The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

Growing up, I absolutely adored the Chronicles of Narnia books even though most of my friends had never heard of them (they were all ‘Tolkien’ this and ‘Gandalf’ that). I therefore assumed that the series was just kind of an almost unknown treasure that I had found. I still have the box-set I got as a birthday present so many years ago, though it’s significantly more worn now.

Fast forward a bunch of years and books like the Lord of the Rings series are being made into movies and making me think back to those other fantasy novels I read as a young ‘un. So I start to look into my old standbys again and what do I find? That a movie is going to be based on the Narnia universe. And movies ultimately mean video game tie-ins.

Now, I’m fully aware that movie-based tie-in video games to movies are generally awful, so I was expecting the game based on the movie based on the book The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to be bad. I mean, it’s already two degrees separated from the source material, so any similarities to the actual novel would probably be the result of some kind of divine intervention, or a complete accident. But I was also aware that I would probably never again see a Narnia game again in my lifetime, so if I wanted to seize the opportunity to take two of my childhood passions and smoosh them together to see what I got, now would be the time.

And what did I find?

Well, that’s a great question, actually. The game is definitely based on the movie which is based on the book that I read. The four children are in the game and have to defeat the White Witch somehow. You do this by guiding the Pevensies around twisty little paths, all alike, in your search to kill stuff. Each one has strengths, and you have to switch between them to utilize them to their fullest. But the White Witch isn’t going to stand idly by and wait for you to saunter up to her palace and topple her from her cushy job. She sends wave upon wave of enemies to accost you at every turn, making you fight your way pretty much anywhere you decide you want to go.

Narnia: LWW

And that’s actually kind of a problem for me. Enemies constantly come at you, forcing you to either fight them or run away. If you fight enough of them you’ll eventually get stronger, but if you run away you’ll retain more of your precious health points. For some reason the kids start the game out exceptionally weak, and it’s just a lot of slogging through the enemies to proceed, assuming you don’t manage to get one or more of them killed off somehow. Then it’s spending time trying to figure out how to resurrect them while you’re trying to fend off a pack of wolves with what amounts to a slightly-sharpened stick with an eraser stuck on the point.

The other problem I had was that the featureless landscape of the ‘constantly winter and never Christmas’ landmass that you have to explore. I got a few quests from the indigenous creatures, but never could accurately divine where in the vast expanses of sameness I was supposed to try and go. Which led to three things:

  1. Me getting hopelessly lost
  2. Me running around in circles killing wolves with a Bonk Stick
  3. Me turning this game off, sticking it back into its protective case, and then dreading the day that the Prince Caspian game comes out.

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