What makes this game work is the humor, which managed to win me over right from the beginning. Even though he's not voiced by Sacha Baron Cohen (star of Borat and Da Ali G Show), Julien the lemur is just funny enough to keep a smile on my face. That said, most of the other characters aren't nearly as entertaining. What's more, it's easy to tell that the stand-in voice actors were doing their best impressions of the multi-million dollar actors that passed on this project. Some of these actors do a passable job (the Chris Rock sound alike is surprisingly solid), while you would never know who the other actors were trying to imitate (the person that plays Alex the lion doesn't sound a thing like Ben Stiller).
And while this isn't a huge deal, there isn't much story in this mini-game collection. From what I know of the movie (based on reading reviews and watching the trailer) it looks like much of the movie is about rekindling a relationship with your parents. Well, none of that is apparent in this game. Outside of using the movie's location and characters, I suspect this game has very little to do with the storyline of the film. Then again, I'm not sure that it will matter all that much to the kids who pick this game up.
One thing that surprised me was the game's graphics, which weren't nearly as good as I thought they would be. It's not that they are bad or anything, but the similar textures and character models look like they are nothing more than up-scaled versions of PlayStation 2 graphics. Again, I doubt this will be that big of an issue, since everybody looks right and all of the main characters are accounted for. The game's visuals are on par with what you find in most games based on animated movies, which is neither a good nor bad thing.
When you beat the game's single-player mode there are actually a few different multiplayer mini-games you can access from the game's main menu. These games include animal-themed versions of chess, soccer, miniature golf, musical chairs, hot potato and more. These are fairly simple games, but with four people they can be a lot of fun. On top of these games, you can also try out a demo of Kung Fu Panda or shop at the duty free shop. The duty free shop gives allows you to buy videos, apparel and more.
While I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, I did have a good time playing through this game. The mini-games have enough variety to keep most people entertained and the humor is generally pretty good. Considering what a disaster most games based on animated movies are, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this title. That doesn't mean that you should run out and buy this over Fallout 3, but if you're looking for an inoffensive action game to keep the kiddies occupied, then you could do a lot worse than Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa certainly isn't the best game of the year, but it's not a bad game for kids who enjoyed the film series. It features some nice humor, a few fun mini-games and a bunch of multiplayer modes that can actually get pretty competitive. If you're an adult looking for a game, you should probably go with Call of Duty or Fallout 3 before this, but if you're looking for a game for a young child then you could do a lot worse than this game!
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