Forum Overview :: Reviews
Peter Jackson's Merian C. Cooper's Jack Fucking Black's King Kong by athodyd 11/24/2005, 10:15pm PST
Yes, the game can be beat in six and a half hours. No, you are not allowed to shoot Jack Black in the base of the skull. These are pretty much the only bad points that I've run across in King Kong, although there are a few head-scratching bugs which you may or may not run into and like all cross-platform games it looks terrible on the PS2.

The FPS segments are very survival-horror-y, since most of the time you get one gun and maybe two or three mags for it, and the last few levels of the game have you relying pretty much entirely on spears and sharpened bones. Controls are kind of weird, but weird in an engaging way: you nearly always have the gun "holstered" until you hold L2 to aim it, at which point you hit R2 to fire or R3 to zoom in (woo iron sights yay). If you hit R2 alone, you do a melee attack, and if you're carrying a spear, you have to drop it (triangle) or throw it before you use the gun, and since ammo is so scarce in this game I tend to rely mostly on the spear unless the dino-shit has hit the prehistoric jungle fan constructed out of bamboo and skulls. You have no crosshairs or ammo counter at all unless you turn it on in the pause menu, but you can make a rough guess about how much you have left by pressing circle and listening to Adrien Brody or something vaguely like Adrien Brody say TWO MAGAZINES LEFT or FOUR BULLETS ON BACK-UP. The only things on the screen to remind you you're in a video game are occasional tutorial messages/context-sensitive notifications and the fact that you have no feet and cast no shadow (although curiously if you turn left or right while pushing you can see your shoulders). The only bitch I have about the FPS controls is that aiming seems to move really slowly, to the point where you may get eaten whole by t-rexes that you don't even see, but this may be due to my thumbsticks getting loose and desensitized with age.

The Kong segments are a bit iffy because you go from a camera that you completely 100% control to one that switches between various fixed panning cameras that may or may not completely fuck you up. On the second or third Kong level I got somewhere I guess I wasn't actually supposed to go to yet and for a few minutes the camera insisted on viewing everything from underneath the ground while I was being eaten by dinosaurs. Aside from that, the monkey parts are generally pretty fun and have a distinct God of War context-based action to them except instead of doing timed button presses to kill things, you do them to swing from ledge to wall to cliff to ledge as fast as you can. The action can be really great, but every so often they'll stick you with a puzzle that turns out to be incredibly boringly simple (and usually involves dropping Ann off someplace) but is presented so non-intuitively that it takes you five minutes to figure out what the hell you need to do. I dunno, maybe they're easier when you have the instruction manual (fucking Blockbuster). Controlling Kong can be kind of weird partly because the camera flips around retardedly at times and partly because he has a lot of momentum that can be hard to turn around, but for the most part it felt very much how I'd think controlling a giant ape would feel like.

AI is really really well done, to the point that it sometimes felt more like a squad-based shooter than a licensed dinosaur adventure game. Their aim and indepence are good enough so that at times they can actually save your dumb ass with a well-chucked spear, and while you're sometimes the only one with a loaded gun it never feels like an escort mission. The game is very prone to putting you in situations where most of the party is on the other side of a cliff or bridge or gorge or crevasse or impassable knee-high bushes (which I thought were retarded at first, but they almost sorta make sense with the puzzles) and having you cover them with a gun that is (temporarily at least) at maximum capacity. You can interact with other people by pressing X while aimed at them, and then it zooms in and locks on to their face while you do... not really much of anything. If they're carrying a gun or a spear, pressing X again will trade guns/spears with them; if they aren't, pressing X again will ask them how they're holding up. I guess they were planning on doing more with this, maybe having some kind of medic system or something, but time constraints nixed it. I still like it because I was playing Quake 4 last night, which is probably the least interactive game ever made, and even though it does feature medics and armor people I have yet to figure out how to actually tell them to give me medicine and armor. Oh, and speaking of which, Kong has the same kind of infinite health/blurry screen health system that COD2 does, although it seems to be a lot less forgiving since it usually seems to take only two attacks to get killed. But yeah, teammate AI is very good, and enemy AI is pretty impressive as well, since the dinos can get behind you very quickly and easily. The "bait" gimmick is a lot of fun to use, especially when you lure all the enemies onto one big patch of flammable grass and then roast them as they eat.

Level design is purty and fairly linear, but not exasperatingly so. The terrain can be pretty blocky at times but makes up for it with nice lighting and texturing effects. As said above, ammo is pretty scarce but usually not exasperatingly so, with the possible exception of the last few levels, where I ended up fighting a zillion fucking super-pteradactyl things with the same few spears over and over again. Puzzles usually involve either finding a fire so you can burn away bushes that block your path or finding a red keycard lever you can use to open a door or a combination of both, but as dumb as they are they didn't detract from the fun of impaling giant centipedes with flaming spears.

M1 rating: the bolt-action sniper rifle is incredibly fast and you don't need to zoom out to work the action--in fact, now that I think of it I can't remember seeing the action being worked when firing unzoomed either. It's possible that the gentle French Canadians of Ubisoft's ignorance of how a bolt-action rifle works has led to what is probably the most all-around useful weapon in the game. The Thompson is pretty fun too, although you get it to use it barely a tenth as much.

Start to crate in a little less than five minutes, not counting the rowboat sequence. I think it had a shotgun in it.
Peter Jackson's Merian C. Cooper's Jack Fucking Black's King Kong by athodyd 11/24/2005, 10:15pm PST
    Review of the Review by Long and Boring 11/24/2005, 11:08pm PST
    The gentle French Canadians of Ubisoft are FRENCH, period by Pistacho 01/10/2006, 4:31pm PST
        I turn that period into an ELLIPSES followed by the word MOSTLY. by Jerry Whorebach 02/08/2006, 9:02pm PST
powered by pointy