Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
Content at a glance:
Computer Platform: Xbox 360 (Microsoft)
Produced by: Ubisoft
Price Range: $11-20
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Teens
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Reviewed By: Phil Rownd (aka boyward)
Christian Rating: 3 of 5 (average)
Gameplay: 4 of 5 (good)
Violence: 2 of 5 (heavy)
Adult Content: 4 of 5 (barely present)
Note: The version of King Kong reviewed here appeared on Xbox, Xbox 360, Gamecube, Playstation 2, PC, and PSP. This review will apply to all said versions.
This video game adaptation of King Kong is based on Peter Jackson’s movie, in which a crew of ambitious moviemakers are shipwrecked on mysterious Skull Island, home of ferocious dinosaurs, overgrown insects, and savage natives. You play alternately as movie writer Jack Driscoll and then as the king of the island himself: Kong.
When playing as Jack, the name of the game is survival. Jack does wield guns, but the ammunition is in short supply, so Jack will have to make creative use of primitive weapons to survive. For example, Jack can grab a sharpened stick and impale a squirmy bug on the tip, using the bug as bait for the giant bats swarming overhead. Jack can also use fire to his advantage, setting traps for prowling dinosaurs and trapping them in the flames. Playing as Jack is a test of your wits. You’ll need to use your brains if you want to stay alive. I found this a refreshing change of pace from the usual run-and-gun 1st Person games.
Whereas Jack’s experience is humbling and nerve-wracking, Kong’s is about raw dominance. The overgrown ape lumbers along, swinging from tree to tree and stopping only to smack down the giant nasties that stand in his way.
All of the monsters on Skull Island are vicious, so much of the violence being done to you and to the other humans who are stranded with you. As Jack, we experience a first-person view of being chomped on by a dinosaur. The screen goes red and fades to black before you see anything really gory, but it’s still an unsettling feeling. As Kong you get to inflict some savage damage yourself: snapping jaw-bones on T-Rexes and ripping the wings off of giant bats really gives you the feeling that you’re playing as the big ape himself. If all of the violence were limited to the monsters it might be easier to swallow, but unfortunately, you do have to kill human beings to progress through the game. See, tribal people live on Skull Island too. So in the name of survival, Jack will burn their bridges and watch as they fall screaming into the creature-infested water. As Kong you will storm into their village and smash bodies and dwelling places alike. When Kong makes his way to New York City, he rampages through the city streets, flipping cars and sending people screaming for their lives. There is no blood or gore from these encounters with humans.
God’s name and that of His Son are used in vain over and over again. We also hear “d***” and the b-words.
Anne Darrow, the object of Jack and Kong’s affection, wears a torn dress. Nothing else can be construed as “sexual”.
The tribal people attempt to offer Anne as a human sacrifice to Kong. There is a great deal of chanting and drumming during these sequences that, while perhaps not occultic, implies a bloodthirstiness in the tribe.
Jack demonstrates self-sacrifice again and again as he risks his life to save his fellow crewmates. He especially devotes himself to the rescue of Anne, a devotion we also experience through the eyes of Kong. Both Jack and Kong will stop at nothing to protect Anne from the savage threats of Skull Island. In return, Anne shows tenderness to Kong and teaches us some lessons about loving the unlovable.
I played King Kong when my kids were in bed, and it’s a good thing too because Skull Island is a savage place. It’s a short game lasting about 10 hours and there is no multiplayer, but what’s here is unique and polished. I particularly enjoyed the heartfelt story, as well as the unusual emphasis on using my wits to survive. I would much rather see my teenager play a game like this than the usual 1st-Person killing games, but the killing of human beings and the constant use of God’s name makes me hesitate to recommend King Kong.
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Year of Release — 2005
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.
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