Strap on your safari hat and get ready to submerge yourself into Activisionâ€™s latest release entitled Madagascar. Coinciding with the storyline from the movie with the same name, Madagascar allows you to control one of the four main animals through their journey on the African island, Madagascar. Although most games based on movies are cursorily made so the developers can make a quick dollar or two, Madagascar is actually very enjoyable for children and even some of the older gamers out there. While it isnâ€™t necessarily Game of the Year material, Madagascar is still a very enjoyable game.
Madagascar has a linear storyline with a predetermined mission order, but the diversity of the different missions within the game make for an enjoyable experience. You start off as Marty, a zebra who craves to escape from his life of captivity in the zoo. By picking up special power cards, you can earn a new power kick ability that will allow Marty to bust open gates, knock down guards, and break certain objects in the environment. Throughout the entire game there will be characters, such as the penguin squad, that will be able to offer advice and teach you new moves. Scattered throughout the world are silver and gold coins that can be used to purchase special unlockables. With the coins, you can purchase different clothes for the zoo animals, power-ups that will increase your characterâ€™s attributes, and even different mini-games for the multiplayer mode. Health pickups are also dispersed throughout the levels, but you will rarely experience any damage except during the final boss battle. While you will encounter foes along the way, the game focuses more on using the animalâ€™s unique characteristics to perform goals instead of just smashing your way through a level. Even though the missions arenâ€™t overly difficult and are devoid of major challenges, Madagascar still proves itself to be a nicely crafted platform title.
Throughout your adventure there will be five different characters you can control: Marty the Zebra, Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, Melman the Giraffe, and Joe the Penguin. Each character can learn unique skills by collecting a set of three power cards. Every skill plays an important role to the success of a mission. For instance, in a level that takes place on the streets of New York, Melman must use his helicopter hover move to avoid falling on the street and being hit by a car. Only by hovering at the height of his jump and finding air tunnels to raise his altitude will he be able to make it over the chaotic New York traffic. Every mission requires you to think about a specific characterâ€™s skills and how they can be used to overcome any obstacle. In this respect, Madagascar involves some in-depth thinking in some of the more challenging situations, which is a strong quality for any action game. The comprehensive character development, variety of gameplay elements, and comedic presentation make Madagascar worthy of your time.
Visually, the game couldâ€™ve used the same polished look that the movie has. The character models have rough edges and arenâ€™t exactly overflowing with detail. Most of the movements are jerky and can look horribly out of place at times. The environments have an overall average texture detail, but some of the jungle environments maintain a lush feel. Most importantly, the characters in the game accurately resemble their movie counterparts, and this is clearly the only objective the developers set out to achieve.
The voice actors also sound quite similar to the Hollywood actors used in the movies, and they decently portray the correct emotions and thoughts of their characters. Marty still maintains his upbeat, joker personality, while the hypochondriac giraffe is always timid and fearful. The ambient noises throughout the different levels help fill in for the almost prevalent moments of awkward silence. However, the characters will constantly repeat the same catch phrases over and over again. Overall, the audio performance is satisfactory and compliments the gameplay nicely.
After completing the short single-player campaign that lasts roughly six hours, there is still a lot of gaming left for the multiplayer fans. If enough coins have been collected throughout the game, you will be able to purchase different mini-games from the cleverly entitled Zoovenir Shop. The mini-games, ranging from shuffleboard to mini-golf, are very simple to learn but always leave the gamer with room to improve. Ultimately, you can expect to spend hours with your friends messing around with all of the different multiplayer games.
In conclusion, Madagascar is a commendable action game despite the frowned upon â€œvideo games based on moviesâ€ stereotype. Even though the audiovisual performance could still use a fresh coat of paint, the diversified gameplay with distinct sets of character attributes leads to an endless amount of fun for gamers of all ages.