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Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (PlayStation 2) artwork

Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (PlayStation 2) review


"There are many reasons why one might be interested in playing King Kong. Some might wish to visit the digital retelling of a classic tale of a love that could never exist in our world. Someone else might find solace in an uplifting tale that shows that, in that very same world of humans, a behemoth ape turned out to be the most humane creature of them all. "



There are many reasons why one might be interested in playing King Kong. Some might wish to visit the digital retelling of a classic tale of a love that could never exist in our world. Someone else might find solace in an uplifting tale that shows that, in that very same world of humans, a behemoth ape turned out to be the most humane creature of them all.

Me?

I just wanted to bash shit with a gigantic monkey. If an action involving throwing faeces the size of trucks at puny humans was involved, the better! Unfortunately, my dreams remain unfulfilled: there's a giant monkey involved, this is true -- but blink and you might very well miss him.

Instead, your name is Jack Driscoll, and you're a writer working for film maker Karl Denham, who convinces you his latest movie project will make you abhorrently rich. However, he neglected to mention your journey takes you to an island forgotten by God, one inhabited by flora, and especially fauna, yearning for your blood. Add to the mix Ann Darrow, a beautiful actress that serves as your obligitory love interest and the cast is all assembled.

The moment you set foot on Skull Island, you're eveloped in a stunning bubble of isolation, flanked by overgrown jungles awash in a sea of swaying trees and billowing leaves. Thanks to the game being played through a first person perspective, you almost feel the humid atmosphere of the humming forests, and hear the pounding of rain drops as they fall and rebound from the skin of monstrosities that will serve as your target practice. You’ll even sense the menace of the ruinous, ancient towns from which the savage natives hail. When it comes to ambience, the designers did a good job. However, graphics alone do not make a game, which is sadly proven half an hour in when you discover that Kong is simply... dull.

One of the worst problems is the game’s linearity. Though the area you’re in is supposed to be a sizable island, you never get the chance to explore it, but rather, are guided through its non-deviating paths making your adventure little more then a scripted journey. Certainly, in the beginning the game will seem refreshing, perhaps even interesting. However, when you’re forced to light a torch by passing over a lake without allowing the fire to go out for the tenth time in the span of one hour it becomes painfully apparent that one of the main premises of the this title is repetitiveness.

Not helping alleviate this is the wonky physics of your weapons. You can hurl prehistoric weapons such as spears or sharpened fragments of bone or even arm yourself with weapons dropped from a convenient supply plane as it flies over the island looking for survivors. These include a pistol, sniper rifle and machine gun among others. Stabbing an oversized caterpillar with a branch does the same damage as giving it both barrels of a shotgun. I wouldn’t normally comment about realism in a game where the main focus is a gigantic primate, but considering that they tried to aim for it by not placing any indication of health on the screen (meaning that you can die fairly quickly if one of the nasty creatures gets a solid bite on you) you’d think that more time would be spent making some sort of a difference between a gun and a sharp piece of wood.

From time to time a computer controlled character will join to “help” you in case that you are overwhelmed by these enemies, since the programmers probably thought they would be of some use.

Allow me to state this in the nicest way possible: your in-game crew on this expedition is composed mainly out of retards that will do one of the following:

1) Continually throw their weapons at you for some odd reason, even when you don't do anything that would indicate you need it, disarming themselves, or, in the best case, taking an inferior weapon in the process.

2) Get in the way when you are focusing your aim on a rampaging dinosaur. Not only will they make you miss, but they make you damage your teammate, and allow said beastie to bite of a healthy chunk of flesh from your body.

3) Get themselves in trouble. I can't count the number of times I had to save Karl from swarms of oversized bats.

Luckily, most of these flaws are forgotten when, following the movie's storyline, Ann gets kidnapped by a rampaging Kong, the second playable character whose main role is to protect Ann from the ambiguous perils of Skull Island. You need to take care of her in this roll because, even though you are a rampaging 25-foot tall ape, Ann is still a tiny bag of flesh that can be easily killed and trigger a Game Over. However, it’s refreshing that, unlike Jack who gets mortally wounded when stepping over a mole hill, it takes a lot of punishment for Kong to go down. You’re once again presented with near flawless graphics as he jumps from one part of the screen to the others, uses his impressive strength to chuck around countless animals with one press of the button, lift pillars that would take a dozen man to even budge or enter a berserk state where he's nigh invincible. When enraged, everything falls prey to your mighty over-powered attacks in chorus of vicious swipes and smashes.

Unfortunately, the amount of time you spend playing as Kong is minimal and you’re soon back playing as Jack in his mind-numbingly dull trek across the island.

All this doesn’t necessarily make King Kong a bad game. Certainly, its flaws are plentiful, but when it comes to a game that was made to further promote a movie, it's placed in an entirely new view of criteria since most games of this sort are, quite literally, crap.

Beautiful graphics, enjoyable audio and a solid interdiction all help maintain interest. As time passes however, it steadily becomes repetitive, dull and a chore to complete despite its relative shortness. Even though there are a slew of extras you can gain upon completion and through further play-throughs that might encourage you to plough through again, think it through. Do you really want to play the exact same over-scripted bore-fast all over again?

Rating: 6/10

darketernal's avatar
Featured community review by darketernal (March 29, 2007)

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