The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe Gameplay Review
By Brian Cochran - January 11, 2006
Well, I'm not ashamed to say that I read the books as a kid, and I loved them. As an adult, there's now a movie, which looked spectacular.
But, as it happens with a lot of epic movies nowadays, they decided that they needed to cash in a little bit further with a game based on
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Aside from having one of the longest titles for a video game ever, I had
hopes that this game would not be just another one of those console game ports to squeeze more bucks out of a classic title. Were my hopes
shattered? What's not to like about talking beavers and lions? I would sum this game up in these four words: epic, delicious, hokey, and dull.
There is no doubt that the classic book on which this game is based is an epic. The game itself was a bit less epic, and more action/battle
driven. You play as the four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. You don't just play as one of them, as they all have their
strengths. You have to play as all four, and occasionally as two of them teamed up.
The Stick Bundle Projects An Arrow
The game follows the Pevensie children from war torn London to the countryside, where they are taken in by Professor Kirke. Inside Kirke's home,
during a game of hide and seek, Lucy discovers the magical Wardrobe. Once she closes herself in the Wardrobe, she opens the portal to Narnia, the
land where talking animals are the norm. Eventually, all the children make their way into the Wardrobe, where they fight an epic battle of good
against evil. This is a great story that has a strong Christian overtone.
While the storyline is fairly straightforward, the graphics and audio make this game delicious. The audio was particularly strong, making this game
sound better than most that I've played. The voices on the talking animals came through loud and clear (often corny, but necessary).
I also particularly liked that you had to rely on the strengths of each of the kids. Peter is the powerful fighter. Susan is good at archery and
throwing snowballs. Edmund is good at climbing. Lucy is the healer, who can tame animals and fit into small places. You can team up the kids to
do some unique moves. You can spin Edmund around, you can pull Lucy through snow, and you can bowl the smaller siblings through rocks and shrubs.
All these different skills lead to richer gameplay. Unfortunately, the game pretty much tells you exactly when you need to use each skill. It's
like video-gaming for dummies.
The action and fighting in this game seemed very contrived. For instance, in a certain area of the game, hungry wolves just keep coming out of the
forest, and they're practically begging to be slaughtered. There is nothing I like better than beating wolves dead with tree branches, but come on.
I also thought collecting coins to buy your skills was a little hokey. Coins should buy you weapons and armor, not skills. You should develop skills,
not buy them. Also, you mark statues by hitting them so that Aslan can free them after you finish the game. Whacking statues isn't exactly what I
consider to be a "must have" game feature.
This game is a lot of the same thing, over and over and over again. The levels are very linear, and go by rather quickly. I would have preferred to be
able to explore at least a little bit, but was no room for that. The monotony was unbearable at times. I felt like beating my head against my desk.
This game suffers from console port-itis. I found it impossible to make changes to my keyboard configuration. Every time I would make a change, it
wouldn't let me save it, and I always had to resort back to the defaults. I read and re-read the electronic documentation, but I couldn't figure out
how to actually save my configuration. So I was stuck with the default, which I found difficult to use.
Games are supposed to be fun. They're supposed to be an escape from reality. You should be able to escape by becoming someone else. The problem with
this game is that you are constantly reminded that you're not a character. In this game you are four separate characters, and you have to constantly
think when you want to change from one character to another. It doesn't give you a chance to develop one character.
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is a good game. It would make a better console game than a PC game, unless the gamer is
using a game pad. For keyboard and mouse players, you might want to skip this one. I give this game a solid base-hit. Thanks to
nVidia for providing the game.