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Glover Preview

Publisher - Hasbro Interactive
Developer - Interactive Studios
Platform - N64
Release Date - October 1998
Type - Platform

Developed by Interactive Studios, Glover marks Hasbro's first game for the Nintendo 64 and thankfully it's not a racer. It's a 3D platformer in the style of Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. Certainly it has a lot to live up to if it plans to compete and Interactive Studios is relying on clever character design and fine-tuned gameplay mechanics to make Glover a contender.

The Story
"Far away in an enchanted land lives a wise old wizard..." begins the game in typical platform fashion. Of course, the great wizard encounters a problem when a spell gone bad explodes sending his two magic gloves soaring out the castle window and lost below. Without his gloves, the wizard cannot mix the potions that maintain order in the kingdom. Furthermore, whereas one of the wizard's gloves is flung safely to the village below, the other lands directly in an evil cauldron and is changed forever. Worse yet, the kingdom's primary source, seven magic crystals, are also thrown free of the castle after the blast, but not before they're turned into balls to break the fall, and must be recovered to restoe law and order.

The remaining good glove, Glover, sets out to retrieve the seven crystals and make things right again, unaware that the evil glove is working to foil his good deeds. And so the game continues...

Lending a Hand
Players take control of Glover as he searches to recover the seven crystals, which have transformed themselves into balls, and guide them back to the safety of the wizard's castle. Glover can walk about on his fingers, but the odd character works at his best using the balls to his advantage. Players control the glove with the analog stick and make him run on his fingers, jump, swim, and so forth.

Using the N64 controller's buttons, Glover can juggle the ball to evade enemies, roll it forward, run on top of it to traverse lakes, dribble it to reach areas high up and shoot the ball to new platforms or to keep it away from enemies. Using the balls correctly requires quite a bit of strategy and it's a refreshing alternative to the usual run/jump mechanics of the standard platform game. Even better, Glover can use magic spells to turn the rubber ball into different shapes, such as a bowling ball (use it to smash boxes and stun enemies), a metal ball (it sinks and rolls fast on all terrains) or a crystal (gives you double the points, but shatters easily). There are also some hidden balls in the game.

Visually, the game looks very much like Super Mario 64, sporting cute characters and loads of puzzle-like elements. The levels in the game, seven different worlds and 20 levels in all, vary from raised castles to ice lands and deserts, all representing unique challenges for the glove-ball duo. Some of the wacky foes that Glover encounters are equally as impressive, ranging from Frankenstein ghosts to furry critters and floating fish. There are even seven unique boss levels representing each different world.

Judging from the "hands-on" (pretty bad, huh?) version of the near complete game, Glover is a lot of fun, if not downright addictive. We can't wait to see what Interactive Studios delivers in the final product when the game ships this October.