Between this and the Lord of the Rings games, I like this much better...

User Rating: 8.5 | The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe PS2
I was first introduced to the Chronicles of Narnia when I was about 6 or 7. My mom read me the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I remember thinking how cool the idea of an entire world being hidden in a wardrobe. We also got the BBC Narnia tapes and liked them, too. So much that they broke from overuse. So, when I heard about the first movie back in 2005, I was obviously exstatic. Then, when I rented this game from Blockbuster, I was even more so.

The backstory is that these four siblings (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie) have been sent away during World War II to the country house of an old Professor. While playing hide-and-seek, Lucy hides in a wardrobe which turns out to have a world called Narnia in it. A world under the unrightful rule of a witch who makes it only winter, but never Christmas. The other children don't believe her, until Edmund is in himself, but he doesn't tell the other two the truth. They all find out for themselves, however, when they all hide in the wardrobe from the bitter old housekeeper, and from there, the story takes off.

The game is team-based and the team are, as you must've guessed, the four children. Of course, all the rules that apply to team games apply here. Each one has specific strengths and weaknesses and their own special abilities. Peter's the best fighter, Susan's the projectile person, Edmund can do things like climb trees, and Lucy's a healer. Edmund can also fight very much like Peter and Lucy can tame nearly every kind of enemy and use it against the others. And you can switch between them with the press of a button. There are always at least two children in every situation, no matter what, throughout each of the fifteen levels, for the purposes of co-op play and the switching mechanic.

The levels range from the Pevensies' home in the middle of the night under an air raid to the White Witch, the one who's turned Narnia into an eternal winter. The game's loaded with puzzle and, though levels one and three don't have any enemies in them, battles. One of the best things about the puzzles is they're not hard to figure out or do. They're mostly just things that were added to make it hard for very young kids. Somehow, they manage to be too difficult for very young kids, though. There're only in about five or six levels that really require that much thinking. Most of it's fighting.

If more games had combat like this one, maybe I would like combat more. Though the idea is the same as the Lord of the Rings games (kill very strange and evil-looking with swords and bows), it's much more enjoyable in this game then those. For one thing, the enemies start out as almost never even trying to hurt you, which is good. It feels like a movie scene in which the good guy's thrashing around, killing enemy after enemy, right up till the end, where he has trouble. For another, even in the later levels, they can be taken down with maybe eleven or twelve hits, instead of fifteen or twenty.

There're combos, but only for Peter and Edmund. These combos are mostly what the game calls "banes". Banes allow you kill a specific type of enemy in one hit, which can be extremely useful, obviously. However, you can't just run around using banes. They require a energy meter to use. One combo in particular (Lion's Roar) can plow down lots of enemies in the last levels, keeping them challenging, but not too frustrating. In the beginning, however, simply pressing the attack button over and over will deal with most of the enemies.

To unlock these combos (and many other abilities in the game), you have to spend coins on them in the Inventory. These upgrades can come in the form of combos, increased damage, increased healing ability, automatic energy bar refilling, and increased speed for energy bar refilling. As well as "team abilities", which mean what they suggest. Increase the power of your special moves when you team two of the children up. These can cost as much as two hundred coins, which you collect in the game just by playing through. In the early levels, you have to beat things or solve puzzles to get them, but it's still a good idea, because you want the abilities. The game'll become less fun if you don't have them, as you'll lose every other step you take. Sometimes, I just went back to previous levels to get coins.

Like the gameplay, the audio and visual is impressive. At least the actors of the children provided their voices and physical forms to the game and it sure seems like the witch and Aslan (big lion character) did, too. This certainly doesn't go unnoticed. They do look and sound like their movie counterparts. The music, likewise, is just as mystical at some places and epic or hurried at others. The environments look very much like Narnia from the movie and the Professor's house is very authentic, too. It really feels like a true movie adaption, which is rare.

There are flaws, however, to be found, and the ones that matter are the most noticeable. Sometimes, the game's music will just stop playing and at the next cut-scene will freeze. Or it might just start playing the same note of the music over and over. The levels may not even load past the first part for five minutes, and just as you reset the system, you see it move, but too late. In the combat, every combo relies on the energy meter. No energy? No combo, which could leave you completely defenseless in the final levels of the game. You can override this by buying upgrades, but you really shouldn't have to rely on energy just to pull off a basic three-button combo. Sure, banes should use energy, due to their power, but not every combo.

When you're surrounded by enemies, you'll often get hurt because they're so many of them. Though they're easy to take out usually, they can be very frustrating, especially since some of them have attacks which knock you back or otherwise render you incapable of fighting back, and they all do it at once. Though having multiple enemies around you means you won't run low on energy (as you gain some for scoring a three or more hit combo), it's hardly worth it when you could do just as well by sending in a few tough, slow enemies. Finally, the computer controlled children, if you have any with you, are quite useless. They don't do anything except attack when an enemy stands right beside them. So, if you need to shoot something with Susan, you're screwed unless you can get about ten seconds' time to do it. The enemies will attack the kids you control. Sometimes, it seems impossible to do anything without playing co-op.

If you're looking for a good combat/action game, you'll find it here, rather you're a Narnia fan or not. Even with the somewhat unpleasant collection tasks (statues and shields), even they aren't bad. And since the enemies will yield health restoration items when you get low enough, surviving those long, tough battles still comes down to skill. Except for those "gangsta peeps", those "omg ttly kewlness" teenage girls, or those "run around, showing off my bare chest to everybody" macho guys, you're probably going to like this game. Hey, even a few of those types of people might like it, if only just for the sword fighting.