Reviewed by Jimmy | 10.23.06
Alton with the help of THQ brings us the game adaptation of recient Alex Rider Stormbreaker movie. This teen flick which gets its plot from a series of books first released in 2000 is the Harry Potter of the Spy world. If you're already thinking of writing off Alex Rider as another lame movie based videogame, hold off for a few more moments and check out our review of the surprisingly cool Alex Rider Stormbreaker.
Alex Rider Stormbreaker is a fictional character created by Anthony Horowitz who has six published books under the Stormbreaker title. Anthony hopes this catches on and becomes the next Harry Potter. Like Harry Potter, Alex Rider has been adapted into a motion picture which was released this year. Surprising because I haven't heard of the novels, I was surprised to see the strong cast of Mickey Rourke, and Ewan McGregor, and the rookie, Alex Pettyfer. This brings me to the conception of the video game, like normal fashion Alex Rider Stormbreaker has been picked up from the movie ties and has been auctioned out as a game. THQ who recently turned Pixars Cars into an enjoyable and hope the do the same with Horowitz's Alex Rider.
The character you play in the game is Alex Rider a fourteen year old orphan who gets into unlikely career of international espionage as a Spy. Motivated by a tragic assassination involving his uncle, Alex jumps in with the Special Operations Division of M16 which is a real secret intelligent service in the United Kingdom and attempts to track down his uncle's killer. Ok, the plot is good; the characters motivations are set up, now lets get see how THQ handled the action.
Alex Rider Stormbreaker would be classified as a 3D beat em up game with other elements thrown into the mix. Most of your time in Alex Rider is spent navigating corridors and fighting adversaries with your skilled Kung fun hands. The combat engine isn't that advanced, considering you can only kick, punch and block without big combo moves. Alex Rider Stormbreaker is a simple beat em' up for the most part, thankfully Altron added a little more to the fighting by the way of a Stamina meter. During fights, or in general Alex will have to watch his stamina meter which goes down when he runs or throws punches or kicks. This means your fights won't be all out button mashers because you'll have to time your attacks, block and conserve your energy levels all at once. Playing Alex as a 14 year old teenager beating down old mechanics with wrenches and armed special agents is a humorous at times, but it all works out good and makes for a fun fighting game.
Alex Rider Stormbreaker also has some extra added depth by the ability to upgrade your character by earning experience points. These points can be picked up randomly as green cubes around the map or obtained when you down a bad guy. You can check how the points affect Alex by hitting the 'status' menu on the touch screen. This brings up a green x-ray styled picture of Alex with his vital signs showing that by touching can show your skill level with your legs or arms. This is really just a fancy way of showing your stats which seems like typical Spy gadgetry.
Strombringer isn't always about fighting; Alton has added some other cool gaming moments to break up the fighting levels. In one level you'll be racing along on your motorcycle and then in another you have to tail this guy through a building without being scene. My only real problem with the content or the way Stormbringer plays is that it doesn't use the Nintendo DS to its potential. You hardly use the touch screen and the other elements like the microphone are only used for short mini-games. Alex Rider Stormbringer has a good layer of things to keep us busy; I just wanted to be busier with the stylus.
All around THQ's Alex Rider Stormbringer is easy to get into and you won't have too many problems completing this game. I say it runs about 2 to 3 hours which would be like watching the movie twice. You can revisit some of the missions in the mini-game section, but its likely once you finish you'll be trading this one in. Are their fans of Alex Stormbringer? I'm not sure, but if you are then this game should be a good representation. I'm not familiar with the series at all, although after playing the game I just might keep the channel on if the movie came on the tube.
The major weak point in Alex Stormbringer is defiantly in the graphics department. The sound comes off doing an admirable job except its lacking any voice work. Graphically Alex is a mismatch of textures and blocks and bad animation. I realize its running on the lower powered DS, but it could be improved. Alex Stormbringer redeeming itself somewhat with picture screens from the movie which look great on the DS. Although considering we normally see 2D based games on the DS you can't slag Altons effort too much.
Alex Rider Stormbringer is a solid action game for the Nintendo DS. Even if you're not a fan of the film you will have fun running around beating up dudes, sneaking around, and various other espionage type activities. Alex Rider is easy to get into and is packed with several fun moments. I was surprised with the overall quality and design of Stormbringer and the small qualms I had with the lack of touch screen and questionable graphics are forgiven. Check out Alex Rider Stormbringer.
Gameplay: 7.5, Graphics/Sound: 6, Innovation: 6, Mojo: 8. Final: 7 / 10
Simple Controls, Easy to Get Into, Fun Missions, 3D Gameplay
Graphics Low Quality, Short Game, Touch Screen Almost Useless
DS and GBA games based on the eagerly-awaited big-screen debut of 14-year old special agent Alex Rider.
Alex Rider is the hero of Anthony Horowitz's best-selling series of novels about a reluctant teenage British super-spy.
Gameplay includes combat, stealth missions, vehicles, and the use of gadgets to achieve mission objectives.
Explore the Stormbreaker universe- levels include Ian Rider's house, the breakers yard, MI6's secret Liverpool Street HQ, MI6's training facilities and Darius Sayle's complex.
Receive spy gadgets from Smithers that will aid you in combat, navigation, and the ability to unlock special mini-games.
Get mission briefings from Mrs Jones and Alan Blunt as you go deep undercover.
Become Alex Rider!