is short on long term play value but kids who really,
really loved the movie will probably enjoy most of
what the game has to offer. by
17, 2006 - Zathura
the game is based on Zathura the movie, released late
last fall. Written by Chris Van Allsburg (Jumanji,
Polar Express) Zathura takes what should be a normal
everyday occurance and turns it into a fantastic adventure.
At least on paper.
tale begins innocently enough when brothers Danny
and Walter find themselves in their creepy basement
and locate a dusty old board game called Zathura.
A flip of the card reveals 'meteor shower' and low
and behold, meteors begin smashing through their home
causing them to run for cover. Fast forward the story
a bit and it becomes apparent that the boys aren't
in Kansas anymore...if the infinite chasm of space
appearing outside their front door is any indication.
The boys are a long way from home and find themselves
surrounded by robots and a menacing alien race known
as the Zorgons and so the adventure begins in their
quest to get back to earth safely.
this 3D platforming action game, you'll play as brothers
Danny and Walter and will eventually take control
of an enemy turned ally robot who prefers to attack
with firepower in contrast to the boys melee and weaker
weapon attacks. Obviously aimed at the younger set,
Zathura is a companion piece offered to moviegoers
who had their imaginations tickled in theaters watching
the events unfold. Unfortunately though, the level
of difficulty in the game is quite inconsistent, ranging
from very easy to frustrating (due to some platforming
challenges) but is primarily easy and shouldn't be
too challenging for the intended audience.
playable character is given their own particular levels
which means you won't have the added playability of
discovering the right one for the job. While the characters
tend to control similarly each has their own distinct
move set. Danny is armed with a slingshot with an
infinite supply of moon rock ammo (other ammo can
be obtained) and a really weak kick move. Early on
Walter will locate a robotic arm which he can use
as a melee attack and he's also been granted the responsiblity
of being more able-bodied and will have to contend
with far more platforming challenges such as rope
hanging and pole swinging. The Robot is the most powerful
for obvious reasons and comes factory equipped with
lasers, a powered shot (must be charged) and has a
higher jumping ability.
platforming jumps aside, most of Zathura's levels
involve hitting buttons which open doorways to other
levels while avoiding enemies. The idea of avoiding
enemies is far easier than actually taking the time
to fight enemies and once young gamers grasp that
concept, it shouldn't take too long to reach the end
of the game - which can take about 4 hours tops depending
on skill level thanks mostly in part to infinite lives
and respawning in the same spot you died. Since enemies
tend to drop health you will have to stand and fight
sometimes simply to collect some health lost due to
cheapshots. Oddly enough, the plaforming challenges
which can be frustrating are often completely fast
forwarded by dying and then being revived beyond where
the challenge took place.
does a nice job of capturing the essence of the movie,
but doesn't quite excite on a visual scale. Textures
are bland, character models are average (although
the Zorgons stand out as well as the couple of bosses)
and the environments are largely forgettable and unimpressive;
in short Zathura is pretty generic. Where Zathura
does manage to elevate the experience is when the
game goes beyond the movie providing a little more
depth to the already shallow storyline. The music
is standard action fare and it's surprisingly good.
The two actors from the movie provided the voices
for their game counterparts and it at least ties the
two products together. Hey, give the kids a break;
it was probably a kick for them to record their lines
for the game.
Zathura is a full priced game with the least amount
of play value I've seen in recent memory. An average
gamer would get through this adventure in a few short
hours which means for goodness sakes, rent this one
if you're itching to play the movie.
your own exciting space adventures based on the
best-selling childrens book by Chris Van Allsburg
(Polar Express) and the feature film directed by
Jon Favreau (Elf).
as Walter, Danny or a rampaging robot, utilizing
the characters unique strengths and abilities
to conquer each situation.
15 action-packed levels spanning the universe, including
some locations only hinted at in the film and book.
36 dangerous alien adversaries, including lizard-like
Zorgons, menacing robots and other bizarre space