Celebrity Bodyguard is one star that may not be worth saving

It’s all about the sunglasses, the high-priced suit and the big, beefy musculature that comes part and parcel with the territory. Although I never was the right gender to want to take Kevin Costner’s place in the Bodyguard, I can understand why such a position could be so appealing. Bravo Games’ Celebrity Bodyguard offers players a chance to be such an immaculately-dressed person. Unfortunately, this 2D side-scrolling action game also pokes fun at every inch of the concept.

The premise behind the game is fairly simple. Most enemies can be killed with a few taps on the screen, while others require you to manhandle them in a more personal manner. In other words, you’ll have to tap on your on-screen avatar to have the steroid-infused giant punch them in the jaw. As you progress through each stage you’ll acquire ammo of various varieties. The shotgun, for example, is a bit of a personal favorite for obvious reasons. However I’m far less fond of the melee options available. You only ever have that one punch, and your character, unfortunately, has rather short arms. In addition, the ‘reload’ rate of your fist is, I think, a little bit too slow – multiple ninjas can make short work of your ward’s fragile sanity as a result.

Speaking of ninjas, Celebrity Bodyguard does indeed boast a host of ridiculously strange enemies. There are rednecks with shotguns, protesters in panda suits, belligerent ninjas and more. Oddly enough your foes don’t actually do any real damage. Instead they cause the celebrity’s stress level to rise, something that can be ascertained from the thermometer located on the right side of the screen; once that fills to the max, it’s all over. In case the throbbing orange-red meter wasn’t obvious enough, there’s always the fact that the celebrities will literally sob pathetically behind their meaty protector when they’re overtly stressed.

As of right now, Celebrity Bodyguard features three superstars to protect: Rustin Beaver, Lady Blabla and Rober Parkson – all blatantly obvious parodies of certain people. Each of them have their own ‘star power’ which assists in clearing the red carpet of bad guys. Unfortunately they don’t feel too distinct – it’s the same thing, just packaged differently. Celebrity Bodyguard also starts with just Rustin Beaver unlocked and demands that you complete certain goals like achieving a certain amount of kills before you’re permitted to move on to protect other celebrities. Asides from the high scores that you can brag about, there is very little incentive to progress to the next stage.

In Celebrity Bodyguard’s favor, however, the game is absolutely gorgeous. Lush, 3D graphics that hint of comic-book influence animate extremely well. The sound effects are amusing, the action exactly what you would expect. Bravo Games has outdone itself in terms of presentation, but I can’t help but feel that the game could have been more, well, MORE. It’s not a bad game, it just lacks the elements that will keep players wanting to play further than, perhaps, ten minutes at a time.