Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

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Electronic Theatre ImageMini-game compilations based on motion-picture productions aimed at children seem to be all the rage these days, with the likes of Ice Age 4: Continental Drift: Arctic Games and Kinect Rush: A Disney•Pixar Adventure providing wildly varying levels of enjoyment for fans of the source material. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is surprisingly different however, opting for the tried-and-tested platform videogame route. This isn’t a series of half-baked thirty-second score/chance min-games nor is it a Kinect based videogame: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is a good old fashioned platform adventure, and is all the better for it.

Beginning with the Story Mode, which unfortunately tells the same tale as that of the motion-picture upon which it’s based as opposed to following the trend of adding additional exposition, the player is given a handful of menial tasks to complete in order to familiarise them with the gameplay premise. Players have access to a reasonablyElectronic Theatre Image sized map and can switch between characters on the fly, while playing in co-operative mode (limited to a single system) will grant the players one character each. The design of the tasks given has obviously been inspired by TT Games’ hugely popular series of LEGO videogames, with each character given different abilities that work in sync with one another; for example, the very first task requires Gloria, the hippo, to swim underwater and reach a locked gate so that she may open in for Marty, a zebra, and thusly he may reach a higher ledge and push a crate to the floor to offer Gloria access. It’s a push-pull system that will have players working together – surely an easy recommendation for younger children, then – and soon becomes more challenging than a straight forward walk through each level.

The Story Mode features plenty of different maps and a reasonable duration as the story unfolds through fairly amusing cutscenes. In addition however, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted features the Circus Mode: an additional gameplay which does rely entirely on thirty-second thrills. Offering five venues each with the same Electronic Theatre Imagecollection of five mini-games, the Circus Mode is a simple construct of increasingly difficult rapid and time button presses. It’s a reasonable distraction but hardly as inventive at the Story mode gameplay.

The technical design of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is the most lacking aspect of the product, with little more than basic visual design and impersonations of the actors which play each character in the related motion-picture. The cutscenes throughout the Story Mode can be genuinely humorous in their own right, but even they are poorly animated with dated looking character models. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted most certainly isn’t a videogame designed to make the most out of what the high-definition videogame consoles can offer, leading Electronic Theatre to believe it’s multi-format development process has hamstrung the higher end systems.

While it’s certainly not going to compete against the likes of Dishonored or XCOM: Enemy Unknown for the attentions of the core videogame demographic, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is aiming at a very different audience. A younger gamer who can appreciate the amount of inviting activities that are available Electronic Theatre Imageduring the Story Mode. It may be a series of elaborate fetch quests and on-rails racing, but Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted remains an enjoyable entertainment product perfectly suitable for two children to play together, or an adult to play with a child who is keen on the Madagascar franchise. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted simply does what it set out to do, and considering the usual malnourished state of motion-picture related videogame productions you can’t ask fairer than that.

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