Kong: King of Atlantis
To quote Metallica, "Raise your crown, King Nothing!"
So here we have another example of a King Kong game gone wrong. Gah, and it comes just a few mere days after I trashed the Nintendo DS travesty that was based on the film. But, wait. This is a different studio and a different license altogether, based instead on the direct-to-DVD film Kong: King of Atlantis. Maybe it'll be better. Yeah!
Well, it is, slightly. But that doesn't make it a completely worthwhile purchase. This is a straightforward platformer that has the gigantic Kong and two humans trying to keep watch over him stranded on the island of Atlantis (because my guess is, it's easy transport to get there from New York after you've fallen off the Empire State Building). The evil Queen Reptilla has a plan to use Kong to her advantage to gain the utmost power over Atlantis, by tricking the old ape into being her king. So the two humans must work fast in order to convince Kong otherwise, although, hey, they could just leave the island, right?
Never mind. The game is based on the story of the DVD and there's no reason it shouldn't change now. The best thing Skyworks has put together in this game is the graphic engine. Featuring multi-scrolling levels that show pretty good detail around the island of Atlantis, there's decent looking stuff here that'll please fans of the flick, all eight or nine of them. (Let's face it, direct-to-DVD stuff just doesn't sell like it used to.)
But it's too bad that the game's good looks are coupled with some problematic issues. First off, the platforming itself isn't even that fun, nor that smooth controlling. Jumps come off as floaty, and they can be really frustrating when all you want to do is jump from platform to platform with ease. Worse yet, the segments where you take control as Kong are over way too quickly, just because the ape's so big that there's literally no time to dodge incoming objects without taking a hit. Bad move.
The audio really doesn't get anywhere either. One would expect a mighty Kong roar and some good music, but neither are present here. Instead, we get a raspy audio presentation that will leave you turning the volume down quickly.
And the game itself is over in a matter of levels, with nary a hint of replay value. Kids may love it, especially if they're nuts about Kong and don't have access to a game console. But Kong: King of Atlantis was merely built with license in mind, and feels soulless and cashed out as a result. Approach with utter caution, or just spend the extra $10 and get them a joyous Donkey Kong experience instead.
What's Hot: Decent graphics that show familiar faces from the direct-to-DVD movie
What's Not: Boring "been there before" gameplay; poor sound.