Review by Steelydan
Space Jumanji...Play at your own risk!
"I'm really surprised not to find any Reviews on GameFAQs about this one". That's a quote from my last review I just did for The Haunted Mansion. I think I will make it my mission to provide for a Review for GameFAQs for those platform games that didn't warrant a review by other GameFAQ visitors. I wrapped this one up before HM, but I'm just now getting around to giving it a review. I'm pretty lenient on games, not being ga-ga over games like Halo or GTA San Andreas. But here it goes anyway. I love picking up these little gems for almost nothing, then finding out they're more enjoyable than I would have expected.
Story Line: -Rating 7- It's Jumanji in space, but with Robin Williams replaced with a couple of annoying, bratty boys. You should know the story line, but with no twisters in the game, unlike the movie, except maybe for the Robot. You might play as sniveling Danny, or his older and bully brother Walter, or as the robot, which you reprogram. You take turns alternating from one to the other, depending on the level you're on. The robot plays a more active role in the game, and surprisingly, the boy's sister (the cute little girl from the movies Panic Room and Cold Creek Manor-Kristen Stewart) doesn't even make an appearance in the game. The astronaut does, but only in the cut scenes, and the twist of the movie is not given away in the game.
Graphics: -Rating 8- The graphics are really decent, and the motion is skip free, at least on the Xbox. I find myself saying that a lot for Xbox, but it's true. Your characters can run, jump, kick, fire a slingshot, swing a bat-like club, or even propel yourself with a rocket with the robot. The graphics are not the best, but they are pretty good, but the camera angle sometimes bites big time. The space scenes and asteroid worlds are really pretty decently rendered. I would say they're just as good as the movie. Even the characters and the bosses are fairly well graphically displayed.
Gameplay: -Rating 8- This is really a decent platformer. The game starts off, as in the movie, with two young brothers being left home alone fighting. Danny, the whiny younger brother, bugs his older brother Walter, who is bored with him. Eventually Danny ends up all alone in the basement, where he finds a strange board game called Zathura. Danny hits a button on the game, and a card pops out, and that's where the excitement begins. When it's over, the remainder of the house is floating through space with the two young boys stranded inside. To get back to earth, the boys have to finish playing the game, but each time they take a turn, you guessed it, something weird happens. The fact that they are in space and not suffocating and freezing is weird enough, but let's stick with the gameplay. Each button push will produce a different card which will take you to
different worlds and spaceships where you'll fight rampaging robots and the lizard-like Zorgons. When you finish the game, you're rewarded with two trailers for Zathura and one for Jumanji. Danny is a weakling, but has a mean slingshot. He can collect different kinds of ammo for his slingshot by breaking objects like crates and boxes. He has infinite moon rocks, but he can collect only limited supplies of electric shots, freezing shots, and explosive crystal bombs. Walter is stronger, so he can swing a mean club (robot arm), swing on bars and hang on ropes. Walter can throw things like radioactive waste containers and sand-crab eggs that he collects along the way. The robot has two melee attacks and a built-in cannon that can fire pulse ammo, bombs, missiles, and homing charges. The robot can also jump higher than the boys, or can propel himself with a rocket. All are fairly easy to master with the controller.
Sounds: -Rating 8-. Just as good as the movie with my surround-sound system. Great sound effects. Sounds get a pretty high mark.
Replay Value: -Rating 5- Some levels are more enjoyable than others, some are just frustrating and you just can't wait to get past them. They all become available once you've completed the game, or can be replayed once you've finished each level. Just scroll back with your Left trigger. I personally like the Robot levels, and avoid those jumping from block to block ones. The cut scenes can be quickly bypassed with a simple click of the joystick button. But you will find it mostly collecting dust after you beat it. I don't even think it's a rental anymore, but it's cheaper to buy than to rent anyway at this late stage. Just add it to your collection.
Final Score: -7/10- A low 7. For less than $15 new this game is worthy of being in any collection, and although it has a low replay value, it is still fun to replay some of the more exciting levels. If you're a Third Person Shooter, or an Action player, then this game is worthy of your time. I don't know if you can still rent it, but if you can rent it you can finish it fairly quickly. But still, for that price, you can't go wrong by owning it. That's the beauty of these older games. The hardest part about this review is coming up with a catchy tag-line...like anyone is going to read it anyway!
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