|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, DS, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Aspyr||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa does everything thing that youd expect it to do. However, there are a few golden aspects to the game that surprised me on a whole new level for the kid-movie-turned-video-game franchise.
For starters, they dont treat the player like a complete idiot when they are playing.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa delivers the story of the movie very admirably. Alex, Marty, Gloria, Melman, and the rest of the cast are leaving Madagascar and heading home. Unfortunately, they decided to listen to the flightless birds, the penguins, when they said they fixed an airplane that would get them home. They end up landing in mainland Africa, which is a lot farther than I expected the penguin airplane to make it. The group now has to find a way to interact with their own kind and find out more about who they are. Of course, this isnt easy for some. Its definitely more of a challenge than trying to impress and be a part of a group of lemurs, especially when the group is lead by a ring-tailed lemur like King Julien.
Very early in the game, you discover that the developers wanted to make certain that fans of the film were able to play as their favorite character. There are always specific mission-type objectives that you have to be one of the primary cast. For example, Alex is used whenever theres a lot of running, jumping, or climbing, Marty is used more for racing and kicking missions, Gloria for the aquatic aspects, and Melman, well, Melman is basically used for whatever a giraffe hypochondriac can be useful for, usually a lot of head butts and gliding while spinning his body. Using this approach is a good way to show support for the entire cast, but it also can be quite annoying. Something so simple as boarding the plane in the beginning of the game is turned into a multi-tiered mini-game where you have to play as each animal to get on the plane.
Thats not to say that the mini-games are not fun though. Most of them are. Especially anything that involves Melman using his head to defeat an enemy. Theres also another game that involves Melman that is part Dr. Mario and part Operation. Im not exactly sure how a giraffe holds a medicine bottle, but this is an animated character we are talking about, so it is forgivable. There are tons of mini-games that you will play with each character; everything from the Melman doctor game to musical chairs with Alex the Lion. Yes, thats right, musical chairs. Theres a lot to this game, so you will be hard-pressed to not find a mini-game that you like to play. Thankfully, the developers thought of this as well. In a fashion mimicking the Mario Party games, you can replay the mini-games you have unlocked and some that you may not have yet. This is also, regrettably, the only place where you can have a friend join in on the fun. It would have made more sense to allow two players to be the characters in the main storyline, but it falls short in that area reducing you to experience the mini-games with friends outside of the actual game.