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King Kong Review

Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: November 21, 2005 Also On: DS, GCN, PC, PS2, PSP, Xbox, and Xbox 360

Prior to playing the King Kong pre-release demo, I had thought it would truly be the best of the best in gaming. I don’t know what it was, maybe the name Ubisoft, maybe the name Peter Jackson; whatever it was, I was wrong. The game has very few performance-effecting settings, so I tried to set them to about medium before I started to make sure it ran nice and fast. The problem is it ran too fast. Way too fast. The demo starts with you playing as Jack in first-person mode. Initially I couldn’t tell what was going on; the game was running so fast. I was raining, and lightning flashes were so fast they were hard to notice. It’s hard to explain, but the entire game was running in fast motion.

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Aside from that, the gameplay is nothing we haven’t seen before. In first-person mode, by default there is no gun on-screen. You raise your gun with the spacebar and fire with the left mouse button. The demo level is extremely short. You start with 2 allies and you are running from a T-Rex. Your only way out is a door, which is locked (imagine that!). They are in charge of unlocking the door while you distract the monster. That’s it. Once they unlock it, you walk through and the level is over. I can’t say the game will be bad for a short demo, but even in the shortness of the demo, the game wasn’t very good.

There is, however, a second part to the demo, a completely different, but equally disappointing part. Imagine Tekken, except you have to be a certain character and there are only 3 moves. Essentially, you are defending the girl, who is hiding somewhere watching you fight. Your controls, to the game’s credit, are fairly simple. Left click swings, right click grapples (yeah, it’s kind of like a wrestling game), and space jumps.

However, to spice things up, and to raise the challenge, your T-Rex enemy may try to bite your neck. Basically it goes into an alternate camera in which Kong is holding the monster’s jaws open, and you have to scroll down to push him back. Similarly, you can kill your enemy by going into an alternate angle and repeatedly tapping left or right mouse buttons to snap his jaws apart. The main problem with the fighting, though, is that there is no variety. First, you fight a dinosaur. Next, you fight two of the same dinosaur! And in the end-of-demo video, it shows you fighting three of the same dinosaur! Incredible!

Even with the two sections of the demo, it is still very short. This may have been to save bandwidth, though, as the demo is less than 300MB compared to most demos now which are over 600 or 700 megabytes. I personally won’t be picking up a copy of this game until it’s in the bargain bin it’s bound to end up in; and even then, it’s iffy. If you’re a King Kong fan, you’ll probably have more fun than I did, but even then, I don’t know if it’s worth your $50. Honestly, I expect more from Ubisoft.

Written by Dave