Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Review

posted 1/5/2006 by Sean Colleli
other articles by Sean Colleli
One Page Platforms: DS
In addition, the dungeon crawler aspect is exacerbated by the lack of maps in the actual dungeons. This leads to endless minutes of wandering around, battling a constant supply of respawning enemies. The gratuitous fighting does lead to a quick accumulation of skill points, but it feels more like a cheap way to extend gameplay. The maps for the overworld are helpful, but not nearly as effective as something you’d find in Zelda or Metroid. Narnia did a good job in the conceptual department, but the implementation needs a great deal of polish.

Traversing the complicated wastes of Narnia is at least pleasing to the eye. The frigid snow dunes, the environment that literally drops in temperature, and the well constructed character models present the world in a quasi-realistic form—Narnia feels more like Lord of the Rings than Harry Potter. There is a set culture and accompanying laws between the intelligent speaking animals of the kingdom, and interacting with these disparate factions is a key to the game. Mr. Tumnus and other allies you meet along the way have a great deal of detail and polygons for a handheld and sport a rough, worldly look. Narnia could be considered a kid’s game, but older fantasy fans should find plenty to like.

The audio is only a few rungs below the graphical presentation, due mainly to the lack of voice acting. This absence is excusable, however; there is a great deal of dialogue in this game, and cramming all the voice work into a DS cartridge could have been prohibitive. Sound effects are suitable, but a little on the bland and recycled side. Music is sweeping and orchestral, ripped right from the movie, and fits each situation nicely. You’ll find that the atmosphere is augmented in almost every situation by the ambient tracks from the film.

Rounding out this modest-sized package is a competent multiplayer component. Up to four players can tackle the quest through Narnia in cooperative mode, given they each have a copy of the game. The multi-card only play is something of a gripe, but considering the size of the game and the popularity of the franchise, it’s an acceptable shortcoming. Once they see the movie, most DS owning kids will probably pick up the game anyway.

So, whether you liked the movie or not, Chronicles of Narnia for DS is worth a rent at least. Any fantasy or dungeon player will find it an entertaining diversion, if not wholly engrossing. I had some significant qualms with the speed and tightness of the combat, but the average gamer will get past the inconveniencies within a few minutes, and find a decent licensed title just inside the initial awkwardness


C+
As with many movie games, Narnia has a large helping of content but a rushed interface. Controls are slow and a bit unresponsive, and the inability to pause during menu management is confusing. Multiplayer co-op doesn’t support DS download play, but with the movie being so popular, there will probably be an abundance of other people to play with.


Page 2 of 2