Review by RamzaSilverburg
A fairly enjoyable game, although it could've been better
For those who don't know The Chronicles of Narnia, it's a series of books telling the tales of a magical world called Narnia. The first book, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", has recently been translated to a movie, which is what this game is based on.
The story itself is simple: during WWII, four children move from the city to the much safer countryside, where they discover by accident that a wooden wardrobe can take them to the world of Narnia. However, this world is currently reigned over by an evil witch, and an ancient prophecy says that four humans will one day arrive and take back the land.
The children end up separated, as the youngest brother attempts to betray the others by switching to the witch's side, but in the end they reunite and guide their army of mythological creatures against the witch's for a final victory.
What's nice about this game is that it uses some footage from the actual movie to tell the player what's going on...however, as the game progresses, those scenes get shorter and shorter and end up barely telling what's going on. I do know people who play this game are supposed to have watched the movie anyway, but they could have at least showed the full ending instead of the sole coronation event.
The game is divided in missions with different objectives featuring some or all of the children. The starting levels involve mainly exploration, while later stages require fighting monsters or doing something in a set time.
Cleared missions can be replayed anytime to collect secret items such as statues (which are used in the second to last mission to call reinforcements) and shields (which are just there and have no practical use).
As if that wasn't enough, extra levels can be accessed by retrieving a certain amount of items. Other unlockables include recordings of the children's voice acting, interviews and such.
The gameplay is simple: each child can be moved around in the same way, but their actions are pretty different. Peter and Ed can maul hostile creatures with sticks and swords and also learn special moves, Susan can use a bow and aim at distant targets and Lucy, the youngest of the bunch, has the ability to heal everyone and tame some monsters.
Furthermore, characters can cooperate to access certain areas or unleash powerful attacks, and new skills can be learned during of after a mission. These skills include health increases, new attacks and so on.
As far as difficulty, the game is somewhat forgiving, since the player can die countless times and always restart the current level at the most recent checkpoint, but at the same time challenging, especially during big brawls where quickly switching child and using attacks efficiently are key.
There's a level selector, too, where the player can choose between the "normal" difficulty, and the "hard" one.
The game does have its flaws, though. The major ones involve replayability and unlockables. Levels can be replayed to retrieve items that hadn't been taken before, but actually taking those items is pretty dull, as it involves punching anything that does or doesn't move, or hitting a sequence of buttons hoping a random monster doesn't hit you, forcing you to reenter said sequence from the start. The first level has 21 hidden shield, all of which need massively punching furniture to be found.
Another drawback is the total length of the game -- the movie lasts well over 2 hours, but the main story can be cleared in one day. Once the story is over, all that's left to do is swordinating items and monsters to unlock stuff.
The sound is nice both as music and voice acting. The movie clips have also been re-voiced.
Graphics aren't too bad, there are no slowdowns, monsters and characters are clearly visible on screen and the play areas are remarkably done.
Overall it's a fun game, not the best of its genre, but a good movie adaptation. Fans should definitely try it out (although Ed fans may be disappointed by his absence in most levels) while others might just want to rent it due to its lack in length.
Product Release: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (EU, 11/25/05)
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