The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia
In the XBox version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe movie, the game mixes in video footage from the movie with action game fighting, coin collecting and obstacle climbing.

If you've played a platformer/adventure game before, you have a fair idea of what's involved here. You bash random objects to see if coins or special tokens emerge. You climb up trees. You kill random enemies that come at you. You get to checkpoint at spots along your path, in case death visits you. At the end of each level, you get your coins and tokens tallied up, and get a rating of how well you did.

You have an incentive to gather as much as you go - the more coins you get, the more special abilities you unlock. Those skills really help you as you get into the more challenging areas of the game.

Since you have the four main characters from the book and movie, each character has his or her own special abilities. You often have to switch from character to character to get past an area - having the young Lucy climb up onto objects, having the stronger Peter bash at doors or wolves. There are even combo moves where two characters interact together in order to solve a problem.

The graphics are reasonably good for the XBox platform. There are many transitions between the video cinematics and the in-game graphics which really help to ensure you feel a part of the story. If you want quick gaming, you might get frustrated - there is a lot of movie to sit through, to build the atmosphere for you. However, if you really enjoy the storyline, you'll be thrilled. You get a lot of the background and interaction to give you meaning for what you're doing.

Some of the gameplay is a little more annoying than it should be. There are missions where you have to figure out a timed path. There isn't any real rhyme or reason to the path - you just keep trying paths and failing until by default you end up with the correct one. Ditto to the "find the [insert object name here]" kinds of missions.

Also, the camera is *really* annoying. There are many spots where you want to turn around and examine the area, but you can't. In the modern world of gaming, there's really no reason for a fixed camera angle.

Still, for people who love the movie, this is a great, fun way to get involved in the movie storyline. There is fighting, but it's a mild style of wolf-bashing type of combat.

Well recommended.

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