Ubisoft France / Ubisoft MontrealGenre:
November 22, 2005Written by:
We all know who King Kong is. He’s that classic monstrous Ape that scaled the Empire State building back in the 30s. Since then, King Kong has been remembered in the hearts of those who saw and loved it and an icon that everyone can recognize, even those who had never seen King Kong. Now, Peter Jackson is reviving the old beast in his new movie…King Kong. To go along with the movie, Ubisoft is releasing a game known as…King Kong. Will the game do the movie justice and can it stand alone as a fun game? Find out in our review.
The plot of King Kong remains the same as the original movie and Peter Jackson’s new incarnation. Carl Denharm is tired of his failure as a director. To jump start his career, he has obtained a map to an uncharted island, known as Skull Island. Carl is already set to leave, but first, he needs to find a girl to play the lead role in his movie. By fate, he discovers Ann Darrow, a beautiful theatre actor who has just lost her job. She takes Carl’s offer and sets sail to unknown lands. Upon the ship, she meets Jack, a well-known play writer who has authored some of her favorite plays. The two quickly fall for each other, but the nice voyage is about to end. The ship crashes upon Skull Island, leaving them stranded. The crew set off to explore the island, only to have Ann be captured by a group of natives. The natives offer Ann as a sacrifice to Kong, a 25 foot high ape like creature. Kong takes Ann into the jungle and ship crew is off to save Ann and get back home.
You play as Jack, for most of the time. He’s not about to lose his love to a monkey. He and the rest of the crew are armed and ready to take down the mighty beast and save Ann. Through his adventures, Jack will need to use his whit, strength, and weaponry to get off Skull Island alive. You also get to play as King Kong himself. He’s the king of the jungle here and he’s ready to take down any creature that is willing to harm Ann. And so your journey begins.
With the release of an impressive looking movie, you’ll need an impressive looking game to match up. King Kong is simply a beautiful game, regardless of which version you pick up. The lighting is some of the best ever seen in a videogame and the artwork and textures all come together to bring Skull Island alive. Ubisoft really out did themselves with the creature modeling and animations. They are unlike any other creature you’ve seen in real life and graphics are so impressive that you’ll fear them while you’re playing. The game also does a good job giving you a sense of scale. As Jack, you’ll feel insignificant and helpless in this strange new world. As Kong, you feel like you’re bigger than life. Creatures that terrorized Jack are thing to step on. There are some flaws though. Character models aren’t as impressive as the creatures and some of their animations are a bit stiff. Overall though, the game looks simply amazing!
The audio and sound is equally as impressive as the graphics. A full orchestral score plays throughout most of the game. The tunes aren’t exactly memorable, but they definitely add to the overall feeling of the game. The voice acting is the best part of the audio. The cast from the movie are here to play their roles in the game. All the characters are surprisingly convincing and on par with the movie. I take that back. As good as the voice acting is, the creature sounds blow them away. When a dinosaur roars at you for the first time, you feel like you’re watching Jurassic Park again. The lurid sound only adds to the sense of horror the creatures give off!
When you’re playing as Jack, you’ll play the game in the first person and plays for the most part like your typical first person shooter. Controls are simple, yet intuitive. However, there are some unique bits to King Kong. A lot of the focus in the game is on puzzle solving and adapting to fighting different creatures. For example, you’ll need to capture a smaller animal and throw it to distract larger creatures you can’t defeat. The game also has a heavy emphasize on fire and spears. You’ll use fire and spears to clear your path, solve puzzles and take down enemies. When a spear is on fire, you do more damage than you would with a regular spear. Your shipmates will there to cover you or for you to cover most of the time. They’ll tend to just run off and kill everything in sight. You’ll need to defend them A LOT, so you better get used to it. You’ll need them to open doors and get through obstacles. As for weapons, you have a limited amount, mainly pistols, Tommy Guns, rifles, shotguns and whatever you can find in the environment(come on, it’s the 1930s) and you won’t find a whole bunch of ammo for each gun, so conserve your ammo!
An amazing thing Ubisoft has done is remove the entire HUD of the game. That means there is no health bar, no ammo indicator, no map, nothing to clog up the screen. This only adds to the sense of realism to the game. Because there is no HUD, there is no target indicator, so targeting can become difficult. This is you need to use your precision aiming which centers the game to the center of the screen, making aiming more accurate. You’ll need to listen to Jack to determine how much ammo you have. He’ll talk to himself indicating when you need to reload and if he a lot or little ammo. When you get hit, your vision becomes blurry and the screen begins to turn red. Often music kicks in giving you a sense that you’re about to die. To recover your health, you’ll simply need to rest for a bit, but this may be hard to do in mid combat.
Shooting down small creatures and puzzles is all good and fine, but you think you’re beginning to conquer the island, you’ll come face to face with the V-Rex’s. These guys can not be harmed with measly guns. You have only one choice…run! The V-Rex’s are fast and can kill you with one chomp. Often, you can’t run. In one segment, you and your comrades are trapped behind a gate. Your teammates will open to the gate, but you’ll need to distract the V-Rex from eating them. You can shoot it, throw spears, throw bait, whatever you need to do to stay alive. You’ll be chased down a few times by the monsters and one of the best parts is when you’re sailing down a river and you’re being pursued by two at once.
You play as King Kong for about a ¼ of the game. Controlling Kong is like controlling an oversized wrestler in the third person. All the things that gave you trouble as Jack; they’re nothing to Kong…for the most part. Most of the time you’ll just be mashing on the buttons, stomping on animals. You don’t need a lot of skill to get through most of the time. Kong can punch, swat, and kick. Depending on which creature you’re fighting will determine what kind of finishing move you can do with Kong. For flying bat-like creatures, King will rip off their wings. One of the best parts of the game is simply picking up smaller creatures and bash them around the place or you can use them to beat the heck out of creatures. Even though Kong is huge, there is a lot of acrobatics involved in the game. You’ll swing from ledge to ledge, vine to vine, and he movies very well. It’s pretty amazing that you’re controlling something so good so gracefully.
When you encounter the V-Rex’s, it’s time for some payback. You’ll be put into an enclosed area and the game has become like a wrestling match. You can do all the things Kong does with other creatures, but it’s much more satisfying using them on giant V-Rexes. Kong can take objects from the environment and use them as his weapon. There are two ways to finish off the V-Rex. You can either pick them up over your back and slam them into the ground or better yet, you snap their jaw in half! It’s one of the most satisfying finishing moves ever. Ann will also help you in your fights. She’ll stand on the side and throw spears at oncoming enemies. However, she is still open to attack and you’ll need to protect her as well.
All these great moments leads to an unsatisfying ending. In New York, you simply rage around the streets, flipping cars and stomping on people. Jack is nowhere to be seen at the end and fighting humans just isn’t as fun as fighting creatures from Skull Island. The final event is Kong’s last stand on top the Empire State Building fighting the airplanes. This part isn’t much fun since you can’t really go anywhere while on top of the building. It’s just grab a plane and breaks it apart.
The worse part about King Kong is its length. It’s short, really short! The average gamer can get by it in 6 to 8 hours. You can watch the movie twice in that amount of time. There’s hardly anything to keep you playing after you’re done. There are some unlockables where you play in black and white, everything is reverse and there’s a new ending where you play as Jack in an airplane defending King Kong. None of these unlockables add on that much playtime and really aren’t worth going for.
Overall, King Kong is a pretty good game. Amazing presentation and unique gameplay where you play as both man and Kong make it one of the best movie games to date. Kong is only held back by its short length and lack of replay value. If you’re looking for a great game that compliments the movie, you should at least rent it and maybe even purchase it if you’re a big King Kong fan. Pros:
Amazing presentation, no HUD, great sound and voice acting, unique shooting sequences, playing as King Kong is fun Cons:
It’s far too short, the ending is brief and unsatisfying, the game title is far too long 8.2/
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