Reviewed by Shera - 12.08.05
Introduction:The Chronicles of Narnia which was first written in 1950 is about to have a rejuvenation into the main stream, kind of like the Lord of The Rings Novels did with it's long awaited motion picture. You can't have a big hollywood movie anymore without a video game tie in licence, so Ben Vista Games is here with their rendition of this classic tale.
The Game: Developed by Traveler's Tales, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe captures the story line of the movie / C.S. Lewis book quite well. Due to the WWII air raids in London, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are sent to the countryside to live with in the house of an old professor, Digory Kirke. During their exploration of the house they discover the wardrobe. A portal to another world. I won't go into too much detail, but if you have read the book the game does the tale justice.
The first thing that catches your eye is the graphics. They are clean and sharp. The resemblance between the characters in the game and their characters from the movie is startling. The Narnia landscapes are a treat and the music straight from the movie soundtrack works well in its place. One feature I quite enjoyed and found clever was the cinematic scenes staggered throughout the game. They kept you wanting more, quite a brilliant ruse to get you to the theatre.
The game starts off during an air raid in London . Your character is Peter (the oldest age 14) and your goal is to collect your siblings and get them safely out of the burning house. Escaping levels is pretty much the gist of each mission. Whether you are battling fires in London , hiding from the wretched, grumpy housekeeper, Mrs. McCready or holding off ogres and wolves, each level is action packed with a specific goal in mind. Along the way you are also collecting coins which enable you to enhance your characters moves or strengths. Once you have enough coins, you can use them to buy health, new abilities or combo attacks that come in handy as the game progresses.
Each of the four characters has their own strong suits. Peter and Edmund are both successful in battles, but Peter is the stronger one. Edmund is great for climbing poles and the like to collect coins. Susan is strong with a cross bow, but a little clumsy when it comes to hand to hand combat and frustrating to control. Lucy does an excellent job getting into tight or hard to reach places. My personal favorite character is Peter. He is strong and can take out an enemy quite easily, by hand or with a weapon.
In some areas it is difficult to figure out and obtain your goal. Particularly when there is one gamer playing all four character, because each character has their own strength you could be continuously switching back and forth to complete your mission. It becomes time consuming. Other times, your siblings stand idly by, while you battle your enemies. There is one feature that can end this frustration though. The game allows a second player to jump in at any time to take over one of the characters and assist. This comes in handy at late stages of the game.
Lowdown:Even though the game is intended for a younger audience, I think gamers of all ages can appreciate its strong points. Clear, sharp visuals with beautifully illustrated landscaping and action packed battles, far outweigh the difficulties you can encounter when trying to maneuver your characters. All in all, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is definitely worth putting on your Christmas wish this year.
Game: 7, Graphics/Sound: 8, Innovation: 7, Mojo: 8. Final: 7.5 / 10