Game Over Online ~ Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Potion Commotion

GameOver Game Reviews - Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Potion Commotion (c) Ubi Soft, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Potion Commotion (c) Ubi Soft
System Requirements Game Boy Advance
Overall Rating 58%
Date Published Friday, September 27th, 2002 at 03:59 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Potion Commotion is undeniably a tongue-twister for the Game Boy Advance. It's based on, if you haven't guessed it already, the spells and witchcraft show on television with charming Sabrina and the talking cat. Many of these female-lead television shows launched near the turn of the century when films like Erin Brockovich were hot and feminism was in vogue. Now, if a show were launched, it'd probably be about war, dark clouds and impending storms. But Commotion is the opposite of that. It's a cheery game, light like a soufflé. Unfortunately, while it may possess a long and complex title, it's anything but a long and complex game.

It turns out the developers stuck by with a conservative Game Boy Advance motif. Commotion is a side-scrolling action-adventure title. It's not heavy on action but features the requisite platform jumping sequences and obstacles to make Sabrina's life difficult. You're guided by Salem, the black cat who shows you the ropes at first and pretty much acts as your guardian angel. You go around collecting pieces of parchment that contribute to a witch's spell and there's a modicum of character progression in that Sabrina becomes increasingly powerful with each spell she learns.

The goal, however, of the entire game is to collect items that will make a potion to save the world from Aunt Hilda's wily destructive spells. Aunt Hilda, according to the story, is stuck in a bind for romance. And why wouldn't she? She looks hideous and got kicked off the show too so I imagine this is one of her scheming ways to get back into the television show. At any rate, the problems all ensue out of her desire to find the perfect guy, which sets up the impetus for Sabrina and Salem's own little romp.

There are four different thematic worlds to go through and each is divided into four more stages to give a total of sixteen levels. Commotion punctuates the platform action with prosaic mini puzzles. For example, while you're jumping around to collect pieces of spells, you also get to partake in a friendly game of concentration. Yes, it's that concentration where you flip cards and try to find matching pairs.

The audio and visuals in Commotion are actually not bad. However, the dialogue and scripting is. This attacks one of the most important precepts of the Sabrina franchise. The quintessential reason why shows like Sabrina, Charmed and Buffy continue to do so well on television is because of the smart, chic and clever dialogue. Unfortunately, the tête-à-tête between Salem and Sabrina here doesn't exhibit any of the chemistry found on the show. Some sound bites might have helped and after seeing a phenomenal and riveting narrative play out on the Game Boy Advance (here, I'm referring to Broken Sword), there's really no excuse to skimp on the dialogue just because you have limited real estate.

Taken out of context, Commotion is a fairly bland platform game that is interspersed with mini-games that manage to turn out even blander. Given that prospect, this is one witch hunt that I'd be willing to pass up on. If I wanted to play concentration, I could do so in comfort on a PDA or cell phone. After all this commotion (pun intended), I'm reminded of Henry James' horror novel, The Turn of the Screw, when they're describing both the governess and the housekeeper as a witch's brew versus a clear sauce pan. You all know what that metaphor suggests when they're put together. Commotion is decidedly the clear sauce pan.


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