2005 Reviews

Peter Jackson's King Kong

  • Review Date: 2010-12
  • Release Date: 2005-12
  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Rating: 7.0

Usually video games released to coincide with a movie release are very average. However in this case, Peter Jackson's King Kong is a fairly good action game.

I say fairly good instead of great due to one major problem in the game - playing as Kong. While most reviewers liked that you could play as King Kong, I cringed everytime I was forced to attempt to control the beast. Playing from third person perspective, the controls for Kong are terrible. Especially in cramped quarters, the camera angle will suddenly jump from behind Kong to in front of him, meaning you have to press the backwards key instead of forwards. On top of this, fighting other giant beasts as Kong is nothing but a chore in mashing the keyboard as fast as you can hoping he'll actually do something. Then when he's grabbed a beast to perform his fatality, you've got to pound on the 'grab' key as fast as you can to kill it. Terrible.

Fortunately, playing as Kong only takes up about 20% of the game. The rest is played as Jack as he repeatedly tries to get his love interest back. But that's not perfect either because you only get one gun at a time and limited amounts of ammo. At times your forced to play with spears that you find. Sure it makes the gameplay frantic and intense, but I'd rather take a leisurely stroll through paradise and admire the scenery without having to spear giant dinosaurs.

The best thing about Peter Jackson's King Kong, and it's saving grace, is the level design. Although the engine looks slightly dated with pixelated 2D vegatation, the actual level design is great. Almost all of the game takes place on the island (apart from two awful city levels at the end) and there is enough variety in the texturing and scenery that it never gets old. The highlight for me was climbing up to the highest peak of the island, where Kong was sleeping. Atmospheric effects such as the lighting and fog look excellent and capture the creepy, mysterious fantasy island from the movie perfectly.

So while the gameplay was slightly held back with some annoying challenges, in particular playing as Kong, the atmosphere and design of the fantasy island made up for it for me.

Add cheats for unlimited ammo and a level skip for every Kong level, and this is a very good game, although very short at around six hours.