Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Review

TCN (The Chronicles of Narnia) is a painstakingly mirror image of its movie namesake. If anything, the video game can be described more as a companion volume to the movie, rather than as a stand-alone game. This game leans heavily upon the film, and if you didn,t see the movie or read the book, the game,s storyline will leave you either confused or somewhat lost as to why the characters are doing what they are doing. The game tries valiantly to keep the storyline understandable, but there is just too much ground to cover.

TCN, the game, is part action, part movie, part adventure and partly a movie souvenir. The director of the film wanted this tie-in game to be as close to the movie as possible, and his efforts definitely show this. The beginning of each level in TCN starts out with strategic segments taken directly from the movie. These film clips meld stylishly into the game graphics. This is where gameplay begins. After the mission is accomplished, the game graphics dissolve back into a closing film clip. The level then ends and you are off to the next challenge.

This is basically the structure of the entire TCN game. Those of you who enjoyed the movie will appreciate how seamlessly the game and movie clips work together. The game gives you the virtual experience of reliving the events and battles in the film. This is one of the main strengths of this title. As stated before, if TCN is seen as a companion piece to the movie, you shouldn,t be disappointed. However, if TCN is put under the scrutiny of the game magnifying glass, this is where some of its problems come to light.

Narnia starts out with a bang, literally, in which the beginning scenes of the movie draw you in immediately. It is the time of World War II, and the city of London is being bombed by planes. The movie clip ends and fades to game action where we meet the four children; Peter, Lucy, Susan and Edmond Pevensie. The first thing that grabs your attention is the detail of the gaming environment. The video game characters look remarkably lifelike and resemble their human counterparts very closely. The voices of the characters were performed by the actors in the movie, and this creates a very realistic atmosphere for Narnia film fans.

Gameplay involves solving puzzles, battling bosses, collecting coins, finding hidden shields, and upgrading your character,s abilities. Each child learns specific powers during the game, and these attributes are instrumental in getting through certain levels more easily. These attributes are purchased with the coins that are found throughout the game. Whenever a character “learns” a new skill, this skill can be bought and activated. Lucy,s primary skills are in healing. Susan uses magical skills by playing a musical instrument. She also is adept at using the bow and arrow. Peter and Edmond primarily fight with weapons. Their skills depend on strength. In addition to individual skills, there is also a “team” feature in which any one of the characters can team up with one another. This allows the two to perform special actions, magical skills, or fighting moves that they couldn,t otherwise do.

An interesting aspect of gameplay is the ability to switch to any particular character in the game. You can be Lucy, Peter, Edmond or Susan at any particular moment. This part of the game is essential because there are certain tasks and puzzles that can only be performed by individual characters. Since each child has specific abilities and skills, it is up to you to figure out which child will be the best one to use in each scenario. In other cases, a small picture will appear in the gameplay. This is a hint that this is who you need to perform certain tasks.

On the downside, some of the levels devolve into tedious chores. One example is “Beaver Dam.” You,ll find yourself constantly replaying scene after scene because the level is timed. It gets pretty irritating having to view the same cut scenes over and over because you can,t complete a mission within a time limit. But in spite of these problems, there is a variety of action as you battle ogres, giants, dwarves, Cyclops, centaurs, wolves and other creatures. Each level is beautifully rendered and offers a good challenge. But the problem here is that the challenges sometimes border on the level of frustration.

The objectives for each level aren,t always clear, and there is usually a lot of experimentation before you figure out what the objectives of the level are. The levels are sectioned off into several checkpoints. These are basically ‘hot saves.” In other words, if you turn off your PS2, you,ll lose all your progress in that level. Some levels have four or more “checkpoints” and this is bad news because you,ll have to replay the level from the very beginning if you cannot finish in one sitting. Not a good idea.

One nice feature about the game is the level select feature. All the game levels are displayed on the panels of a large wardrobe chest (just like the one in the movie.) You can revisit each completed level to find missed items, “shields”, or to increase your ranking. But the best part about the wardrobe chest is the bottom drawer. If you open this drawer, you are treated with special bonus features. These unlockable features open as you complete more and more of the game. There are videos of the real actors doing voiceovers for the game, special art, a documentary of the making of the game, extra game levels, and a host of other Narnia related topics and information.

The music for this game is taken directly from the film and adds a great deal of drama and excitement to the action and overall feeling of the game.

The PS2 title, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe” serves as an excellent interactive keepsake of the movie and makes it possible to experience, “first hand”, the adventures of Lucy, Peter, Susan and Edmond. The backdrop of the game is wonderful, and the production team generously incorporates many film clips into each level.

If you are a big fan of the movie, your enjoyment of the game, regardless of its weaknesses, will probably be good. However, if you know nothing of the plot of Narnia, the game may very well become a tedious and confusing encounter.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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