You’ll be happy — or saddened, depending on whether you have the same twisted idea of entertainment that I do — to learn that tonight’s game will be the last Barbie game for awhile, until such time that I happen to procure another Barbie game that A) is not yet in MobyGames, or B) is already in the database, but that I genuinely want to play. What?
Yeah, you read that right — unless there’s a Barbie game that I actually care to try my hand at. Tonight’s game — Secret Agent Barbie — already has a very complete record with a good description, diverse set of screenshots, and complete credits. But I admit that I want to see what this is about. After all, I’m a moderate fan of sneaking games like Metal Gear Solid. And after a week of metaphorically eating my vegetables by playing Barbie titles for MobyGames, I hope this tastes like dessert.
As the name implies, Barbie does a stint at an espionage agency. The agency goes unnamed. And they don’t really fight international threats. Mostly, they seem to investigate theft incidents that occur in the world of high fashion. Really, the organization seems more like a private investigator’s office with an extravagant clothing budget.
Clothing, you should know, plays a significant role in anything Barbie. This game is no different. Barbie has to change clothes every time she switches into a different game mode. There are 3 such modes — action (where Barbie can run and jump, onto crates, for example), adventure (where Barbie can walk casually and talk to people), and stealth (where Barbie can crouch as she walks and can also do a roll).
Clothing and guards– guards also play a significant role in the game. The game features extensive VR training for all 3 modes in which much of the focus is how to deal with guards. In stealth mode, the player is taught to perform a tumble-roll directly in the guard’s field of vision. Sure enough, he doesn’t notice you. In the adventure/talky mode, the player is instructed to use the makeup compact. After the guard gruffly warns that you are not allowed to pass, take out the compact and blow the contents in the guard’s face. Then casually wander past him. I guarantee that Barbie has never been more reprehensible than when she executes this maneuver.
But I wanted to give this game the old college try. After the cursory, hand-holding training, the agency receives word that a famous fashion designer has had her designs stolen from the major New York fashion show, apparently held in Central Park. So Barbie ‘chutes in to investigate. The game immediately goes to action/jumping mode. In Central Park. Why?
Crates, that’s why. Stacked meters high in central park. Amidst fields whose “keep off grass” signs must be backed with deadly force. Old Man Murray would be proud (see Crate Review System).
So I wandered around the high fashion tent in Central Park and immediately found an invitation to a fashion show in Paris. This meant that Barbie had to go make a trip to that fashion mecca. Which is about the time that the banality thwarted any further interest. Obviously, all the missions are going to be extremely cut & dried– go to this location, avoid guard, find item; go to that location, use gadget, distract guard, find code; keep repeating. I mean, this is is so unlike Metal Gear Solid where Solid Snake is instructed to go to some location, avoid the guards, gather some item; then go to another location, use gadget… wait… ummm… well, at least Solid Snake doesn’t change his outfit all the time… no, wait, in parts 3 and 4, he is constantly changing camouflage as a key aspect of the game.
Look, at least the Metal Gear Solid series has big, cool robots, a feature notably missing from this game… probably. I didn’t really play far enough. Frankly, if this game featured a final fashion contest against a giant fashion robot, I might have to qualify it as being even better than a Metal Gear Solid game.
- Barbie as Princess Bride
- Barbie as Rapunzel
- Barbie as Sleeping Beauty
- Barbie Magic Genie Bottle
- Barbie Beach Vacation