The Muppets: On With the Show!
Cindy Chapman (June 13, 2003) - Unlike the previous Muppet Game Boy games, TDK Mediactive's “The Mupets: On With the Show” is on a totally different level on nearly every aspect. The graphics are quite superior to the original Muppets Game Boy release in 2000. This game also appears to be geared to a little younger age level.
There is no lengthy storyline introduction. The game is exactly like the title suggests. Just like the Muppet Show is made up of various scenes that feature different characters, this game follows the same pattern. Each “scene” is actually a different mini-game in which you are required to achieve different goals. All of the scenes are timed skill games except the Electric Mayhem and the bonus levels. The Great Gonzo is the only racing level. Once the successful completion of each level is attained, the harder levels are unlocked. There are three stages: easy, medium, and hard. The “scenes” increase in difficulty as each level is completed. The two bonus levels are opened once the hard stage is completed.
Each “scene” begins with a brief introduction with the characters explaining (through text) how the scene takes place. Each scene ends with Statler and Waldorf heckling from the balcony.
Kermit’s Banjo Bayou Serenade
Introduction: Kermit is backstage holding his banjo and talking with four Muppet musician frogs about the next scene. Miss Piggy is in the balcony looking on. The four frogs explain that there might be a few extras playing along with them during Kermit's Banjo Bayou Serenade.
Scene/Game: Kermit sits in a boat with his banjo while the four other Muppet frogs are sitting on the banks playing their instruments. Kermit must avoid the various obstacles in the water such as bobbing penguins and snorkeling chickens within the allotted time. Occasionally Fozzie will drift by and Miss Piggy will barrel her way through and will immediately sink Kermit’s boat if he’s in the way. Kermit can collect “musical notes” that provide him with spinning power to avoid the chickens and penguins, but the notes won’t work against Piggy. As the game increases in difficulty obstacles begin to move much faster and Piggy pops up more frequently.
The Swedish Chef Cooking Hour
Introduction: Rizzo and a rat friend are backstage discussing just how hungry they are when Kermit introduces the Swedish Chef scene.
Scene/Game: The Chef stands behind the counter with various ingredients in front of him like fish, a jack-o-lantern, a boot, a bowling ball, etc. Rizzo and his friend attempt to steal the various ingredients from the front of the counter and the Chef must hit the rat with his trusty iron skillet before they take any food. The two rats are quite comical as they come up with their own unique way of trying to outsmart the Chef. Things get really exciting when the Chef picks up a second skillet and can do twice the hitting. The Chef must also avoid the chickens that pop up on the side and throw eggs at him. Once the Chef has held off Rizzo and his friend he shows off the dishes he has prepared with the remaining ingredients. As the game increases in difficulty the rats and flying eggs speed up.
Introduction: While Bunsen explains his latest invention, the Mix-Rific Maxi Mixer, Beaker accidentally dumps trash into the machine. Bunsen orders Beaker to quickly remove all the bad ingredients while he tries to turn off the frantic machine.
Scene/Game: Beaker works to toss the bad items that come across on a conveyer belt. Along with all the trash though are beakers of green liquid that are required to go into the machine so Beaker must be careful not to toss those. Although the player only manipulates Beaker, Bunsen is seen in the background frantically trying to turn off the machine. Beaker must also try to avoid steam that comes out of the machine occasionally as it will slow him down and may cause him to miss some pieces of garbage. Trash comes more frequently while beakers of green fluid become sparse as the game increases in difficulty.
Gonzo’s Stunt Race
Introduction: Gonzo backstage discusses his wild and dangerous commute to the theatre. Kermit then introduces Gonzo for his next “ridiculous” stunt.
Scene/Game: This racing game (similar to Nintendo's classic Excitebike) has Gonzo on a race track trying to hit as many targets as possible. At each increasing level the targets will change from hay bales to birthday cakes to bowling pins. Gonzo can also collect bonus points by hitting balloons. However, Gonzo needs to avoid spikes in the road, brick walls, balls and other obstacles. Each obstacle hit causes his vehicle to start wearing down and smoke just a little more. Gonzo can renew the life of his vehicle by collecting the wrenches along the track to fix it. Chickens sit in the audience and cheer Gonzo on. The final target at the end of the race sends Gonzo flying through the air. Obstacles become more frequent and tricky as the game increases in difficulty.
Introduction: Bunsen, Beaker and Kermit are backstage demonstrating Bunsen’s Dino-Door time machine, when suddenly the machine door opens and a huge dinosaur pig. Upon seeing Kermit, this oversized hog hijacks him for the next scene.
Scene/Game: Miss Piggy must battle for her frog. The scene has a renaissance feel as Kermit is held captive atop a stone ledge. Miss Piggy must use her karate chop to thwart boulders and dinosaur bones that the dino hog throws her way. Meanwhile, Piggy must avoid falling debris and the hand mirror that the dino hog throws. If the hand mirror is caught Miss Piggy becomes distracted and will be hit. If the dino hog is defeated Piggy finally gets her man, Kermit. Boulders come faster and more frequently as the game increases in difficulty.
Electric Mayhem Band
Introduction: Janice, Floyd and Animal are backstage getting ready to be introduced on stage. Floyd asks if they are ready to rock and Animal responds with "Rock! Rock!" Kermit stands in front of the famous red curtain and announces that "It's time to give it up and get down with the Electric Mayhem!"
Game/Scene: The Electric Mayhem is on stage, noticeably without Zoot. A few extra chickens and penguins are thrown in for good measure. The band begins to rock and the player must watch the pattern of rim shots and guitar strums. The song is played once again and the player must exactly replicate the pattern of musical riffs. The song gets more challenging as it increases in tempo and more riffs are added.
Bonus levels are unlocked once all the games/scenes have been completed in easy, medium and hard stages. Once unlocked, bonus levels can be accessed through the activities menu.
Fozzie Bear: Fozzie is back on stage and he’s telling the worst jokes ever. The player must move Fozzie so that he avoids falling fruit and other debris. This is similar to the Misslike Command-like parody first seen in 1996 on Muppets Inside.
Pigs In Space: The Swine Trek takes off again and it’s headed right toward a meteor shower. The player must move this space capsule around the flying asteroids to avoid being hit.
Although the bonus games lacked the same excitement and thrill as the other games, it’s still a nice way to pass the time. The various games aren’t extremely challenging which makes it nice for the younger players. Most adults will still prefer Muppet RaceMania and Muppet Pinball Mayhem. However, nice graphics and attention to Muppet details makes “The Muppets: On With the Show!” a pleasing and entertaining game. Be on the lookout for TDK Mediactive's next Muppet release this fall, "Muppets Party Cruise" for the PlayStation 2 and the Gameboy Advance.