Rating: ESRB – Everyone (10+), PEGI 7+
Here I go again, taking my blog in another direction (my first party game review). Today’s PC game ties in with Luc Besson’s vision of a fantasy world – one where he brings to life the story (on paper and on film) of Arthur, our young protagonist of the story, who gets to go on his second adventure with the Minimoys.
It seems that there’s no website out there on the Internet who has reviewed this game. I sincerely wonder why? Although targeted at kids, I thought that Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard (or more commonly known as Arthur et la vengeance de Maltazard in France) is quite a fun party game for 2 players, especially one that emphasizes on cooperation in the Adventure Campaign game as well as the stand alone Mini-Games Chest. This is an excellent game for bonding with your kid, and if you have never seen the movie before, you may just want to see it with your kid after playing this.
|Care to party with your kids?|
To bring you up to speed, Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard is the second movie in a trilogy of live action movies mixed with lovely animation. The movies are born from the fertile imagination of French director Luc Besson; and if you can remember, Luc is rather well remembered for his sci-fi flick, The Fifth Element starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jojovich (the actress from the Resident Evil series of movies).
|Max needs our help, again!|
A few years ago, Luc wrote four story books in the Arthur series (yes, he’s also a novelist) – Arthur and the Minimoys, Arthur and the Forbidden City, Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard, and Arthur and the War of the Two Worlds. The first movie Arthur and the Invisibles, comprising the first two novels, feature rather well-known actors providing the English voices – actors such as Madonna, David Bowie, Snoop Dogg, Robert De Niro, Emilio Estevez and more. There is a PC game with the title of Arthur and the Invisibles and I may review it in the future if I hear a request from my readers.
|The main menu|
The second movie, Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard, takes off where we last left Arthur and essentially covers the third novel. The third movie, Arthur and the War of the Two Worlds, does not yet seem to have a game based on it.
Arthur returns to the world of the Minimoys in 1963 during the holidays. The Minimoys are small little fairy like beings in the garden of his grandparent’s peaceful country house. In the movie, Arthur is unfortunately duped by Maltazard (hence the tagline “Revenge”). Maltazard is up to no good as he has a nefarious plot up his sleeves – to enter the world of the humans leaving Arthur trapped in the world of the Minimoys.
|The first quest|
The game offers you three choices at the start, but you really only have one option when you first start off, and this is to begin the great Adventure (either as a single player only game or cooperatively with a friend). The other two options, Mini-game chest and Bonus are useful only after you have unlocked a couple of mini-games in the main Adventure.
Player 1 will default to using the mouse and most often has to move his mouse in the cardinal directions (up, down, left, or right), as well as to shake the mouse vigorously in some occasions. Player 2 mimics the same actions with the keyboard cursor keys and space bars.
|The Mini-game Wheel|
Once you start the Adventure, you must choose a character to play. I couldn’t find any differences in selecting a different character. They all appear to feature the same level of difficulty, except that a different model is used. You have 5 characters to choose from at the start (with another 3 waiting to be unlocked). Pick one you really like and enter the game.
You are then treated to a beautiful cutscene movie for your first quest (there are four to wrap up the entire Adventure). Following this, you are introduced to a closeup 3D animation of Max, the leader of the Koolamassai. The Koolamassai are a tribe who live in the world of the Minimoys. Max will be the one who shall guide you throughout this adventure, so pay attention to what he has to tell you.
|Unlock the Minimoy Code|
Once a quest has been explained, you will be running around to several Minimoys. These little guys will provide you points that you need to harvest to complete your quest. Once you have picked a guy, a huge wheel will be spun to see which mini-game you shall play. There are quite a huge number of mini-games available in the game (31 to be exact), and they represent quite an interesting mix of party game play. If you succeed with a mini-game, you get to keep the points which are either deposited somewhere or used up in the quest.
A little video teaches you how to play each of the mini-games, and you should have no problems playing them if you pay close attention to the video as well as the required actions of the mouse or keyboard.
- Pitbull – A pitbull runs towards you, and you must move the mouse at the right moment to pull the carpet from under him to score points. If you succeed, the pit bull flies backwards. He will then return again to harass you. If the words “Don’t Pull” appears and you happen to move your mouse, the pit bull will most likely run into you and a simulated crack of the monitor glass appears on your display.
- Whipped Cream Mosquito – Stuff the whipped cream mosquito with dew drops. You have to move your mouse so that it keeps pointing at the proboscis of the mosquito. If you do it right, the mosquito will get really fat until a point when it belches. After which, the mosquito moves itself somewhere else on the screen and you must move your mouse to follow it.
- Groove and Co. – You have to make a record spin faster and faster on a turntable. A small colored slice will appear on the record and if it passes into the scoring area and the correct player activates his action key (or moves the mouse), points will be scored. When a special slice with a jagged line appears, both players must simulate the action an actual Deejay does – scracting the record. In the game, you do this by shaking the mouse left/right or pressing the keyboard left/right arrow keys quickly in alternation.
|How to play Groove and Co.|
- Strike it Right – This places you in a shooting gallery. The objective is for you to pelt Maltazard targets with berries while trying to avoid hitting those of your good friend, Max. There are two rows of moving targets and they sometime stop and flip themselves to fool you at the most irritating moment. If you hit Max, you get a point penalty.
|Two player mayhem|
- Minimoy Code – A machine bearing several runes appear. You must unlock the machine by matching the rune in your hand with the correct one in the machine. You are required the spin the rune in your hand for a perfect fit. You score points for unlocking each stage.
Once you have completed the Adventure – it takes about 2 to 4 hours to do so, you would have unlocked several mini-games and missions. You can then head to the Mini-Game Chest to play these mini-games as single player or with a friend.
There are also challenges to conquer in the Mini-Game Chest. Challenges offer a series of 3 to 6 mini-games that are presented to you sequentially. If you reach a certain score at the end of the series of mini-games, you get to unlock a reward.
|Artwork for Betameche|
Rewards include lovely artwork as well as movie specials. The artwork presents sketches and shots from the movie and I would think are quite rewarding especially if you are a fan of the movie. The game disc actually contains some cool Making Of… series of videos waiting for you to unlock. I think it’s definitely worth your time unlocking them as they show you the director, cast and crew during the filming of the movie Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard. It’s like owning a DVD of the movie and watching the special features on it.
|Sawing action with the mouse –
Remember, don’t burn a hole in the mousepad
- The game is very short. I could argue that it’s a kid’s game, but I was expecting much more mini-games from it – maybe about 40 would have been a better number instead of only 31. There are some mini-games you don’t get to unlock after completing the main Adventure Campaign, so at least you don’t throw the game one side once you are done with that.
- There’s only so much you can do with the mini-games. Once you have mastered the mini-game, there is no reason for you to return to play them again.
- You can’t skip some of the movie cutscenes. And you also have to bear with clicking to bypass the tutorial movies for every mini-game you play. I would have preferred for these movies to be shown only once and be made available only upon request.
- I noticed some minor bugs – for example the Pitbull mini-game had some description problems. I also got a single CTD (crash to desktop) right after the ending movie of the Adventure game (I’d been playing for hours before it crashed). Fortunately, there was nothing more serious than that.
- The PC version only allows for 2 players – that’s not really a party, if you get my point. We could blame it on the architecture of the PC, but I think that this is a really brutal choice especially since the Wii and Playstation 3 versions all support up to 4 players.
|A frantic battle to keep the city safe|