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Lemony Snicketís A Series of Unfortunate Events

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Griptonite Games
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Platformer (2D)

Graphics & Sound:

Lemony Snicketís A Series of Unfortunate Events follows the movie and first three books in Lemony Snicketís series... well, mostly. The game seems to be more of a 2D side-scrolling platformer with a heavy Unfortunate Events theme that could easily be translated to any other license out there.

The visual style of A Series of Unfortunate Events is similar to the more recent Castlevania games. The characters are large and easily identifiable, and the levels are huge with lots of twists and turns. It is easy to tell Count Olaf from any of the three Baudelaire orphans, and the villains all look distinct enough to know what to expect when one crosses your path.

The music of Unfortunate Events comes off as dreary, melodramatic tones (even on the beach before the three Baudelaire children become the three Baudelaire orphans). Though this set the mood really well for the game, it got a bit depressing since the music never really pumped up and got me energized for the action. Each time I sat down to play that game, I had to turn off the sound after about ten minutes.


Gameplay:

Lemony Snicketís A Series of Unfortunate Events puts you in the ďunfortunateĒ shoes of the three Baudelaire children from the moment they find out about their parents' death and through the first three books of the Unfortunate Events series.

You can switch between each of the three characters at will. Each character has some benefits and setbacks, forcing you to cycle through them regularly. Violet is able to climb up ladders and other objects since her younger siblings are either too small (Sunny) or scared of heights (Klaus). She also has control over the Apple Chucker.

Sunny is the smallest Baudelaire, so she can get to areas that the other two canít. You can use her to get under tables or crawl through passageways like A/C ducts. Her main attack is (of course) her bite.

Early in the game, I found that I hardly used Klaus. His fear of heights and ďbigger-than-baby sizenessĒ made him seem like he had no useful abilities whatsoever. If I needed to get into a tight area, I switched to Sunny; if I needed to move around on the screen and take out other baddies -- I used Violet. It wasnít until Klaus got the ability to use the Grappling Hook and Water Pump that I found him to have any purpose at all.

The game is separated into three major sections (one for each book). The first, A Bad Beginning, puts the orphans in the incompetent hands of Count Olaf (Jim Carreyís character in the movie). This ďdistant uncleĒ seems to have a secret agenda when it comes to the kids (or more specifically -- their inherited fortune). In this book, you will have to complete a lot of horrid chores, but eventually the three kids decide to break out. You will have to face stagehands, spiders, and eventually the White Faced Women, in order to escape the Count's custody.

The second book, The Reptile Room, puts the kids under the care of their Uncle Monty, an avid reptile collector. Once again, the Count rears his pointy-nosed head and tries to take back the children. The enemies of this book include various animals, and eventually the Hook-Handed Man.

And in The Wide Window, the children are off to live with their Aunt Josephine who lives at Lake Lachrymose. Before this book is done, Sunny, Violet, and Klaus will face leeches, bats, and large mosquitoes.

Except for the Unfortunate Eventsí characters and locations, there is very little in this game that makes it stand out. I think the only real aspect that makes this game unique in any way is the fact that The Narrator (Lemony Snicket) keeps sticking his head in the way to give you tips from time to time.


Difficulty:

Lemony Snicketís A Series of Unfortunate Events isnít a hard game at all. The extreme linearity of the story and missions make it nearly impossible to get lost or not have what you need to advance the story. The enemies are easy to beat and typically only require a couple of apple core throws or whatever other weapon/invention Violet has put together for your inventory.

There were several occasions where I had problems getting past a boss, but even the big baddies at the end of each book werenít too terrible to beat down.


Game Mechanics:

Lemony Snicketís A Series of Unfortunate Eventsí invention system lets you collect specific household objects and combine them to create weapons or chore-completing objects. This is a good idea that Iíve always liked, especially in every Jimmy Neutron game that comes out. This is just another example on how there is nothing truly unique about this game. Like I stated before, Unfortunate Events is a generic side-scroller with a Lemony Snicket look, but beyond that, there is nothing that you would see only in an Unfortunate Events game.

Though A Series of Unfortunate Events has some pitfalls, it is still a fairly fun play and probably deserves some trial time. Some people might find it more enjoyable than I did, but I would recommend giving it a rental before you buy the game.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Microsoft Xbox Prince of Persia: Warrior Within Sony PlayStation 2 Fight Club

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated