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Peter Jackson's King Kong

Developer: Ubisoft Montpellie | Publisher: Ubisoft
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 11/21/05 | Genre: Action

There are several things you can count on in life. Christmas will wreck your budget, Thanksgiving will cause you to eat entirely too much, New Years will get you to drink a few more drinks than you should, and every new blockbuster movie will have a crappy video game based on it. Seen by game Publishers normally as “quick cash,â€? these games are often rushed to the market, don’t offer any real enjoyment, and are usually not even worth a rental. So with this knowledge, that means Peter Jackson’s King Kong is bad game, right? Not so fast!

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Peter Jackson is a film genius. To compare him to anyone in the video game world, the only person I can think of is Miyamoto. Yes, Jacskon is that good. But since he has no knowledge or real experience with video games, he enlisted the help of Ubi Soft to create his blockbuster game based on the movie. Was this a wise decision? After playing through Peter Jackson’s King Kong, it is clear to me that Ubi Soft not only was up to the task of making a great movie-based game, they succeeded in making a title everyone should play this holiday season.

The game follows the story of the movie and puts you in the shoes of Jack. Players must navigate through the “mysterious islandâ€? where your director is filming his latest blockbuster. Unfortunately things don’t go very well, your team gets stranded and separated, captured by natives, and ultimately sacrificed to Kong. Along the way, players must deal with ammo shortages, locating spears and bones to attack off life-sized bugs, dinosaurs, and sea creatures, solve puzzles, and keep your friends alive. The big problem with keeping your friends alive is that Ann is taken prisoner by Kong, he likes her, and he doesn’t want to let her go.

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The actors all lend their voices and likenesses in Peter Jackson’s King Kong. This helps deliver an entertaining and engrossing story. While I would have probably seen this movie eventually, the game has actually made me want to see it sooner rather than later. Instead of just telling the story of King Kong, you actually feel like you are Jack and are living out the experience of the movie.

The majority of the game is played from the first person perspective of Jack. At times Jack is with his companions and he is also by himself some too. This makes the gameplay very varied. During missions where you are with team members, if they get in trouble, you will have to bail them out. In return, they do the same for you--although they usually let you die before they can help. While some may be concerned that “protecting team membersâ€? sounds a lot like a big escort mission, it usually isn’t a frustrating experience. Your team members will try to defend themselves, grab weapons off the ground, attack enemies, and try to get out of harms way. Sometimes the AI just isn’t smart enough to keep them alive and if they, or you, happen to die, the game will restart at the last check point. While some of the levels are very long and challenging, you can ultimately succeed in completing them all if you just keep working at it.

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There are several levels spread out over the game where you will get to control Kong with brawler-like controls and gameplay. These missions are completely different from the Jack levels and are very fun to play through. At times it can be a button-mashing, over the top, action game. But when you get to play as Kong, the 8th wonder of the world, who cares? It is an absolute blast.

Visually Peter Jackson’s King Kong is stunning to look at--even on the current generation of systems. While the Xbox 360 version is definitely of higher graphical quality, the PC and Xbox version are not far behind. The PS2 and the GameCube looks the worst. But even at its worse, the game never seems to slow down much at all, and looks far better I could have ever dreamed it could on a current generation console.

So if the current generation looks almost this good and plays the same, why spend the extra $10 bucks on the Xbox 360 version? The biggest reason is the ability to play in true HD. If you have a high definition TV, you know how much better all the games look in 720p or 1080i. Besides the graphical upgrades and higher resolutions, I enjoyed Peter Jackson’s King Kong due to the Achievement system Microsoft makes all developers go through. Each game title can have a total of 1,000 points added to a players overall Gamerscore by completing certain events within the game. In the case of Kong, players receive 100 points for making it to certain checkpoints and 200 points for completing the game.

Despite whether you play Peter Jackson’s King Kong on a current generation console, a next-gen console, or the PC, one complaint players may have is that this is a single player game that lasts for about 7 to 10 hours. But this is the highest quality 7 to 10 hours I have experienced in quite some time. The story and gameplay is so much fun that you will want to keep playing. After defeating the game, you can then go back and replay missions to obtain points. One you get all the points unlocked--which won’t take playing through the entire game again, a special new ending will be available. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you.

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Peter Jackson’s King Kong is a First Person Adventure with great sound, controls, visuals, and gameplay that will keep you hooked until the ending credits roll. While the game is ultimately a bit short, it is one intense ride that will leave you breathless. You owe it to yourself to play through this game no matter what console you own. Even with the short length, this game receives my highest recommendations.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 12/12/05
ESRB Details: Blood, Violence
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Screenshots for Peter Jackson's King Kong

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