Posted by John on January 7, 2012

Tintin leaps from big screen to PS3

NEIL MacFARLANE

The Adventures of Tintin: The Game, Sony PlayStation 3, Ubisoft / Ubisoft Montpellier. Rated E10+, MSRP $39.99

There are a few universally held axioms in the world of video games: bosses have weak spots, the princess is almost always in another castle and movie tie-in games are bad.

The Adventures of Tintin defies that last notion, at least. It won’t be bringing home any critics’ awards, but it’s a romp tidy enough that players won’t revile the movie it’s based on.

Perhaps the first thing it does right is remain relatively close to the narrative of the movie. Far too often tie-in games veer wildly off course into entirely new storylines that have nothing to do with their cinematic cousins and you end up with a pile of dreck that confuses anyone who has seen the movie.

Tintin sticks close enough to the established plot line to make it enjoyable, while taking small forays into new territory so as not to make it totally predictable.

The action is mainly platforming and puzzle-oriented and thankfully the controls are razor-sharp, which will aid players in reaching goals in both disciplines.

PS Move owners can try their hand with the optional motion controls; I found them to be a diversion at best and not nearly as precise as the DualShock controller when it came to scrambling from ledge to ledge or tiptoeing around guards.

Combat is significantly clunkier. Tintin has never been about wild brawls or shootouts though, and certainly the target audience for this game doesn’t require Call of Duty shooting mechanics.

Melee dustups are repetitive as a result, perhaps as motivation for players to find alternate ways to deal with interloping sentries and other foes.

Cut scenes litter the gamescape, typically as a transition from one area to another or as a way to explain some of the more complicated pieces of the plot.

Despite being rendered via the in-game engine, they are strangely low-resolution and nastily jagged, which is jarring, considering the clean and cheery graphic palette the rest of the game enjoys.

Audio work is mostly well done, with dynamic voice acting for all the main characters and most of the ambient background people, too.

The notable exception to this is the near constant stream of faux-profanities uttered by Captain Haddock at almost every point in the game.

I understand that he tends to rattle off babble like “thundering typhoons” and “blundering bazookas” in the comics, but by the time you hear him yelp “blistering barnacles” for what feels like the 900th time in this game you’ll wish he’d put a sock in it for a while.

Apt gamers will be able to swing, leap and shimmy through the main story in a single long afternoon of gaming. However, an unexpectedly robust challenge map/co-op mode is available to add some replay value.

There’s a boatload of characters, costumes and more hidden in this mode, which should sate those gamers hungry for more Tintin.

If you know a young gamer who really dug the Tintin movie, you could do worse than furnish them with this game, especially considering its budget price point.

It might not be in their gaming rotation in a couple months, but as far as movie tie-in titles go The Adventures of Tintin: The Game is the least offensive I’ve seen in some time.

UPSIDE: Surprisingly fun platforming, sharp controls. Budget priced, decent co-op mode.

DOWNSIDE: Short play length, poor cut scenes. Weak combat, Haddock needs a gag.

BOTTOM LINE: Tintin won’t blister your barnacles, but worth exploring anyways.

Neil MacFarlane is a Halifax video game enthusiast. ( nmacfarlane@herald.ca)

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