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Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie

Score: 86%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: Ubisoft Entertainment
Media: GCD/1
Players: 1
Genre: First Person Shooter/ Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

The moment the game begins with your ship docking on the misty Skull Island, the promise of excellence in the graphical presentation is immediately realized. The in-game textures are absolutely wonderful, capturing the rain-soaked, hazy, and just plain creepy look of Skull Island. This, coupled with some of the most realistic audio to land on the console scene adds up to one truly cinematic gaming experience.

Graphically, the player can expect clean, crisp presentation of the visually rich environments. Fog and steam lace the tropical setting, providing eerie glimpses of the terrible creatures lurking within. Distant mountains, lush foliage, swirling clouds, and gritty rock formations round out the terrain with an unprecedented level of detail.

In the audio department, the actual movie cast lends their voice acting talent to the game with surprising quality and accuracy. This, coupled with full orchestral accompaniment, result in very effective mood enhancement that coincides perfectly with the crisp graphics.


Gameplay:

Gameplay is essentially broken down into two primary modes. When playing as the human, Jack, the action is performed in a very satisfying first-person shooter style. The island is loaded with massive prehistoric beasts that will require a steady hand and many rounds of ammo to drop. This mode does a very commendable job in capturing the frailty of the human body in such a perilous environment with accurate weapon deposits to pick up and the ability to use random objects such as bones or spears as weapons. The end result is an FPS package that is much more than mindless shooting.

The other game mode allows the player to assume the role of King Kong himself, switching the view of the action to a cinematic third-person angle. Although only about a quarter of the game is played as Kong, it is safe to say that doing so easily makes up for a sea of inferior games on store shelves. Quite frankly, being able to wreak havoc as a towering gorilla is an immensely satisfying experience. Controlling Kong resembles that of a fighting game engine, with punches, grabs, and slams at his disposal, complete with simple combo finishing moves that will dazzle with skull-crunching potency. And when he howls in a fit of rage, complete with chest-pounding fury, it's sure to send shivers down the back of anyone within audio range.


Difficulty:

The difficulty is a bit of a catch in King Kong as although the in-game tasks are near perfectly balanced (not too easy, not too frustrating), the game itself is fairly short. Most gamers who fit the Teen rating will be able to smash their way through in a couple of evenings of moderate play time. On the positive side, finishing the game (complete with cliche' New York City skyscraper climbing) is a very satisfying endeavor and will likely leave most with such a desire to continue that starting the game over will result in a high replay value.

Game Mechanics:

The mechanics of this blockbuster are stellar in nearly all regards. The Gamecube controller set-up is quite intuitive when playing as either Jack or Kong and offers perfect response time to the onscreen action. Best of all is that the two primary game modes are different enough to make playing as Kong an anticipated affair, despite the addictive quality of the first-person shooting that makes up a bulk of the game. Contrary to how it may appear after reading this review, the game is far from mindless, offering well-scripted puzzle-solving throughout and a good deal of strategy in navigating the island successfully, as opposed to just opening fire on everything in sight.

UbiSoft certainly deserves kudos in crafting a high quality movie to game translation (which is an extremely rare accomplishment on any system). The game simply oozes with quality which, if it is any indication of the corresponding film, appears as though Peter Jackson has done it again.


-Jay G. Money, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jason Giacchino

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