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Video Game / Rugrats: Royal Ransom

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Rugrats: Royal Ransom is a 2002 video game based on the animated series of the same name. The game was released for both the Nintendo GameCube and the PlayStation 2. The game was published THQ and developed by Avalanche Software, the latter who would be known for Disney Infinity and Hogwarts Legacy years later. Its handheld counterpart, Rugrats Castle Capers was released one year earlier for the Game Boy Advance.

The plot is as follows: Stu Pickles, Tommy's dad, creates the PlayPalace 3000, which is a huge playground made out of many levels that expands out of a small metal cylinder. He needs to leave to get duct tape and paper clips, so he leaves Lou Pickles to watch the kids. Once he (inevitably) falls asleep, Angelica enters the PlayPalace 3000 and takes the babies' toys away. She challenges the Rugrats to come and get them back.

Five of the babies are playable; Tommy Pickles, Chuckie Finster, Phil DeVille, Lil DeVille, and Kimi Finster. There's no noticeable gameplay difference between them. There are three difficulty levels: Baby Easy (just as simple as it sounds), Rugrat Medium (surprisingly rather difficult at many points), and Reptar Tough (insanely hard).

The game was mostly ignored by critics, though the GC version did sell quite well.

This game contains the following tropes:

  • Alliterative Title: Rugrats: Royal Ransom.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Quitting a level before it's completed normally results in the chosen baby getting booted out of the playset, at which point they have to pay coins to get back in. However, if an already completed level is quit midway throughnote , the baby will merely be placed back at the level's entrance in the hub and won't need to pay anything as a result. This is because each level has several small batteries and hidden Funny Money to collect, the latter of which can only be collected upon by purchasing the option in the shop, which only appears upon unlocking the third tier on the playset.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: There is a whole section of the game revolving around this theme, complete with magic carpet riding levels.
  • Big Bad: Angelica, who steals the babies' toys and forces them to climb the playset to get them back.
  • The Cameo: Tak, whose very first game would be released about a year later, can be seen waving to the player in the Ready Set Snow! game.
  • Condescending Compassion: Susie's comments once you fail a level come across as this.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: In the Arabian World levels Meanie Genie and Rugrat Rug Race, as well as the two Dino World levels.
  • Critical Existence Failure: As soon as your Life Meter is empty, you're booted off the playset. If you have even a sliver of health remaining, you carry on as normal.
  • Dem Bones: In Rugrat Medium and Reptar Tough modes, the last level features armored skeletal warriors who serve as Angelica's Mooks. They are absent from Baby Easy mode, though Susie still mentions them confusingly.
  • Double Jump: Unsurprisingly.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Twofold with Baby Easy: there's less Funny Money to collect (to the point where it's impossible to buy everything in the shop), and you have to deal with the game essentially calling you a baby for not being able to handle the higher difficulties.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Snowmen, aliens, purple scarab beetles...
  • Fake Longevity: Reptar Tough difficulty suffers from this big time. Monkey Business on Tough mode deserves a special mention, as it's the same thing as the Easy and Medium versions, just made thrice as long.
  • Fetch Quest: Most of the mini games are this. The harder difficulty modes make it worse, though. Temple of the Lamp, for example, sees you collecting rubies. Tough requires 70, and many of them are in hard-to-reach places.
  • Gameplay Roulette: As befitting of a Mini Game Game. There's driving levels, platform levels, racing levels, boring, inane collectathons...
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: After taking over the playset, Angelica dubs herself "Queen Angelica''.
  • Going Through the Motions: A bit funnier than most examples, as when your baby's Life Meter depletes to nothing, the screen gets letterboxed, a sad sound effect plays, Susie makes a condescending comment ("Don't worry, I'm sure you'll do better next time!") and your baby gets right back up and stands around as if nothing happened just before it fades to black.
  • Guide Dang It!: The locations of all the Funny Money in the game is never explained to the player, and one of the only online walkthroughs of the game simply says "Coming Soon" (said walkthrough was last edited in 2003). Additionally, you can't collect all of a level's Funny Money on the first run through: certain stashes of it are rendered uncollectable until you purchase a secret unlock in the store that reveals said Funny Money. Needless to say, finding all of the Funny Money in this game is really difficult.
    • The game does not autosave. And the only way you can save is when you're inside the PlayPalace. The biggest kicker of all? If you get a Game Over, and you completely forgot these two important details, you're starting over AT THE BEGINNING OF THE GAME.
  • Hard Mode Perks: As a side-effect of the levels being much longer on Reptar Tough, there's much more Funny Money to collect. Good for if you want to get everything in the shop.
  • Hub Level: The PlayPalace 3000.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Baby Easy, Rugrat Medium and Reptar Tough.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: A special Game Over cutscene plays if your remaining baby fails a level with less than a hundred tokens left, since you need a hundred tokens to get at least one baby back into the PlayPalace.
  • Jackass Genie: Meanie Genie. He doesn't actually grant wishes though. Instead, he attacks you.
  • Lethal Lava Land: In the levels Meanie Genie and Rugrat Rug Race, as well as the two Dino World levels.
  • Magic Carpet: In Rugrat Rug Race.
    Susie: Wow, a magic carpet ride! I wish I was goin'.
  • Meaningless Lives: Played with, depending on the difficulty mode you're on. If you're on Baby Easy, it's played straight, as you'll probably never manage to lose any of the coins you need to get back onto the PlayPalace (the game's equivalent of losing a life). Averted for the most part on Rugrat Medium, due to the harder gameplay on that mode overall. Averted on Reptar Tough, as you'll need every coin you can.
  • Mini Game Game: Justified, as the game takes place entirely inside a huge playground-like machine made to cater to children's imaginations.
  • My Little Panzer: The playset itself, given just how dangerous and child-unfriendly its levels tend to be. Meanie Genie on Rugrat Medium and Reptar Tough is the most ridiculous, as it requires precision jumps over lava having to be made by babies.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Meanie Genie.
  • Nintendo Hard: The Reptar Tough difficulty level is much harder than one would expect from a children's game in general, much less a Rugrats one. In fact, one of the only two written FAQs for this game on the Internet has its author admitting that she had to have help from a more experienced gamer to even finish the FAQ!
  • Noodle Implements: Stu has to leave to get duct-tape and paper clips for the playset.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • Despite the fact that Reptar lends his name to one of the difficulty modes, he himself never appears once throughout the entire game.
    • Despite the name, Rugrat Rug Race is not an actual race; it's a level in which you have to collect rubies while (more often than not failing) to control a flying carpet.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Played with. While clowns are the enemy mooks in Cone Caper and Cream Pie Flyer in Circus World, they don't look or act like Monster Clowns. They simply throw pies at you to hurt you.
  • Non Standard Game Over: In the event that you've somehow blown all of your coins by, for instance, getting all 5 babies on the playset, getting them all killed in a level (or just quitting a challenge five times for each baby), and have them booted out of the playset with less than a hundred, you'll be presented with a cutscene in which Tommy complains about having to start over again. If you didn't think to save as this game doesn't have an autosave feature, you'll be starting over.
    Tommy: We have to start all over?! We're gonna get diapie rash!
  • No OSHA Compliance: Not so much the levels themselves as the surrounding playset. It's got killer, snowball-wielding snowmen (Frosty these guys ain't), monkeys that require you to walk on tree branches to put them in cages, evil cyclops aliens that throw copies of their eye at you, and so on. What was Stu thinking?! * No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Pretty much the entire game is extremely linear, even on the harder difficulty modes.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Both averted and played straight, depending on the length of the fall. If you fall from a high distance onto something below, the game will remove some of your Life Meter. If you fall from a great enough distance into the abyss, though, the game will just put you back where you left off without taking any damage.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: In the opening cutscene, Angelica is somehow able to get to the top of the playset without going through the mini games at all, with no explanation as to how she did so.
  • Pie in the Face: How the clowns attack you.
  • Platform Hell: Some of the levels; Meanie Genie on Medium and Tough difficulty being the best example.
  • Press Startto Game Over: It's possible to put all five babies in the PlayPalace, enter a challenge with each baby, and then just quit/surrender through the pause menu to send each baby back down to the ground, and eventually, get a Game Over.
  • Racing Minigame: Some of the minigames, like River Fun Run and Ready, Set, Snow.
  • Red Is Violent: Meanie Genie is red.
  • Save Scumming: One useful strategy for the game on the harder difficulty modes is to save immediately after winning any level when you're sent back to the PlayPalace. This way, if, say, you beat Punting Papayas on Tough mode after much trial and error, only to pick River Fun Run and learn you suck at it, so you get mad and shut off your console, you won't have to go back and play it all over again.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Meanie Genie was trapped in his lamp before he escaped. You have to put him back inside the lamp.
  • Secret Character: While not playable in the main adventure, Angelica, Susie, Dil, Stu and Lou can all be purchased in the store to use in certain multiplayer minigames.
  • Senior Sleep-Cycle: Grandpa Lou, just like in the show.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: All the levels in Snow World.
  • Timed Mission: The level Acrobatty Dash in Circus World, which gives you seven minutes to finish on Easy, 3:30 to finish on Medium, and two minutes to finish on Tough.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Downplayed on the doom part, but Lou commenting that the Play Palace looks fit for a queen is what gave Angelica the idea to take it over.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • Very often, due to the gameplay mechanics. For example, in Punting Papayas, there are certain parts in the level where you have to jump on platforms that lean forwards if you stay on them too long, plunging you into the river below. For some unfathomable reason, you have to wait until they've started leaning forward in order to successfully jump onto the next one.
    • Rugrat Rug Race has an even more ridiculous example, as it's easier to get the rubies if you bang into walls and have them fly into you than if you just steer the carpet and pick them up normally.
  • Your Size May Vary: In the final level, Angelica is much bigger than she should be.