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25 Jan, 2006

Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie Review

PSP Review | The title may be long, but the game isn't.
As with most movie licensed games, there is no escaping Peter Jackson's King Kong. The game has appeared on all three current generation consoles, the Xbox 360, the PC, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS and finally the PSP. If you're a King Kong fan then you're really spoilt for choice and whilst the console version of King Kong was rather impressive, the Nintendo DS version was a little cutback. Is the PSP version an enjoyable game or is the giant ape simply not made for portability?

So the big guy does have a heart

So the big guy does have a heart
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The PSP version is best described as a stripped down port of the console versions. We did expect that their would be some sacrifices, but we didn't realise how many would have to be made. For some reason some of the levels from the console version have simply been removed from this game as well. We're not really sure if the levels were removed because the developers were on a tight time frame, or if there were UMD space issues; but we think it is because the game had to be rushed out to co-incide with the movie. Rather than have some AI controlled characters going around with you, you're actually alone in the PSP version. This means that all the co-operative tasks from the console versions have been removed. Other parts of the game have also been altered; for example there are less enemies in this version and less puzzles to be solved.

All of the cutbacks have meant that the game is very streamlined, which can be a positive and a negative. We're pleased that some of the rescue missions have been cut, but all the omissions have meant that the game goes through the storyline far too quickly and this often results in the the story making no sense. Overall, the PSP version includes fifteen chapters, whereas the PlayStation 2 version has forty and this feels like a huge downgrade to us. It's also worth mentioning that the PSP version has a price tag very near to the console versions, so you're actually paying about the same for what is essentially much, much less.

PAL gamers have been a little shortchanged again by the lack of a multiplayer mode. Some of the overseas versions include a co-op option, which is missing from this game. The co-op option allowed you to play through the game with another player, and whilst the co-op option didn't extend the longetivity of the game that much; it's still extremely disappointing that even more has been cut from the PAL version, for no real reason.

The draw distance is very impressive.

The draw distance is very impressive.
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Anyone who has played the console versions knows what to expect with this game. At the beginning of the game players take control of Jack Driscoll, and half of the game is a first person shooter. Moving around with Jack is relatively easy, but later in the game players take control of the giant ape. Controlling King Kong is easy, and the King Kong levels are definitely the highlight of the game. It also doesn't take as long to get to the King Kong controlled areas as in the console versions, simply because the game is so short. The game play isn't as immersive though, because some of the creatures have been omitted; which often makes Skull Island feel quiet.

Graphically the game looks very impressive on the PSP's screen. King Kong still looks big enough and Skull Island is still very authentic. However, the environments do become a little repetitive after awhile. All of the creatures look just as bizarre as in the console versions and the draw distance is amazing, showcasing even the furthest mountains the background. Even with all this detail we never encountered any frame-rate issues either, which is most certainly very impressive.

Sound-wise, the game retains everything found in the console versions. As Jack, you’re treated to some fearsome moments of deadly silence and some of pure adrenaline. Sound also plays an important role considering the absence of a HUD. As Kong, you’re treated to some awesome sounds that range from the snapping of T-Rex's jaws to the thundering roar of the King of the Jungle. The music is pretty good but it’s cued to play under certain events. As some of the levels have been cut back, the story often doesn't make sense and it would have been good if more dialogue was recorded so Jack could provide a little more information on the storyline.

The sound does help to create a sense of immersion.

The sound does help to create a sense of immersion.
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Peter Jackson's King Kong just isn't as remarkable on the PSP. As soon as the console versions began you knew you were in for an epic battle, and unfortunately so much has been cut from this game that it doesn't feel as epic as before. An eight hour game (which is not long enough as it is) has been cut into a four hour game, which makes the game a rental at best. The game feels so extremely rushed that we would have appreciated if it was delayed until the movie comes out on DVD so more chapters could have been added. PAL gamers have been shortchanged as well, with the omission of a multiplayer mode and a price tag that is identical to the console versions. The worst thing is that the game would have been very enjoyable had it been a little deeper and been less scaled back. If you've got access to the console versions then this game isn't even worth looking at though and if you cannot play the console versions then the game may be worth a look; but it's over before you know it. In fact, it's likely that the movie lasts longer than the game; which shows just how short the game actually is.

Related Reviews:
XBOX: King Kong
The Score
Peter Jackson's King Kong is hard to recommend on the PSP, it is considerably shorter than the console versions and retails for approximately the same price, there is nothing to come back to after the game is finished and unfortunately that will be far sooner than you will wish. 5
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie Content

King Kong Review
17 Apr, 2006 Best left on Skull Island. If you could see it.
Don't buy King Kong for Xbox 360 says Ubi Soft CEO
14 Dec, 2005 Too dark for Yves Guillemot
Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie Review
26 Nov, 2005 See why we go Ape over this unique venture.
2 Comments
8 years ago
something's borked.
Pacman World 3 links to King Kong.

EDIT: all un-borked now.
8 years ago
I fixed it up, what a bizarre error.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Ubisoft
Developer:
  Ubisoft

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