A Bug's Life is a video game based on the Disney·Pixar film of the same name. It was released for various systems between 1998 and 1999. The game's storyline is similar to that of the movie, with a few changes. After completing levels the player can unlock real clips from the movie. A Game.com version was cancelled.
Though the film was Roddy McDowall's final theatrical performance, the game was his final work overall before his passing.
A Bug's Life is a platform game with different goals in each of 15 levels. Most of the goals deal with getting the main character, Flik, to do events that match the storyline of the movie. When the player finishes a level, that player can proceed to the next level. Each new level starts with a new short animation from the movie. If the player collects all of the bonus items in a level, that player gets a bonus movie. Bonus items include 50 pieces of grain, four letters that spell F-L-I-K (like the Tarzan N64 game) and permanently finishing off each enemy bug. To guide the player through the levels there are little floating telescopes that will show the player areas to go to.
Throughout each level are a variety of types of seeds. Some seeds are partially buried in the ground. These seeds can be transformed by Flik into a specific kind of plant that can help him solve problems within the levels. Flik can increase the number of plants he can grow by collecting colored tokens scattered throughout the levels, with a token's color determining what type of plant can be grown with it. Some levels also included Flik's harvesting invention (hidden somewhere in the level) which can be used to collect grain and kill off enemy bugs.
Obtainable throughout all the levels are a series of berries which can be thrown at enemies in order to kill them. How long the enemies stay dead, once hit, depends on the kind of berry Flik throws at it.
RED BERRY These are the weakest berries, and the berries that the player starts off with. These berries will destroy most of Flik's enemies after several repeated blows. The red berry is useless against grasshoppers. Enemies that are killed with the red berry disappear temporarily.
SUPER BERRY The superberry is a blue berry, and the next most-powerful berry. It has all the same properties of a red berry, except for two things. One, the player needs to find and collect it, in order to use it. Two, the super berry will kill every kind of enemy in the game, including grasshoppers, if enough of the berries are thrown at them. Enemies that are killed with the super berry disappear temporarily.
HOMING BERRY The homing berry is green, and the third most-powerful berry. Like the super berry, it is strong enough to kill any enemy that enough of the berry is thrown at. The difference, though, is that the homing berry will lock in on the nearest enemy once it is thrown. For this reason, the homing berry is effective for attacking enemies at longer distances than the super berry and red berry. If the distance from Flik and the nearest foe is too far, the homing berry won't be able to find the enemy when it is thrown. Enemies that are killed with the homing berry disappear temporarily.
MEGA HOMING BERRY The mega homing berry is purple, and the second most-powerful berry in the game. It homes in on the nearest enemies, when thrown, just like the green homing berry, but the mega homing berry can do so more accurately, and at a much farther distance than the homing berry can. With the mega homing berry, a hit is guaranteed. Enemies that are killed with the mega homing berry disappear temporarily.
GOLD BERRY The gold berry is the most powerful berry in the game. It lacks the ability to home in on its foes when thrown like the green and purple berries. When collected, a ration appears at the bottom of the screen which shows the number 0 over how many enemies there are in the level (ex: Anthill: 0/21). The player is, then, expected to proceed to destroying all the enemies in the level. This is optional. Enemies that are killed with the gold berry disappear forever.
The player starts out each level with the red berry, and so, there is no way to collect it. With one exception, however: In the boss stage with Molt, other ants throw red berries at you, attempting to aid you in your fight. This, of course, is detrimental to your task, because red berries can not kill Molt, as he is a grasshopper. There are only two ways to collect the super berry, homing berry, mega homing berry, and gold berry: (1) by finding the actual berry somewhere in the level or (2) collecting purple tokens, turning a seed purple, cracking it open, and obtaining the resulting berry that way. The player requires one purple token to obtain a super berry from seed, two purple tokens to obtain a homing berry, three purple tokens to obtain a mega homing berry, and four purple tokens to obtain a gold berry. Some levels do not contain certain berries, and so, the only way to get those berries, then, is to collect enough purple tokens to get that berry from a seed.
There is a way to obtain, not the gold berry itself, but something equivalent to the gold berry. Flik's grain machine is present in certain levels. If the player finds the machine and puts it on, the machine, if it touches any enemy, will destroy them forever, and count their death toward the score they would have if they had obtained a gold berry. The machine is also handy in collecting grain at distant ranges. When Flik is in the machine, he can't jump.
Several bosses are encountered during the game:
- The Bird
- Mr. Soil
- Tuck and Roll
- Blueberry Scouts
- Armour Plated Beetles
- Daddy Long Legs
- Dave Foley
- Roddy McDowall
- Hayden Panettiere
- David Hyde Pierce
- Joe Ranft
- Nick Jameson
- Jonathan Harris
- Madeline Kahn
- Bonnie Hunt
- Brad Garrett
- Mike McShane
- Jack Angel
- Laurie Ann Schillinger
- Richard Kind
- Jodi Benson
- Andrew Stanton
The PlayStation version of A Bug's Life received poor reviews. IGN gave it a 4/10 score, criticizing the gameplay as slow and awkward but praising the presentation as cinematic.GameSpot gave the game a 2.7/10, cocnluding that it was "obvious that Disney was more interested in producing a $40 advertisement for its movie than in developing a playable game." The Nintendo 64 version received a more positive reception. IGN gave it a score of 6.8/10 overall, praising the presentation and sound by stating "It was upbeat, cheery look and feel very much like the movie of the same name with cheery, happy tunes and strong sound effects but again criticised the gameplay by saying the controls were sluggish with stuttering framerate and tired gameplay mechanics".
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