"Put down that controller and PLAY!"
If you've never thought you'd get a work-out playing video games, think again. Sony's newest creation for PS2 is going to blow you away! The Eye Toy camera gets you off the couch and into the game. Yup, that's right. Your body movement controls everything to do with the game including setting options and selecting the game to play. With 12 strangely addicting games you'll be Kung Fu fighting like there's no tomorrow! So put down that controller and PLAY!
The graphics in this game are quite simple but highly effective. The key to the graphics is the USB camera you attach in order to play. The Eye Toy camera tracks your movement during the game while displaying you on the TV as a character in the game - the main character! Installing the Eye Toy camera is as simple as plugging in a controller - you just plug it in. There was no further setup required to make the camera work - this is a big plus, plug and play is always best!
The only downfall with the camera is the light requirement. In order to get the most out of your camera you must have a decent quality central light source; a light overhead would be best. My house has floor lamps and I was forced to re-arrange them drastically to achieve the central light source I needed. All I could do was move them to the sides of my playing space, but that was not really enough. The camera is quite sensitive to light in front of it and the playing area and too much will cause the entire game screen to be "whited" out. Put the light too far behind the camera and you are looking at a black screen. Even with the "Dim Room" option set, achieving an adequately lit environment was quite tricky. My suggestion would be to use a higher quality camera that could adjust and compensate for low light situations or perhaps include some small lighting apparatus to assist the camera lighting conditions.
Just like the graphics, the sound in the games is simple but highly effective. From a crisp chopping sound in Kung Fu to squeaky clean windows and rockin' disco tunes you'll feel even more in the game when you hear them. The other sounds will be those of laughter erupting from your living/rec room while you and your friends watch each other jump around like crazy! It's so fun you'll forget to stop.
The gameplay in this one is directly affected by the quality of the lit environment. As such poor lighting will destroy your game play and make you more frustrated than you can imagine. However, have a good lighting source and you'll be so enthralled with the games you'll never sit down. Actually you will sit down to rest - I know I did ;)
I started playing Kung Fu - the first few games were difficult. It took a while to get my bearings and find the proper field of movement for the camera - kinda like getting used to that new controller you got for Christmas ;) Once I had it I was far more successful - although after level 4 you have a hard time keeping up with all those tiny Kung Fu'ers and it's curtains. The fun thing I found was I could head butt them, punch them, chop them or simply elbow them and they would go flyin'. Really, really fun. My wife doesn't like video games at all and she couldn't stop playing - we played for over 3 hours that night....she's hooked!
Moving on, there are 11 other games on the Eye Toy PLAY disc of which only 7 or 8 more I've played. Window washing is quite fun and incredibly tiring. After about 5 windows your arms feel about ready to fall off! There is a soccer challenge where you have to head the ball to keep it up - knees and hands are of course allowed. One of my other favourites was boxing. What I like about it was the realism of being in the ring. You position yourself sideways to the TV and take up your boxing stance. The bell rings and you're fighting an animated character on the screen - kinda like being in an animated feature! When I was done boxing I just about passed out. I boxed 4 rounds and by the end was completely pooped. What a workout!! I've never been so tired from a video game in my life ;)
If you're feeling saucy you can create your own profile which will allow you to save 3 head shots - one for your happy, sad and silly moods. Once you've created your profile you can record a video message for a friend - this feature is quite interesting. Currently you save the message to your memory card and exchange that with your friend to deliver the message. However I can see when we'll be able to create the video message and deliver it over the web via my Ethernet adapter. Quite cool indeed!! Wonder when that'll happen....maybe next version ;)
The Eye Toy and Eye Toy PLAY hits a serious home run with me! Many people's biggest complaint about video games is their passive nature. I believe that more interactive games like Eye Toy will help contribute to a change in people's perception of video games. Not only did Eye Toy get my wife to play a video game but more importantly it got me off the couch and into the action. This game is an absolute must have! If you have a PS2 or your kids do, you should definitely pick up this little gem and slip it under the tree this Christmas - your loved ones won't regret it ;-)
Platform: PlayStation 2