King Kong DS Review
What is so difficult in making a game for the Nintendo DS? Can someone explain this to me? I mean, no, it's not the Game Boy Advance, but, on the other hand, it's not the Sega Saturn either. You'd think that companies would have a competent hold on how to make a good game for the system, as proven many times by Nintendo and their quality library.
But apparently, some people just don't get it. Not EA, who made pitiful, lazy examples of DS software with Burnout Legends, Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, and Need For Speed: Most Wanted. And now Ubisoft joins the ranks of tanking, with their DS conversion of Peter Jackson's King Kong, based upon the hit movie of the same name.
The basis is the same as it is on the consoles. You control Jack Driscoll, a playwright who seems to have a knack for handling a gun, through most of the levels in a first-person perspective, but there are a couple of stages thrown in that let you take control of the mighty Kong as he wallows around levels and beats things to a pulp, namely dinosaurs who call his mother names. Or something like that. Mixed up with both of them is Ann Darrow, a beautiful actress who seemingly gets into a lot of peril in the game.
So she has a lot in common with whomever plays it, I guess. The similarities between the DS version and the other versions is just the story, and end there. Period. The DS version is programmed rather lamely, with the kind of poor visuals and uneventful gameplay to put even the most hyper 6-year old to sleep. Where should I begin...?
Let's talk visuals. The first-person levels should be exciting for a game like this, but instead the levels are too big for their own good, and you're soon mulling around in darkness, with only the foggy terrain ahead of you to guide you and the occasional run-in with a mutant crab or bat. I don't even think the original Turok: Dinosaur Hunter had as much fog as this game possesses, and that's damn near impossible since you could sense a fog machine was running in that game. The animation isn't really any better, with the exception of some of Kong's movements. And the story sequences are stiff and non-interactive. Oh, and if you're expecting anything dazzling in New York, don't bother. Only the final ending sequence takes place in the Big Apple and doesn't even let you control Kong as he swats away at planes. Boo!
The sound isn't really that much better. The musical score is decent but it keeps looping too damn much, without a hint of variety. Worse yet, the voice samples are way too repetitious for their own good, and the sound effects aren't that astounding. Even the screams of Kong come across as held back.
As for gameplay...well, gee, if any existed, I'd be glad to boast about it to save myself from the horrendous presentation. But, as you might expect from a game rushed on the visual front, it feels terrible. The first-person controls seem to lack momentum and accuracy, something that can be a real pain in the ass when you're chomped on by a bat that you can't shoot. The Kong segments even seem to be lacking a fine feel to them, with Kong occasionally swinging at air and getting pounded as a result. Yeah, real fair, guys. Puzzles? Schyeah. You got patience to get through those? The whole affair feels like it's laborious rather than enjoyable, and that's a big no-no when a video game is concerned. That's like going to work at a perfume factory and not even getting the satisfaction of a check...and all you're left with is an overwhelming stench you can barely get off you.
Finally, we come to extras. Um, what extras? Seventeen levels of single player action and that's it. No multiplayer, no movie sequences, no unlockable goodies. It's just a two-hour ride and the thing is over. Even the movie lasts longer than the game, and I believe that's a first for a licensed title.
Boring as hell and offering zero merits to its credit, Peter Jackson's King Kong is a complete letdown for the Nintendo DS. If Kong were actually around and played this game, he'd jump off the Empire State Building than tolerate another minute of this monkey poop.
What's Hot: Great movie license.
What's Not: Poorly done all around; no multiplayer or extras whatsoever.