Secret Saturdays: Beasts of the 5th Sun
Publisher: D3PUBLISHER
Rating: Everyone +10
Price: $39.99       To Order:
Platform(s): Wii

The game is introduced by an awesome half human, half robot who evokes Aztec history and prophecies about the end of a cycle of suns and the beginning of a new era - "The 5th sun". The mood is set - ominous, foreboding, as the speaker intones, "Are you afraid of the dark?" and I only wished that this impressive beginning would have carried through to the game. But then, this side scroller action game originates from a Cartoon Network kid's show.

Zak's last name is Saturday and he is the son of a family of scientists engaged in searching out and protecting Cryptids - strange looking non-humans. Some of them have become Zak's friends - Zon, Komodo and Fiskerton, and they fortunately have special skills that Zak can use to his advantage when dealing with enemies. Zak does have "The Claw" which is like Luke having the Force. This is a grappling hook that works not only at an angle, but also straight-up onto ceilings. Why haven't they thought of this before?

The game begins with the encyclopedia of Cryptids, the Crypticon, being stolen and the Saturdays and their pet cryptids go out to retrieve this valuable tome. Meanwhile, Zac scans the cryptids he finds into his own Crypto book. Scanned cryptids can either be stunned so that gates can be passed or controlled to aid in fighting. There are a gazillion cryptids to find and catalogue plus the arch-villain boss from the opening screen. Lots of fighting and grappling here - no time to be afraid..

There is not one jot of information in the manual about what players can look forward to in the game; no list of good guys, bad guys, weapons, hazards, levels. Controls are mapped to the Wii controller images. In-game instructions flash on once, never to return. Can it be that the producer imagines that everyone knows about and has played the Saturdays?

Games that are patterned on the Cartoon Network shows are much like games from movies - almost always a bit disappointing.