So I was a little bit bored, and looking through my big pile of games I need to get around to playing sometime and I noticed the King Kong game. Or to give it it’s proper title: Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie.
I chose this game because I had heard that it was short and easy. Reviews I had read had either said that it was either okay as a game, or actually a bit crap. The fact that it apparently also had some easy 360 achievements had absolutely nothing to do with why I chose it. No, really. My wife picked it up for me for about AU$10 or $15 (typical new game prices here are $80-100).
So, the game itself. Well, you take on the role of “Jack” something-or-other, and your job is security or some thing and so you follow Jack Black around King Kong’s island shooting things that get in the way, and occasionally rescuing our blonde damsel in distress.
The game is split into 41 chapters, most of which take between 5 and 10 minutes to play through. The interface of the game is a bit different, in that there is no HUD – no onscreen indicators of health, ammo, lives, map or compass. As such, the game features COD-style regenerating health when you stop and rest for a couple of moments.
To make up for the lack of the standard visual information that we normally get in a FPS, the levels are quite linear. This also contributes to their brevity.
The enemies in the game start off as giant crabs and quickly progress to giant millipedes and such. While there are some cool looking enemies later on in the game – and I’ll get to those in a minute, much of the first half of the game at least seems to be made up of throwing spears and shooting at those damn millipedes. They actually are creepy enough initially, but after you’ve impaled your 127th one on a spear or bone fragment, they’ve lost all of that and have just declined to a boring enemy. This leads me to the second of the overly-used aspects of the game.
Spears and fire. The “puzzles” in the game – if you can call them that – mostly consist of you finding fire somewhere, then getting a speartip to the fire so that you have a blazing spear, then taking that same spear to find some bushes to set alight, and possibly some mobs so you can KILL IT WITH FIRE. The game also has “bait mobs” such as giant grubs, fish and flies which you can spear, then throw into an area where the predatory species (aka the ones you need to fight) swarm them, then you can either shoot them or throw a blazing spear into their general area.
There are some cool mobs in the game though – there are mobs that look like flying skinless apes – perhaps refugees from the Wizard of Oz – Tim Burton edition, but mostly, the impressive mobs are the dinosaurs. The most fun in this game is had simply from continually spearing raptors in the head (helped by the unlimited-spears cheat code, which incidentally, does not disable achievements!)
The most impressive parts of the game though, are when you see something big for the first time. This effect might be lessened if you’re playing on a smaller screen, but on a bit screen, the first time you see Kong really is a “whoah” moment. As is the first time you see the Brontosaurouses (before the game unfortunately manages to make them ho-hum as well), and of course the T-Rex, which actually has a really cool roar/scream effect that goes with it.
Overall, it’s not especially exciting. It’s an ok way to spend a Sunday afternoon or a few sessions over a week to blast through and whore some achievements. You’ll never play it again after that, though. It’s surprisingly less bad than I’d expected, but not good, either.
Verdict: Worth a rental, or maybe a super-cheap lift from Le Bargain Bin.