Games based on family moviesÂ often look and play like cheaply made quickies, but that’s not the case withÂ Sierra’s pleasantly bright “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” which turns in a surprisingly enjoyable if brief performanceâ€¦ â€¦”Spiderwick” is a well-made tie-in to the Par/Nick fantasy filmÂ opening next week and should sell well with fans of the books and pic.
The Spiderwick Chronicles is a rare example ofÂ a video game based on a film that manages to operate within the confines of theÂ film’s structure while still providing a moderately entertaining gameplay experience.
Nintendo World Report
Battles feature a simple attackÂ scheme that provides fun on a universal level. There is a quickness andÂ zaniness to combat that highlights it as the game’s strong point, and capturingÂ fairies along the way lets you learn magical spells that add an element ofÂ strategy. Using the Wii Remote to swing Jared’s baseball bat or Mallory’s swordÂ to annihilate hordes of creeps with ease is a real treat.
Itâ€™s a well-documented phenomena of the video-gameÂ industry that licensed games are, more often than not, sub-par â€” and thisÂ goes doubly for any game based on a license aimed at children.Â There are any number of reasons for this, whether itâ€™s the fact that they areÂ oftentimes rushed through the development process (especially bug testing), orÂ that they are often pale imitations of other established titles, or simply thatÂ the developers and/or license holders donâ€™t care about releasing a qualityÂ game. Occasionally, though, a licensed game manages to break away from theÂ clichÃ©, and deliver a quality gaming experience. The Spiderwick Chronicles, based on the recently released film, isnâ€™t the best adventure gameÂ ever to grace the PS2, but it is worlds beyond most licensed games, and anÂ enjoyable gaming experience in its own right.
In many ways, the game feels like it was designedÂ to introduce kids to adventure gaming. All the elements (real-time combat,Â multiple quests, large explorable environments, aÂ magic/ability system, and plenty of puzzles) are here, simply presented in a way as to appeal to children; any kid weaned on this gameÂ would be ready to tackle Okami or the Zelda series.Â Sure, that means itâ€™s a bit on the simple side, and itâ€™s not perfect, butÂ anyone looking for a fun adventure could do a lot worse than to spend some timeÂ exploring Spiderwickâ€™s fantastical world.
Worth Playing – 360
Nothing strikes fear into a gamer’s heart quite like the phrase “licensed movie game.” Those three words,Â when used together, are basically synonyms for abysmal, awful, dreadful andÂ terrible. Indeed, Ever since E.T.: The Game, movie-based titles seem toÂ have the ability to crash and burn harder than pretty much anything else.Â That’s why, when an honest-to-goodness decent licensed game comes out, it isÂ cause for celebration. Well, break out the streamers and prepare the feast,Â because The Spiderwick Chronicles is a trulyÂ fun, simple, family-friendly game.
What separates this game from so many mediocreÂ titles is that everything is executed very well, and it manages to be fun noÂ matter what age you are.
Worth Playing – Wii
Though it may be a little too soon to make thisÂ kind of bold statement, we may be seeing a new era in the art of translatingÂ feature-length movies into console video games. While portable gaming systemsÂ continue to miss the mark in part due to their hardware limitations, many ofÂ the home console systems’ adaptations of movies in this day and age seem to beÂ bucking the trend of horrible transitions. It seems that translating from oneÂ format to another can be done successfully, if some effort is put intoÂ the process. The Spiderwick Chronicles isÂ further evidence to suggest that this theory may hold water, something of aÂ triumph in a genre populated principally by sub-par work intended to cash in onÂ a film’s success.
Overall, The Spiderwick Chronicles is a fairly enjoyable experience for most anyone, whether you’reÂ a seasoned adventure gamer or someone who simply likes the movie. There is noÂ aspect of this title that is completely perfect, but every aspect is almost completely perfect, making for a pleasant diversion whose flaws areÂ comparatively minor and won’t detract from the enjoyment of the game. Make sureÂ that you don’t miss this one!
Gamers should always approach licensed games with caution. More oftenÂ than not, the tie-in tries to coast on the brand name rather than provide a fun gaming experience. I’m happy to report that The Spiderwick Chronicles sidesteps this pitfall andÂ offers a surprisingly enjoyable adventure for the younger gamer. It immersesÂ the player in a lighthearted, fantasy world filled with an impressive amount ofÂ mythical creatures.
Combat is mostly button-mashing, but it’sÂ pretty satisfying smashing in a goblin’s skull with a metal baseball bat. AsÂ you defeat enemies you’ll pick up goblin teeth, which (for some reason orÂ another) unlock new attacks. Of course, these usually only grant you anotherÂ press of the A button, but there are a few cool abilities to be unlocked.Â Jared, the sibling you begin playing as, has a rather awesomeÂ “launcher” attack that lets him hit goblin home runs.â€™
The Spiderwick Chronicles recreates thatÂ feeling of being a kid and suspending your disbelief in fantasy. Much of thisÂ success in setting a mood and creating an intriguing world to explore isÂ attributable to Holly Black’s original books. But I have to give credit toÂ developer Stormfront for creating a fun game to goÂ inside the Spiderwick licenseâ€¦ â€¦there is a big areaÂ to delve into, the music is great, and there is a lot of gameplay variety. There’s something new to find around every corner, and that’sÂ something I can’t say about enough games. The Chronicles could get youngerÂ players hooked on adventure gaming.
4 Color Rebellion
Reviewing a childrenâ€™s game can be a pretty tough prospect. TheÂ standards you apply to every other game donâ€™t always work here. Well, thatâ€™sÂ not entirely true. You canâ€™t just foist crappy games on kids because they areÂ kids. Thatâ€™s just wrong. To be more accurate, the set standards for critiquingÂ a title apply a tad bit differently. Things like difficulty and story needÂ different judging criteria. To a certain extent, this same line of reasoningÂ applies to licensed games. Itâ€™s hard to just attach a flat number score toÂ these games. Fans of the license will obviously get more out of it than someoneÂ who has never seen or read the source material.
This article isnâ€™t really an editorial on the review process, so Iâ€™llÂ spare you my rantings (for now). The point is that Spiderwick Chronicles is unmistakably both aÂ licensed property and a childrenâ€™s game. When I started playing, I wasnâ€™t quiteÂ sure how to approach my review. Turns out that I shouldnâ€™t have worried, Spiderwick Chronicles is actually a prettyÂ decent game by any set of standards.
Games based on fantasy fiction generally donâ€™t have a good reputation.Â If you have played through any of the Harry Potter games, or perhaps the LordÂ of the Rings games (excluding Lord of the Rings Online), youâ€™ll probably knowÂ why. Naturally, because of this, I was a bit hesitant to play The Spiderwick Chronicles.
I was pleasantly surprised when I booted the game and was introducedÂ into a world that was actually fun to explore.Â
Overall, I am very surprised at how enjoyable The Spiderwick Chronicles is. I didnâ€™t think Iâ€™d ever get to play a game based on a movie orÂ novel that was actually enjoyable, so kudos goes to Sierra.