A baby’s gotta do what a baby’s gotta do
One of my favourite childhood games from the PlayStation, objective of the game is to find Tommy’s Reptar pieces that are scattered all around the house by completing various mini games. Rugrats Search for Reptar was only released for the Sony PlayStation
First we need to talk about the Pickles Home, what has been rendered entirely within the games engine, and servers as a gateway to the mini games that need to be completed. It’s a pretty nice house consisting of 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living area, kitchen and a study room, along with a garage. Its very faithful to the TV show, at least from the episodes I’ve seen, a lot of cartoon shows tent to remodel the house to suit the plot. It’s probably one of my favourite cartoon house alongside the Simpsons house which I got to explore in Virtual Springfield. Whilst rendered in a 3D environment, the art style tries to be faithful to the shows animation.
Some areas of the house are locked out initially, but when you enter a specific level they are available like the garage, I put this down to memory limitations of the PSX because some rooms that were previously explorable are disabled in some levels. An example of this was the Chuckie’s glasses level which opens the garage area, but removes the basement and garden area for that level. Some objects of the house can be interacted with, mainly Tommy’s toys which can be thrown or picked up.
Its raining outside and Angelica decided to play Hide & Seek with the babies, volunteering Chuckie’s to find them. However to make it fair, she takes his glasses, using Chuckie, you have to find and tag the babies (Phil, Lil, Tommy) and race them back to the play pen. It’s fairly easy and you get to explore the Rugrats house as you play, there’s no time limit and if one of the babies win you simply have to find that Rugrat again, although its gave over if they beat you three times.
Ice Cream Mountain
Stu wants to go golfing, he take the kids and promises a huge ice cream mountain, based on an episode in the show. There are 10 levels and to play, you walk to the ball, press the triangle button to start the power meter and press triangle again to hit the ball when the meter is in the right spot. Some require a power shot, others only require a small amount.
The level starts off in a playground where you and Chuckie can play on one of the slides/rides. When your done, you can progress through the level into some sort of maze where the goose is hiding with grandpas teeth. Once you navigate the maze, a second segment starts where you have to chase the goose that has Chuckie, using Spike to catch up to it. The third stage concluded with you throwing hockey pucks at the goose (Hopefully PETA didn’t play this game), whilst trying to avoid Chuckie.
You just have to race and beat Angelica to the kitchen. The house has been slightly altered and some areas have been blocked off, meaning you have to go the long way round. This is fairly easy since Angelica is quite slow but the controls can be a hindrance since its easy to run into an object.
Visitors From Outer Space
You control Angelica in a spaceship where the babies have been abducted. Avoid the TV robots/aliens and navigate to the lower levels (you can still explore the ship) where you will meet an alien fish thing, who will disable the gravity. Angelica can then float through the air vent and navigate to one of the pod escape ships where she meets the babies, somehow? Based on a real Rugrats episode.
This one sucked, basically you have to throw objects at Mr Friend and destroy it. First you have to deal with one, then three will spawn. Its challenging since the hit detection is very inconsistent and the controls are digital which makes it hard for Tommy to aim, also some of the throwable objects will just clip through Mr Friend.
Let There be Light
Stu overclocks his Amiga and causes a power cut, so its up to Tommy to restore the power. This level has the pickles house in darkness, with the textures being darkened for effect. There are ghost’s that roam around the house that can drain Tommy’s health, use the flash light to zap them away. First part see you navigating the house in near darkness to the kitchen where you find the Pickles fridge, but Tommy is unable to open it by himself so he needs the help of Spike to open it for him, which starts the next segment when you have to find Spike.
The Rugrats are tasked with performing with Angelia’s Circus, and have to perform a variety of tricks. This isn’t really difficult but the controls can be a major problem since you have to be accurate when it comes to Chuckie’s part, and if you fail twice the game is over.
Hard basically means long, as there are multiple objectives that have to be completed for the activity.
Incident on Isle 7
Set in a supermarket, Grandpa takes Tommy shopping for some Reptar cereal, Tommy breaks free and is left to explore the store. First section sees you exploring the different sections of the shop, until to reach the seafood section where a bunch of lobsters get loose. You then have to avoid or kill the lobsters and navigate through the various areas that have spillages that can cause Tommy to fall. Lastly you will reach the boss section where you have to stun the main Lobster in order to hit a switch.
Set in a toy store, Stu loses Tommy and Chuckie after they decide to go solo. They explore the toy store zone in the hope of finding Reptar. Everything seems to cause damage in the first part, and the last part can be frustrating since you have to collect the blocks in order to reach the switch, some of which are located on shelves. The jumping is inconsistent as there is a delay before Tommy jumps, resulting in him falling a few times. Tommy and Chuckie also have a habit of repeating their dialog endlessly.
7 Voyages of Cynthia
You control Spike (Poorly) in this level as you navigate the sewer, Spike is very vulnerable to damage and will take a hit over every minor collision. The second stage isn’t any better since you have to avoid the mud which will reduce his health. The final stage is easy as you just need to find Cynthia before the time runs out, except she spawns in a random place.
Cookie Race – Same as the main version
Egg Hunt – Also in the main game, Angelia wants to hog all the easter eggs, so its up to Tommy to find them all before the time runs out, I guess the cookies weren’t enough for Angelica?
Gold Rush – Also available as a bonus game, Phil and Lil need to collect all the coins before time runs out, Same as egg hunt really
Mini golf – Can be played with multiple players, but instead of split screen, its more of a pass the controller for each turn kind of affair. There are 10 courses to play through.
Recommended emulator: BeetlePSX or Mednafen, Duckstation works just as well.
One of the issues that occurred when playing this game in Duckstation was some cutscenes not playing, or the ones that did play would end early, and some of the Rugrats would be played randomly around the house, like in the screenshot below where Angelica is present in the kitchen, and cannot be interacted. This would often happen if you start the game in training mode first, then exit via the door which starts the main game. Angelica’s model is in the training map so maybe the game forgot to remove her from the world?
The hide and seek game is mainly affected, with the Rugrats randomly appearing around the house once they have been beaten to the playpen
Not a very good hiding place Tommy…
Tommy and Phil have been found, but instead of being in the play-pen, they are in the living room. This issue also occurred with the older builds of ePSXe where rugrats would randomly appear around the house, and issues with cutscenes playing. I’ve not tested it in modern ePSXe (this was around ver1.6)
An untextured toilet? Found in the cookie race level. I remember something similar occurring on the actual console itself so possibly not an emulator issue. The light above the mirror is also affected in both the cookie race and Chuckie’s glasses.
Navigating the Disc
Opening the SLUS_006.50 in Notepad++ and scrolling to line 168 reveals a few menu name strings, one of which references a Debug Menu, wonder how we activate this?
All the game data is present in the DATA folder, and each of the levels are broken up into different DB folders, with DB00 being the Pickels family home. Inside each folder are multiple BIN folders that follow the name convention. DBxxANM.BIN might refer to the animations for that level. Unfortunately these formats are likely built using proprietary game tool exclusive to N-Space, so there isn’t really much to play about here. Maybe we could rename and swap a few files around and experiment what happens when the game tries to load data intended for another level?