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  The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe

"Enter the enchanted world of Narnia, a land frozen in an eternal winter by Jadis, the evil White Witch. It is the destiny of four heroes to work together and use their unique skills and abilities to defeat the Witch and her fierce army of creatures and liberate this magical kingdom from her icy spell.”

Disney and Walden Media bring The Chronicles of Narnia game to lucky gamers. As far as action-adventure arcade games go, this one will be a shoe-in with the younger audiences and maybe even more experience gamers, depending on you're video game preference. Although it wasn"t quite the 'cats' meow’ for me, it definitely had a higher graphics quality and, conceptually, was a treat compared to some of the other book to movie to game adapted stories on the market.

The game is basically a mirror of the book and movie plot, and depending on the scenario, you have the opportunity to play as two, three or all four of the children in the story. You can switch between characters throughout game play, allowing you to take advantage of their individual strengths. The eldest brother, Peter, is best used for simple brute force, as he is the strongest of the siblings. The younger brother Edmund can climb trees and poles, which comes in handy when you’re trying to snag those hard to reach coins and other game goodies. Lucy, the youngest sibling, is great for crawling through narrow spaces that the other siblings would otherwise be unable to fit through and the eldest girl, Susan, has a great throwing arm for items like snowballs and fire arrows.

‘Narnia’ offers a wide range of levels of game play, each level being entered into through the infamous wardrobe, of course. Much like the formula for the majority of adventure games, each level throws at you various obstacles and nasty bad guys for you to overcome in order to put you that much closer to reaching your goal: to overthrow the evil White Witch and save Narnia from her clutches.

There are different options as far as attack modes go, which seems to set this adventure game apart from the norm. Each of the siblings has a unique fighting style, and when they team up, they are a family force to be reckoned with. As you collect coins, you have the chance to purchase advanced moves and even different combo attacks and healing abilities. If those don’t seem sufficient enough, the siblings can also use each other as weapons. For example, Peter can grab his brother Edmund and swing him around a la Xena-warrior princess (minus the yodeling) and Lucy can stand on Peter’s shoulders to fire arrows and avoid attacks from below. Although these combo attacks sound a bit unorthodox and maybe even a bit strange for your run-of-the-mill adventure game, they do come in handy and I think they lend a certain something to the finesse of the fight.

It’s a guarantee that ‘Narnia’ will have a slew of surprises to throw your way during game play. I found however that because the battles seem to bring more and  more bad guys, it would have been nice to have a second player join in the fight. Some of the beasts are difficult to defeat and because a single player can only occupy one sibling at a time, slaying the bad guys can become a bit frustrating. At times the controls were a bit awkward to work and the point of view a bit tricky to follow, but no matter the point of view, it’s definitely a good-looking game.

To sum up, ‘Narnia’ is a snappy adventure game with plenty of smoothly animated characters and oodles of flashy special effects to offer. Some of the tasks were a bit repetitive at times, but the stunning musical score and movie clips make up for the toil and trouble (although the clips could be a bit shorter to help the flow of the game). I will say, however, that if you’ve been psyching yourself up to see the film in the big theater, you might want to save the game until after Christmas. After all, you don’t want to taint your $25 big screen movie outing.

Overall this game stands on it’s own visually and musically as an entertaining movie-based videogame. Everything from the environments to the carefully crafted creatures is truly delightful to behold. If you have the patience to see it through, the reward will be, well, the knowledge that somewhere out there in a snowy fantasy land, a talking lion will take his rightful place on a mystical throne. I know what you’re thinking… “If only I had a nickel for every time that happened…”

Review ID Number: 642
  Product Details
Review Date: 2005-12-06
Reviewer: Kristin Sardy
Rating: 7 out of 10
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