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Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Score: 78%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Toys for Bob
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Platformer/ Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is the movie tie-in for the Madagascar sequel feature film from Dreamworks. And this time, not only will Alex, Marty, Melman, Gloria and the Penguins be traveling around the world, but the lemur King Julian and a couple of his subjects will join the journey.

The graphics of Escape 2 Africa show up on the 360 loud and clear. All of the characters show up almost as good as they do in the movies and it also uses clips from the film for the cut scenes in order to really sell the effect. Levels don't look all that bad either, and while they aren't as nice as some of the vistas from the movie, they really work out well.

Sound is okay, but the voices of the movie are definitely not used here, but then again with a cast including Ben Stiller and Chris Rock, it's sort of understandable. The voice work that is in the game isn't bad by any means, but it doesn't really stand out in the grand scheme of things.


Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa does a fairly good job of weaving seemingly random mini-games and unusual objectives into a cohesive story.

The story itself has the former City Park Zoo-residents deciding that they need to leave Madagascar, but when their ill-conceived plane, that was cobbled together by the colony of lemurs and piloted by the penguins, crash lands in the African savannah, the guys must either try and fix the plane or learn to live in the wild.

The game actually takes on a variety of styles based on which character(s) you are controlling. While Alex, you play through platformer-like worlds, while Marty's objectives are either races where you use his sprinting ability or use his kick to knock soccer balls or other items into the air. Gloria typically involves swimming while Melman will either fly around with his helicopter ability (of course) or balance upon a rolling ball.

I have to say some of my favorite objectives were the missions involving the penguins. These typically involved Private navigating hostile environments in order to collect parts for the plane.

Besides the game's Story Mode, you can also buy decorations and clothes for the 100 monkeys you will have to get together to help you re-build the plane. There is also an arcade where you can play a select few of the mini-games from the main storyline. Interestingly enough, these are available at the beginning and don't need to be unlocked by encountering them in the main story (like most other games do).


Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa only has the occasionally tough mini-game, but that is typically due to not quite understanding what you are supposed to do (like playing soccer while still in Madagascar). One of the tougher mini-games for me was the rhythm-based Volcano Rave where you have to use the analog sticks to move your arms in different positions to match a pair of incoming dots. This was tough not only because of the awkward controls involved (the arms are controlled by the two sticks, so you have to get into a semi-Schizoid mind frame), but also because of my personal difficulties with rhythm games.

Game Mechanics:

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa controls tend to be pretty intuitive (with the possible exception being the Volcano Rave game mentioned above). While the game never really tells you what you need to do in each mini-game as far as controls are concerned, it tends to be easy to figure it out. At least, for most experienced gamers. Some mini-games will require you to use Marty to kick various items. This is typically done by holding down the (X) button in order to fill a bar to whatever power-level you want it to be in order to hit the target. Meanwhile, Gloria's swan dives require you to fiddle with the analog sticks in order to perform various stunts while in the air. With a game that has such a variety of tasks for you to do, it seemed to be a pretty amazing trick to never make the player feel like they were stumbling over the controls.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is a solid game that younger players will probably enjoy, especially those that are already fans of the characters. While it probably won't win over any new fans, those people that will already have an interest in this game probably won't be too disappointed, but it's short Story Mode might warrant a rental instead of a purchase.

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

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