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Game Guys review - Madagascar 3: The Video Game

5:29 PM, Jul 2, 2012   |    comments
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  • 'Madagascar 3: The Video Game' is for 3DS, DS, Wii, Xbox 360, & PS3.
  • 'Madagascar 3: The Video Game' is for 3DS, DS, Wii, Xbox 360, & PS3.
  • 'Madagascar 3: The Video Game' is for 3DS, DS, Wii, Xbox 360, & PS3.
  • 'Madagascar 3: The Video Game' is for 3DS, DS, Wii, Xbox 360, & PS3.
  • 'Madagascar 3: The Video Game' is for 3DS, DS, Wii, Xbox 360, & PS3.
    

Video game tie-ins to major motion pictures have been on a bit of an up-tick in recent years, seemingly ignoring the unwritten rule that they need to be bad.  Madagascar 3: The Video Game, which is based on the Dreamworks motion picture of a similar name, appears to have paid attention to this trend and completely went the other direction.

Madagascar 3: The Video Game features two different play modes:  an open-world, quest-based story mode and a minigame/party-game mode.  While each is distinctly different from the other, neither are all that appealing overall.

Story Mode finds the player (or players, as the mode supports drop-in co-op play), as he controls the cast in Italy as they scheme to merge with a traveling circus; thus using it as a vehicle to return the group to their New York City home.  Gameplay-wise, this is accomplished by doing various quests in a semi-sandbox environment.  While venturing around the environment, the player will encounter animal catchers.  Getting caught is a "game over", but the player has a couple of options to evade them:  running away and camouflage.  Going camo works best, but the character moves painfully slow and cannot perform any actions without losing his/her disguise.  While the animal catcher mechanic adds to what little excitement the player will find in this game, the camo one takes it all away.

Of course, there isn't much excitement to be had in total in Madagascar 3: The Video Game's story mode.  The biggest culprit of this is the fact that each area is largely the same and there is little overall variation in gameplay from level to level.  The basic formula of gather items in the sandbox area, sell tickets, and put on a circus show is repeated over and over again.  This repetition makes playing this game progressively less appealing the further the player gets in it.

The minigame (Circus) mode has the potential of appeal, yet fails to fully deliver.  There is only a handful of events in which players can partake such as ticket and food sales and actual circus acts.  These range in enjoyment from dull to mildly enjoyable.  Ticket sales, which is nothing more than a competitive pattern-matching game, gets old fast (as does the tightrope walking circus act).  The food vending and fire ring jumping games, however, are actually somewhat fun -- especially if playing two-player in the food game.  There is one uniform problem with all of the minigames found within Madagascar 3: the lack of replay appeal.  While they could all be alright to pick up and play every now and then, none of them (save for the food vending game in versus) are ones that players are likely to play over and over again in series.

One thing that this game gets right is its visuals.  The graphics won't blow anybody away, but the characters have been faithfully re-created and fans of the movies should find few complaints with how the characters look.  The game's different environments, however, don't look all that amazing and verge on being underwhelmingly generic.  Non-character graphics in the circus-themed minigames look likewise underwhelming.  At least the look and flow of the story mode's cut scenes are appealing and (mostly) entertaining.

When it comes to Madagascar 3: The Video Game, it's advisable to simply stick with the movie.  That is unless you're a parent with a child who believes that Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria can do no wrong.

Final Game Guys grade: C-

(A copy of this game was supplied by D3 Publisher for review.)

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