|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: A2M||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sega||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 4, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Pete Richards
Based on the new film, The Golden Compass game is sure to appeal to children who love the movie and now have to own everything with its name attached to it. And while children will probably have fun taking on the role of Lyra in The Golden Compass game, people who aren't really interested in the film may not care to check out this seemingly rushed game. Publishers Sega probably see this adaptation of The Golden Compass as nothing more than a quick cash-grab. For a product based on a sure-to-be hit film, quality often takes a backseat to marketing, which may be the case in this platform game.
Essentially, the mission you embark upon in The Golden Compass is a journey through an arctic, snowy northern land to rescue a friend kidnapped by a group of bad-guys known as The Gobblers. One of the cool things is you not only play as the film's starring child Lyra Belacqua, but you also play as her polar bear Iorek and her daemon protector Pan at certain times. Children will enjoy navigating their way around icy platforms and using very basic combat controls during their journey. Parents may enjoy the certain level of puzzle-solving involved in the game, for a level of educational value.
You begin the game as Iorek with Lyra on your back (and her daemon protector Pan on hers). The bear runs as a pretty fast rate, through maneuvering him around is a bit awkward and the click-clack footstep sound effects are extremely cheesy. The controls are simple, with basic attack and block buttons and an "action" move, which is essentially just a jump to leap over gaps in the ice. As I reached the first checkpoint, I had to defeat three attacking wolves. The task was extremely easy, reminding me that this game is definitely intended for children. The combat gameplay features little grace, as you mash buttons and aimlessly direct Iorek around to swing at the oncoming wolves. As you defeat enemies using Iorek, you unlock Rage Claws that fill Iorek's Rage Gauge. This also comes in handy when having to smash through ice blocks to clear the path. Attacks also become a tad more advanced as you play along, including dash attacks and a ground punch to wipe out a number of small wolves at once. There are also grappling moves to grab a wolf and throw him into its own comrades, but for children who may not be able to grasp the controls, the move isn't necessary to beat them. The wolves are extremely easy to beat, and when you strike or stun a wolf, it usually lays there for a couple of seconds allowing you to finish off the rest of the pack. Iroek's massive claws are no match for the tiny wolves.
Iorek's health comes in the form of a plant known as Bloodmoss, which can be found along your path. Iorek will only use what he needs and is unable to store any, though a patch of Bloodmoss is usually enough to restore you back to near-perfect condition. You can also find clusters of Sky Iron throughout the pathway to equip Iorek with armor. You will find there are more than enough supplies to keep Iorek healthy and fully armored.