviroments up close.
It's also interesting to compare this game to the way the movie is represented in Kingdom Hearts. The levels are much larger and detailed, but are a bit of a slog to walk through. And both feature a giant Ooogie Boogie fight, hmm.
Not many western musicals get put into two different Japanese action games like this. It's pretty cool to see. Les Miserables fighting game when? Oh.