Weekly Little Big Planet: yes, have some

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November. Time for Starbucks to roll out the Xmas cups. Eff that. I’m sticking with Halloween for one more week.

Haunted Halloween. Like last week’s featured community level, this one is an entry for the LBN Platforming Perils contest. Also like last week’s level, the music here is questionable. Unlike last week’s level music it’s not terrible, though, just confusing and annoying. Confusing because the first half of the level is accompanied by the song Thriller and the second half by Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters theme song, and I don’t know how a community designer can use those songs and avoid falling into a licensing quagmire. Annoying because these are terrible synth versions of the songs, with some dude doing an amateur rendition of the Thriller read. Please…don’t do that. I beg you. Note to designers: voicing your own level is always a bad idea. Doing so while aping Vincent Price, a crime.

Music aside, the level is a decent platformer and has some really cool images. I just don’t understand why the Ghostbusters theme song is shoehorned into it. You can pay homage to the movie without subjecting us to that horrible song.

After the jump, listen, do you smell something?

Ghostbusters: The Slime-brary does just that. Again, as with a Jurassic Park level I highlighted a few weeks ago, I have no idea how LBP community level designers get away with using things like the Ghostbusters name–even with the little ‘R’ in the circle after it–or the line-through-the-ghost logo. Maybe it’s just a matter of volume, or low profile. Maybe cease-and-desist letters are on their way. I have no idea. For this sake of this level, I hope not, because Ghostbusters: The Slime-brary does fine by the license.

It doesn’t overdo it. After Egon greets you at the start of the level, providing you with the Proton-inator hat thingy that you use to zap books and card catalogue ghosts, you don’t run into any other characters from the movie. The music of the film doesn’t intrude, and the designer doesn’t feel the need to show how clever he is by constantly slipping in quotes from the movie. I hate it when they do that. It’s another writer’s line! Do you really think it makes you look clever to use it in your piece? Seriously. Write something original instead of quoting the words of other writers so much. Sheesh!

Moving on.

While I appreciated the fact that Slime-brary went for a creepy music vibe and did not give me a lame cover of the Ghostbusters theme song, Haunted Halloween still wins out for this week’s featured level. It shouldn’t. It really shouldn’t. Just thinking of that awful synthesizer–which for some reason is being played by a drunken Will Ferrell in my head–makes my skin crawl. In the end, though, I liked the gameplay and aesthetic of Haunted Halloween just a smidge more. It’s hard to explain why in words, so let me provide one final image.

Those weird green hands just ice it for me. They creeped me out, and if you run into them they will kill you.

You can’t go wrong with either level, to be sure. Just do yourself a favor and turn down the music once again. In fact, for a bonus recommendation to go along with the score music I suggested as replacement for last week’s level’s horrid soundtrack throw on Howard Shore’s Silence of the Lambs score. I haven’t listened to it in a long time, but I’m reminded of its greatness as I watch Red Dragon in preparation for the upcoming movie podcast (Tower Heist) and suffer through the awfulness of Danny Elfman’s score for that film.

Quite off-the-cuff I give you this week’s tip, then…always put on better music.

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