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Review Content

The Chronicles of Narnia released in 2005 was a great success so the developers thought they could cash in on that success after the film The Golden Compass became a blockbuster and worldwide hit. However, the designers were probably banking too much on the film and forgot or avoided to apply creativity and gameplay into the Wii version. From the very start, the obvious inferiority of the game revealed the rushed and mishmash feel of the gameplay.

Those who have never read the book or even saw the movie are warned to steer clear from this game for there is no introduction. The gamer plays the character Lyra Belacqua who needs to look for and rescue her friend Roger from the Gobblers who kidnap children and separate them from their daemons. These daemons are the psychic link of soul of the humans and without them the humans get zombiefied. Lyra’s daemon, Pantalaimon or Pan accompanies her throughout her adventures and they are joined by the warrior-polar bear in armour, Lorek.

Lyra controls the althiometer, or the golden compass, and she alone can use it and gain the answers. It is this ability to control the compass which makes her the target of the Gobblers and other baddies in the book, movie and game.

However, regardless of the ingenius plot, the developers royally messed up with the gameplay. During the exploration there is a lot of wasted time looking for the clues; the tasks may include mopping the deck of the ship or hiding under furniture, until the end is reached. In the end, the game is simply a mediocre attempt to oblivion and boredom.

The controls do not help in the least. They are too loose and can cause the gamer to lose control, frustrating if there are a lot of tasks to do. The camera makes everything worse; this also cannot be controlled properly and can cause the eyes of the player to cross, literally. The camera jumps all over the place especially in the middle of jumps. So cross-eyed first, cursing second, reloading constantly, third. Add in a little bit of active cursing directed to the developers and you get the gist of The Golden Compass game for Wii.

With the extensive plot of The Golden Compass it was quite surprising to see such an underdeveloped and confusing, if not frustrating, game play. The controls which are considered the key to winning and playing are terribly confusing and loose, plus the cameras jumping at the most inappropriate times can disconcert, frustrate and anger.