by Howie Howard
previewed on PC
A Movie Tie-in to Remember
"Peter Jackson's King Kong" is the game version of the upcoming movie that will be released later in December. The game is produced by Ubisoft and it aims to follow the same storyline as the movie. And from what I know about the movie, this game does a very good job at what it is attempting to do. The full version of King Kong will arrive later in November, which is about a month before the movie comes out. Therefore, be warned that if you prefer not knowing what happens in the movie then you will have to forgo playing the game for a while. That may prove difficult to do because the game promises to be very good. Often computer games and movies do not mix, but this game seems to have found the right mix.
In the shadows of a mysterious lost island...
A group of characters set out from New York City ready to film producer Carl Denham's movie. The filming is to take place on a mysterious lost island named, appropriately enough, Skull Island. The crew embarks on the sail ship Victory and soon find themselves shipwrecked and cast ashore on the island. And they soon find out that this island really isn't your run-of-the-mill deserted island. In fact numerous beasts, predators and monsters inhabit it. The biggest predators are the big T-Rex dinosaurs called, oddly enough, V-Rex. The beast is our hero King Kong and the other monsters are an assortment of bats, brontosauruses, and massive centipede creatures, which run rampant on the island. The excitement starts when leading lady Ann Darrow is kidnapped by a band of savage island tribesmen. These evil tribesmen have decided to offer her to the massive 25-foot tall ape, King Kong, as a sacrifice. As it turns out, Kong scoops the sacrificial lady up like a little china doll and the rest is a story that we all know very well.
You can run, but you cannot hide...
After this introduction, the player now enters the story as either Jack Driscoll or as the King Kong himself. I first tried my hand at playing as the hero Jack. This choice led me to a first person perspective sequence where Jack tries to protect the filming crew from the dangers on the island. I found this part of the game very fun because I was able to wield an assortment of weapons, ranging anywhere from a pistol to a machine gun via that awesomely powerful weapon, the spear. There is no game interface to speak of and you get your clues as to what your health is and the amount of ammo you have left from other characters and what is happening in the world around you. There are no health bars or ammo counters. When you see your character stumble around and become very slow to respond then that is your clue to retreat and to get healed. The amount of ammo you have left is kept track of by your sidekick Jimmy, a young sailor who was part the crew on the Victory. With the ship lost, his only purpose is to serve as an ammo carrier. The other characters add some zaniness and often do nutty things to get your character into even deeper trouble. This is great because it serves to add an element to the game that is out of your control. You can play this game over and over and it will never be the same every time.
Your second choice is to play as King Kong himself! This is the part of the game that I really enjoyed. While playing as Kong, which takes place in a third person perspective, you may find your fingers attempting to do many different things at the same time. In the opening scene you will find yourself having to fight off the V-Rex. This certainly is not an easy thing to do. I was killed time and again until I finally learned to move around, jump and swing and not just stand around looking silly. However, the keyboard and mouse controls turn out to be intuitive, and easy enough to learn after a little practice. You can make Kong punch, grab, throw, and roar and beat his chest like there is no tomorrow. The roaring part is actually Kong going into a rage. This is a good thing because it makes him dispose of his opponents that much quicker. In between all the fighting, of which there is a lot, you will see your alter ego swing, climb, jump and run, all the while cradling little Ann in his massive hand. Kong is in love with Ann and his motivation is to protect her and to get her away from the baddies that are trying to kill her.