Is this game as strong as an ax-wielding minotaur, or will it leave you with fawn do-do on the bottom of your boot?
Nowadays, almost every action based, or kid movie that is released to theaters will have a video game counterpart. Some of these movie-to-game translations work well because they contain the same theme that work in both movies and games. Narnia fits this bill because of the more epic kid drawn story line and battles that involve strange but mythical creatures.
The player takes control of one of the four main characters in an isometric overhead viewpoint. The game can be summed up as a weak form of Champions of Norrath. It is an Action RPG without all the RPGness. You will fight enemies as you travel through each stage, but you will not grow any stronger, nor collect new armor or weapons. On occasion, the player will learn a new simple ability that will help them solve a later puzzle, like playing a magic flute, but stat upgrades are not present in this version of Narnia.
Each character has his or her own form of attack. For example, the youngest girl will kick her enemies to death, while her older sister will throw snowballs to defeat enemies. The game, for the most part, is linear and follows the narrative of the movie quite closely. The player will always be in control of one character, but others will follow and help fight the bad guys. This friendly A.I. works for the most part, but many times characters will get caught by ledges and corners. To remedy this, the developers included a multi-pak multiplayer mode for co-op adventuring. And it also should be noted that this game makes use of the under used Nintendo?s wireless GBA links. This multiplayer mode is the only form of this game?s replay value.
While the story follows the movie, the gameplay does become boring and tasteless. After a few levels, the player will tire of killing the same enemies and finding the right animal to push the log out of the way to make a new path. The level designs are diverse enough to hold the attention of a younger gamer, but veterans will ask for a little something more.
Narnia was created with younger gamers in mind. Each level will contain items, such as health restoring cookies or warming toast that can be found in chests or by breaking objects open. However, once collected, these items will simply return if the player walks back to the original screen where the item was first found. This makes the already easy difficulty even easier.
Many games have gameplay ideals that sound like a good idea, but wind up being annoying when actually put into a game. The ?warming yourself up by a fire? meter is one of these problems. Because Narnia is frozen with ice, your character will get cold. Once this meter at the top depletes, damage will be taken. This forces the player to be under a constant worry. Always looking for a place to warm up just becomes a chore. Yes, you can restore your warmth by eating some toast or drinking tea, but it is a bother.
The graphics are pretty standard for a GBA game that was made towards the end of the system?s life cycle. However, the animations are a little choppy. Because of this, each character?s walking and running animation looks awkward and winds up being funny as opposed to being simple and serious. However, the music is actually above average, and took me by surprise considering this is a game based off of a movie. The flutelike and woodwind melodies reminded me a lot of Golden Sun, which is a very good thing. However, some of the sound effects become a little muffled and override the music when it shouldn?t.
Unlike most movie games, Narnia for GBA is tolerable, but still lacks an overall polish. The game isn?t exactly long as it can be completed in a few hours, but children will appreciate the slightly slower gameplay. Everything about this game screams borderline but compared to other movie-to-game conversions, it is slightly above average. Narnia works well as a GBA game that parents would want to buy for their younger kids, but if you are looking for a better, more detailed game, play Baldur?s Gate.