Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Princess Bride Game: A Review

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Every now and then, a truly great motion picture is released. A film which at once becomes a classic to stand the test of time. A film that has some of the most memorable lines of dialog ever written. A film that has everything from comedy to drama, from adventure to romance, and above all else a film who's mostly dead hero, when asked what's worth coming back for answers, "To blave." I'm talking, of course, about The Princess Bride.
Being asked to play and review a copy of The Princess Bride Game, I was both excited and nervous. Would they get it right? Would it be as great as the movie? Would I even like it?

It turns out that The Princess Bride game is quite entertaining. Its very easy to navigate through each phase and offers almost 75 levels of play. The animated cut scenes between levels are right out of the movie, and as an added bonus, Wallace Shawn, Robin Wright, and Mandy Patinkin all reprise the roles they made famous, if only in voice-over format. A nice touch, to say the least.

The Princess Bride Game is rated 'E for Everyone', and with 5 different levels of gameplay ranging from time management to a battle of trivia against Vizzini, the game takes the player on an adventurous journey echoing the fun and playful nature of the film it's based on. You begin as Westley the farm boy on Buttercup's farm, performing tasks and fulfilling her wishes. This first level is all about managing your time wisely. Take too long on a certain task or granting one of Buttercup's wishes, and you and Westley will have to start over again until you get it right. This level can be a bit challenging until you get the hang of it, but in the end, you'll be multitasking like a pro and making Buttercup happy at the same time, which of course is the point of the level.

A short cutscene later, and you're at my favorite stage of this game, the battle of wits against Vizzini, the Sicilian. This second level of the game is a trivia contest that is both engaging and entertaining. The answers are multiple choice, and to the uninitiated, might seem a bit difficult, especially for younger players and those who haven't seen the movie. Some of the questions refer to scenes from the film, while others make you take your time and opt to test your knowledge of rhyme. Not bad, eh? There are time limits to each question, and if you make it through the level alive, the player is rewarded with Wallace Shawn recreating his famously hilarious death scene.

After another delightful cut scene, the player must guide both Westley and Buttercup through the fire swamp, collecting gems and point multipliers along the way, and dealing with whatever R.O.U.S.'s you may encounter. This third level is just challenging enough to make it interesting for grown ups like me. It is, after all, for kids too, and this level plays like platformers such as Super Mario Bros., or even Castlevania. I like that you have to switch back and forth between each character in order to make it past each section. Buttercup jumps higher to reach distant gems, while Westley's sword clears a path for both of them.

After narrowly escaping the fire swamp and the R.O.U.S.'s, another cut scene tells us of Prince Humperdink's capture of Buttercup and brutal torture and mostly death of Westley. Inigo and Fezzik rescue Westley and bring him to Miracle Max's, which is right where the player comes in. Miracle Max's plays just like all those entertaining hidden object games you see everywhere online, except the difference between those and the one in The Princess Bride Game is that the backgrounds in this one actually look good. Seriously, the art is great and creative throughout the entire game, but it really shines on this level. Little bits of dust floating in the beams of sunlight coming in through cracks in the ceiling are some of the subtle touches that make this one of the more enjoyable levels of the game for me. And as if a hidden object game weren't enough to satisfy some of you, and I know it might, there's also a magical potion mixing game thrown in here as well. Potion mixing has never been more fun as you try to match colors and smoke shapes in Max's cauldron, eventually mixing the potion that reawakens a previously mostly dead Westley. This is probably the most challenging level as well as the most rewarding. It takes a good memory and good knowledge of color combination too, but in the end, I think everyone will like this level as much as I did.

Once out of Miracle Max's, Westley, Inigo, and Fezzik try to devise a plan to get through the Prince's men, break into the castle and rescue Buttercup from being forced to marry Humperdink. How will they do it, you ask? Well, by building a siege engine and "Storming the Castle", which is also the name of this 5th and final level. To build the siege engine, players are given silhouettes of items which they need to complete construction. Sounds easy, right? Not so order to find the secret items, the player must re-watch each cut scene and look for the item to start flashing on the bottom of the screen, which is not that easy if you're not paying attention. Once you find all of the items you need, you need only click on the "Storm the Castle" button and watch the fun. I'll refrain from spoiling the end of the game for you, but rest assured, you'll enjoy it. I did.

But wait, there's more. There always is, isn't there? Okay, so, you've completed levels in time management, trivia, platform gaming, potion mixing, and object finding...this game couldn't possibly offer you anymore for your buck, right? Wrong! If you choose to keep playing and start over from the beginning, the difficulty levels increase the more you play, so re-playability is pretty high indeed.

Well, there you have it...The Princess Bride Game. It's pretty good if you ask me, 4.5 out of 5 for sure, although it could've been longer. It's a great game for families to play together, but it's also fun going solo as well. Perhaps the best thing about this game though, is that it made me want to watch the movie right after I finished playing, which I guess is a sign that the game works! Happy playing!!


Midlife Mom said...

Thank you for reviewing this game. I'm always looking for appropriate games for my grand kids and nieces and nephews.

The pictures of the girls out in the snow are just adorable! They had such a good time didn't they? I love the pink cheeks! How fun to go sledding with Daddy!

Merry Christmas Crackerjacks! xoxo

tommie said...

This is one of my all time favorite movies. In fact, when we first bought a DVD player, it was the first movie I bought!