The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

System:
Xbox
Release date:
Nov. 14, 2005
Publisher:
Buena Vista Interactive
Developer:
Traveller's Tales
Players:
1 - 2
Genre:
RPG
ESRB:
T

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

Buy the game to fuel merchandising execs, stay for the co-op mode.

Review by Candice Shane (Email)
December 20th 2005

When I was about eleven years old, I was subjected to the beauty of C.S. Lewis and his masterpiece books. I would read them intently and when we had to watch the British version of the film, I was enchanted. There is something about a book being made into a film that really drives your imagination into overdrive. Will it include your favorite scenes? Will it push the envelope of our own cinematic achievements and drive our mind's eye onto a new level? These are the notions that I rifle through whenever I see a movie is being made from a book. Now, when that book will be a movie and a videogame? That's a totally different mode of thinking altogether.

Without getting into gruesome details, Narnia isn't something you should venture into lightly. Veterans of the story will be disappointed in the graphics, which looked snatched from the Harry Potter series, as does the voice acting. If you're new to the world of C.S. Lewis, grab a friend and play the adventuresome cooperative mode. Seriously, this title completely flourishes in co-op, where a lot of platform movie titles just can't keep up. With certain puzzles being a lot easier to finish as one child stands on a button and another pulls a crank, it pushes the game faster than if you were playing alone.

The game has some beautiful clips from the movie, which are basically all you're really there for; right? The cut-scenes that are graphically done by the production company aren't very polished, so it's disappointing to see yet another cookie-cutter platform game that doesn't push any boundaries as far as the hardware is concerned. In fact, it's lackluster enough to pass for a PSOne game. When certain characters get too close to the edge, you're both stuck until your cooperative player and/or your siblings will wander into frame. That's the main issue with a lot of games with multiple NPCs and characters, you have their lag time to contend with.

Gauging the game's graphics can bring it down at least a point already, but what about the music? The compliment of a film-to-game title is that you can basically copy and paste your movie's score into the game with no effort. That's what this sounded like, no effort. Clinking coins were dull and the slide and crackle of hitting and moving on ice was all but mind-numbing. Absolutely nobody thought that they could do a better job on some of these issues? Nobody at BVG sat back on a late night and contemplated adding a little sparkle to the game? I bet you C.S. Lewis is rolling over in his grave as we speak.

So here we are into the fifth chapter of the game and there are already two major technical faults. You're very quickly explained the main objective and nothing is there to aid a player along if they've missed a clue or hint. While you're rescuing the wiley little beaver to safety, he stands there at the end of the course as if he lost a shoe somewhere on the path. You can comb through that level over and over again and never see a single thing missed other than infinite respawning wolves, which are a hassle in itself. If you're playing with another person, the missions can be a lot easier to come by as you've got two sets of eyes. However, if you're the unfortunate and lonely type and you've got nobody else to play with, expect a cumbersome few hours of gameplay.

Coincidentally, when you finish a mission you are given the chance to spend the coins you found on additional health and fighting styles. This was obviously thrown in at the last minute, as you could beat the game with never adding a single thing since not a lot of difference comes from updated stats. Like I said, this game could've been something with an outstanding replay value, but there's nothing great to unlock. You've got no real definitive purpose to beating the game other than your love of the novel or movie. What is the point to driving these brats through the worlds of Narnia? So they can get home to a woman who hates them? The War will still be going on and once those idiots get home their family members will just send them to an Institution.

With absolutely no character emphasis on why you're driving through the world of Narnia, with the graphics of a Spyro game and the soundtrack of any game ever created, you'd be better off spending your money on something else. If you're bored on a snowy day and you want something you can bash through with your brother or sister and you're not involved in the movie or book, get this game. It's mindless entertainment if you can wind through the missions without wanting to tear beavers and Narnians apart.

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