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Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Offical Game of the Movie

Don’t let the awful title deter you. This is the “Official Game of the Motion Picture”, so if you enjoyed Peter Jackson’s previous work (or at least the film “King Kong”), you should feel right at home here.

After a cut-scene ripped from Peter Jackson’s recent film, “King Kong” (word isn’t out on whether or not it’s an official film), you are placed in the shoes of Jack Driscoll. Driscoll and an ensemble cast involved with the filming of Carl Denham’s new picture accompany you, along with a couple of slaves – someone has to row. The water’s rough as hell and within minutes of hitting land; the dangers of the skull-shaped island present themselves. Rescue helicopters can’t land on the island due to the rigid landscape, and the tumultuous waters leave our characters with no avenue for escape.

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The characters look and act vaguely reminiscent of their silver screen counter-parts, sans developing love interests and emotional attachments. These are just the main characters, or at least the ones you’ll have the most interaction with. Then there’s Kong. He’s a 25-foot tall womanizing gorilla. Pursuing a romantic relationship with one Ann Darrow, Kong isn’t one for foreplay. Instead he grabs the dame and runs away, clutching her in his hand. Kids, don’t consummate romantic relationships with animals, its called bestiality or cruelty to animals, and can get you into trouble.

King Kong successfully translates into playable form because of its simplicity. It falls short due to the occasionally flimsy First Person Shooting segments and withdrawn length. By replicating the important points of interest in films and plotting you right where the last cut-scene left off, this is a playable how-to guide on making an above average “Official Game of the Movie”. Forging a linear path with clear objectives and nothing in the way of on-screen indicators, King Kong made me forget that I was playing a game.

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You’ll either be playing as Jack or Kong, Jack‘s form of gameplay being of the First Person Shooter variety and Kong‘s being a homage to Beat-’Em-Ups. The small cast of characters pushes the adventure forward with their unwavering attention to the situation at hand. They want to get off of Skull Island. Except for Carl Denham. He’ll bust out the tripod throughout the island trek, still intent on filming the damn thing. Awesome.

The weaponry is limited. The stand-by weapons are dropped off via air support. They include pistols, shotguns, sniper rifles, and machine guns. The puzzles are passable, if not irrelevant. Set grass and tangled brush ablaze to unblock paths. Insert lever into slit and turn to open large doorways. Throw bait for a predator to distract him and run like hell. And that’s the extent of Kong’s puzzle prowess. The seaplane from your rescue team can’t land and you can’t shoot it down. The enemies are all pretty easy to kill. The invincible V-Rex less-so than the others. They all eat each other and suffer from hyper-active attention deficit disorder. Skewer a swamp creature, dragonfly, or overgrown larva with a large spear and it can be thrown as a distraction. Driscoll’s no Sam Fisher.

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And neither is Kong. Using the face-buttons to pull off different punches and whatnot, you‘ll now be able to kill that nasty V-Rex that gave Jack so much trouble. The legacy of King Kong may not involve as many over-sized monsters as that of Godzilla, but Godzilla has never received the “official” video game treatment. It’s not the size of your monster that counts; it’s what you do with it.

Peter Jackson’s King Kong encompasses everything that made The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay such a great game. Simplicity is at the heart of King Kong’s accessibility. The game progresses swiftly, non-playable characters pushing the plot forward every step of the way. I’ll be surprised if it’s not looked back upon as a Classic example of how games based on films should be made — with the film’s Director over-seeing the project.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

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