Be prepared for some ape madness, as gamers and movie goers alike are hit with a double dose of King Kong. Being released close to the same time as the film, Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie, will be immersing gamers in a pulse-quickening adventure in and around the lush jungle of Skull Island.
With Peter Jackson having handpicked the same development team that brought us Beyond Good and Evil to make this game, you can be sure that this is more than just a token effort to climb aboard the hype surrounding the movie. King Kong looks set to become one of the biggest games this holiday season.
"It's an absolute pleasure working with Ubisoft on the video game," said triple Academy Award winner and King Kong director Peter Jackson. "Being able to collaborate closely together from day one is of utmost importance, which is why we've given Ubisoft unlimited access to every creative aspect of our film production. We really want the game and the film to be part of the same universe."
King Kong is divided into two parts – either playing from a first person perspective as Jack Driscoll, or as a third person romp taking control of the mighty ape himself.
As Jack, you’ll spend the majority of the first few levels being reminded just how much of an insignificant snack you’ll make for most of the islands inhabitants. With guns being few and far between, you’ll have to ward off everything from giant centipedes to the hulking rexes with nothing more than sticks and stones you find along the way. There’s no need to fight fair with these bullies, so you’ll do well to remember that fire will also even the odds a little. While all this may seem like a slightly daunting task at first, an auto adjusting difficulty level should help you to keep you on your feet.
For those people not so interested in dangling at the bottom of the food chain, King Kong’s section of the game will pack a slightly heavier punch. As the undisputed King of this jungle, you’ll no longer have to flee for your life and you’ll be swatting away bats like flies and beating up raptors by the handful.
In a move to make the game as cinematic as possible, the onscreen interface has been removed, leaving you with a clear view of exactly what nasties are trying to devour you at the time. The lack of interface makes a refreshing change from most of the adventure games already available, and will prove exactly why King Kong the game will almost certainly match King Kong the movie in terms of a cinematic experience. With no stats and bars onscreen to distract you, chances are you’ll have a hard time remembering this is still a game that needs to be played and you might have to put down your popcorn if you hope to survive. Playing as Jack, you’ll be relying mostly on audio and visual cues to judge how well you’re doing. Shouted instructions from your party members will help to inform you of mini targets and goals, and a shaky red screen will be your indication that you’ve been injured. After multiple hits, Jack will start moving sluggishly and will find it even harder to fight off the numerous threats around him.
The overall graphics look amazing, with lush surroundings and detailed surfaces giving the different environments a more than realistic touch. Regardless of how the game plays, this is sure to be an impressive looking adventure.
"Ubisoft is extremely excited to reach this milestone in collaborating with Peter Jackson, Wingnut Films and Universal Studios Consumer Products Group," said Yves Guillemot, president and chief executive officer of Ubisoft. "The response among the media, core gamers and the mass-market audience has been tremendous and we can't wait to launch Ubisoft's most impressive and successful game of 2005 – Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie."
King Kong will be let loose in stores on November 22, and will be available on the Xbox, Playstation 2, Gamecube, PSP, DS, GBA and Xbox 360.
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The Good: So intense you’ll swear this is the movie.
The Bad: This game looks set to be quite a challenge.
The Ugly: He’s not that bad looking for a giant ape is he?