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Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Score: 60%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Toys for Bob
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Platformer

Graphics & Sound:

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa has the escapees from the Central Park Zoo deciding to leave Madagascar in hopes of once again returning to New York, but, of course, before that can happen, mayhem gets in the way.

As for the look of the game, it does a pretty good job of duplicating the style of the movie. The characters look like their silver screen counterparts and the use of scenes from the movie as cut scenes helps to show just how well the in-game graphics match up. Granted, in reality, the graphics aren't quite as crisp and detailed as the movie, but it goes a long way.

Audio gets the job done, but considering the lack of the movie's cast as the voice actors for the game, it has room to improve. While the voice actors used do a fairly good job of imitating the likes of Chris Rock (Marty) and Ben Stiller (Alex), there are occasions where the voices just aren't quite right.


Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa plays through the movie's story in a slightly unusual manner as far as movie tie-in games are concerned. More times than not, these licensed games are generic and humdrum platformers. While Escape 2 Africa has quite a few platformer aspects, the game actually has a variety of gameplay types. Basically, the game spans over a dozen locations, and at each location there are several objectives that will allow you to progress the story (sometimes in a non-linear fashion). These objectives are completed by various characters from the movie, and they typically have radically different gameplay styles.

Alex's objectives are typically platformers, while Marty usually has to take part in races or kick objects at targets. Melman will either have to fly around using his helicopter-like ability or roll around on giant balls, and Gloria typically has to swim around. Even the penguins have their own levels where Private will have to sneak his way through dangerous areas collecting pieces needed to fix the crashed plane.

Several of the mini-games presented in the game's story also show up in an Arcade Mode, but instead of forcing these games to be unlocked by reaching them in the Story Mode, they are all available from the start. These mini-games include a memory-matching game with monkeys, a rhythm game in a volcano and a hot potato-like game. There are 10 of these in all, and by purchasing items in the store, you can unlock more levels, locations and other enhancements to these arcade games. Also at the same shop, you can purchase decorations and clothes for the 100 monkeys that you collect across the different locations.


Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa isn't all that difficult. There might be a few issues when trying to go through the platformer levels, only because of the standard jumping/timing issues that go along with that genre. Besides that, most mini-games can be completed easily and on the first attempt, but I found that I could almost always finish the objective on my second pass if the first one failed. Even though the game is pretty easy, since it has a lot of objectives and mini-games in it, it still takes quite a bit of time to complete. In the end, a solid weekend of gameplay will get you through the game's story, and a bit of extra time will get you all of the monkeys and unlockables.

Game Mechanics:

Unfortunately, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa isn't without issues. The biggest part is the controls, at least on the PC. While there are a lot of mini-games, a lot of them are similar and at least within the mini-game type, the controls stay fairly consistent. But there were quite a few that just feel downright wrong when playing with a keyboard and mouse. The biggest of these is the Volcano Rave. Here, two dots move towards the center and you have to raise or lower your arms to match the dots. One dot can come from the upper left, while another from center right. So you have to move the arms independently withe the (W), (S), (A) keys for the left arm and the Up, Right and Down keys for the right arm. Doing this is very disconcerting and gave me a lot of trouble - not to mention the rhythm aspects that normally cause problems for me. Thankfully, the game is designed to work with the Xbox 360 controller and it feels much more like the 360 version. While this particular mini-game is still a bit of a mind-bender, at least using two analog sticks for the task feels more natural.

Escape 2 Madagascar is an okay movie-license game that will do a pretty good job entertaining fans of the characters and movies. However, I would recommend one of the console versions over the PC one, mainly because of the control issues. But if that isn't an option, make sure you have a Xbox 360 controller handy because that really helps the situation.

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

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows Vista/XP, Pentium 4 1.7 GHz or Athlon 2100+ processor, 512 MB RAM, ATi Radeon X1300 128 MB RAM or NVIDIA GeForce 6600 128 MB RAM video card

Test System:

Alienware Aurora m9700 Laptop, Windows XP Professional, AMD Turion 64 Mobile 2.41 GHz, 2 GB Ram, Dual NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB Video Cards, DirectX 9.0c

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