The Quarter Bin

Videos, Reviews, and Previews For Comic Fans

E3 10: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Posted by Sarah LeBoeuf On June - 18 - 2010

Between the long-awaited sixth and final graphic novel, the movie, and the downloadable video game, I would like to go ahead and declare the next few months the Summer of Scott Pilgrim.

There’s plenty of Scott Pilgrim to go around this summer, and that’s just fine by me. I’ve long been a fan of the romantically challenged slacker and his quest to win the eternal love of Ramona Flowers by defeating her seven evil exes. Just like the movie of the same name, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World on the PSN and XBLA will tackle all seven books; only this time around, Scott will have a lot of help beating anything that stands in his way.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a side-scrolling beat-em-up not unlike The Simpsons Arcade Game, or plenty of others that follow the same formula. It’s designed to look like an 8-bit NES game, which is perfect within the context of the comic series. Each level pits up to four characters from the Scott Pilgrim universe against a variety of foes, finally meeting up with one of the aforementioned evil exes in a grand boss fight. At E3, I played through the first level with one of the game’s developers, who was also clearly a huge Scott Pilgrim fan. When selecting characters, I went with Ramona herself, who was sporting bright blue hair. He chose Kim Pine, Scott’s longtime friend and drummer in the band Sex Bob-Omb, and we embarked upon the first level.

As far as the actual gameplay goes, the formula hasn’t changed much from other games in the genre. The characters can use quick, light attacks, or deploy stronger attacks that take longer. There are also special attacks and a variety of items that can be picked up along the way and used as items. The game is littered with plenty of references that fans of the comic will be able to appreciate, and the art style really makes Scott Pilgrim stand out. A mix of 8-bit-inspired graphics and cut scenes designed by Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley, the game looks wonderful, and it’s awesome to see the black-and-white comic book brought to life in this way. Little touches, like a bonus area very reminiscent of Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road filled with flying pigs and intentional missing pixels, really go a long way towards making Scott Pilgrim a very unique installment in a fairly crowded genre. Like the comic, this game is full of references to other video games.

At the end of the level, we encountered Ramona’s first evil ex, Matthew Patel, as well as his harem of demon hipster chicks. Since this encounter in the book is set up as a video game-style scuffle, that lent itself perfectly to an actual boss fight. Since Matthew is only the first boss, he wasn’t terribly tough to beat, though the demon hipster chicks were appropriately annoying. After the fight was over, he exploded into a handful of coins, which can be used to purchase items in the game.

Though video game adaptations of other properties are usually questionable, this one seems to have been handled with care, and the influence of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s story and artwork can be felt throughout. It may not follow the story exactly—the comic series doesn’t actually have four characters roaming the streets and beating up everyone in their path—it’s a great way to tell the story of Scott Pilgrim in an interactive medium. Let the Summer of Scott Pilgrim commence.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World will be out on the PlayStation Network on August 10, with an Xbox Live Arcade version coming later this year.

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