Review by huckleberrypie
Good concept, but lackluster execution.
I had to admit that making a videogame adaptation of the best-selling Unfortunate Events series is, in my opinion, a brilliant idea, considering what multimedia technology is capable of nowadays, but I guess when it comes to games for younger audiences, such as this one, it's largely a hit-or-miss situation. You're bound by content and gameplay restrictions so that kids will be able to finish it off, and so as not to shock their parents with NSFW graphics and stuff. Some had done a pretty good job at making a fun, yet family-friendly game, or a brilliantly-executed tie-in, but with this, it's mostly a mere shadow of what the books are like.
For the most part, the game is in the form of a third-person shooter. Not with guns and gangsters, but with a trio of shrewd and intelligent kids who lost their parents in a mysterious fire, and a myriad of odd-yet-interesting weapons and gadgets, like a lock pick, an improvised launcher that fires rotten eggs (which I describe as a kid's version of the AA-12 shotgun), and a couple of other things. The missions are linear, with little to no free-roaming involved, and with some puzzle elements on it. Level design and graphics are satisfactory, albeit a little more saturated than in the film.
Gameplay, however, is a little bland and repetitive, although it should do for a younger audience. I tried to make the boss fights feel like it's intense, even going so far as to circle-strafe the white-faced women and spam them with whatever ammunition I have, with me yelling in the process. Unfortunately, this isn't Grand Theft Auto, and the only other brutal thing the Baudelaire orphans will do throughout is to give Olaf and his henchmen a Falcon Punch from Violet's smasher. Other than that, it's mostly a scavenger hunt of sorts, i.e. find three or more parts and then have Violet build them. The console version was a lot worse when it comes to that element, as you would only end up spending thirty seconds to a minute just to find what the orphans need, although it can be a little more difficult on the PC.
The voice acting is probably the best bit of the game, as most, if not all of the actors in the film, reprised their roles in the game, like Jim Carrey, Emily Browning and Liam Aiken, although they had to hire different actors for some of the characters, like Tim Curry as Mr. Snicket himself. If only that the facial and cutscene animations were a little better...
Overall, the game's a little decent, although my biggest gripe so far is that it's a little too short and lacks some replay value. I guess I'll probably settle for this until some other developer had plans on making another Snicket game.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (US, 11/10/04)
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