A game to accompany the movie.
To coincide with the movie of the same name, D3Publisher are releasing Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted – The Videogame. In the game, we join the regular cast of Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria as they try to return home to New York by hitching a ride with a travelling circus as they make their way across Europe. They begin their journey being harassed by animal control officer Captain Chantel DuBois and his cronies. Do I feel a plot coming on?
As the game begins, we are briefly introduced to each of the famous Madagascar characters and their special abilities, before being thrown into the chaos of the animal world. The game is broken up into three main areas; story mode, missions and circus mode. Story mode is centered on mission based objectives designed to be completed with a second player in co-op, although the game can be played solo with the AI controlling the otehr character. Choosing between the two available characters for a given mission, such as Marty or Gloria for example, the player is then briefly introduced to their mission by the Penguins.
The 3D environments are bright and colourful as you make your way around the world, completing objectives such as collectin crates of circus supplies without being seen by the general public and scaring them half to death. You can switch between the two available characters using the buffer buttons, allowing you to make use of their different skills. For instance, Marty can perform longer jumps to gain access to hard to reach places, whereas Gloria can use the power of her bottom bounce to move boxes out the way. Playing solo, a lot of time will be spent working out which character is needed to achieve an objective and switching between them, but you’ll need both characters to work together to advance through the storyline.
Juggling between both characters, you’ll be jumping from rooftop to rooftop, balancing on tight ropes by using the left and right stick to guide your character safely from the perilous animal control officers below, who are looking for you. The animal control officers are constantly aware of your presence and you must avoid being detected by them. A good way to move amongst the public and avoid detection by the animal control officers is to use a disguise, such as slinging on a pair of dark shades and looking very casual and discreet. Using a disguise does slow down your character, but it means they can easily avoid being detected. Occasionally while wandering around, you may accidentally take off your sunglasses, which results in the general public screaming and running away.
A selection of mini games have been included to keep you entertained, and these offer a variety of different experiences. For instance, within the ticket sales mini game, you have to serve customers by offering them the correct ticket in the right order. Two monkies are set up, each on one side and you’re shown fruits which are each represented by a different face button. The player then has to, as quickly as possible, hit the buttons in the correct order. Another mini game is the Snack Toss in which you have an audience sitting in a circus tent. As members of the audience raise their hands and tell you which snack they want, you have to move quickly in front of them and hit the right button to toss their snack. If you get it wrong, you’re met with a resounding boo and sigh from a disgruntled audience.
Other mini games might include flying from a cannon through a series of flaming hoops, whilst collecting balloons and performing flips or rolls, or swinging from trapeze and gathering balls whilst your opponent does the same. All in all, the mini games are a welcome addition, but will only entertain for a short while.
Unfortunately, the same can be said about the main game. Although Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is visually a great looking game, the actual gameplay was quite uninteresting in places and overly simplistic. Everything seemes very basic and the puzzles will fail to challenge any but the youngest of players. Teaming up with a friend to play co-operatively could offer some entertainment, but even that would be short lived.
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is aimed at the younger audience who are fans of the movie. The fans will enjoy being able to play as their characters and the humorous one-liners. They may even find themselves giggling every now and again. But the unimpressive gameplay will ensure that the game is forgotten before the movie hype has passed.