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Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie

Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie is a first person shooter action adventure game based on the 2005 film King Kong. It is a collaboration between the film's director Peter Jackson and famed videogame designer Michel Ancel (Rayman, Beyond Good & Evil, the Rayman Raving Rabbids series), remarkable in that such true cross-medium creative partnerships are rare in the realm of game development. It was released for the Playstation 2 platform in North America on November 17, 2005, as well as a mobile version also released in Winter 2005, developed by Gameloft. In the United States, the Game Boy Advance version is titled Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World.

King Kong was originally announced for all major game systems. However, out of the current seventh generation, only the Xbox 360 has received the game. The standard edition, featuring standard quality graphics and audio, is used for the Playstation 2 and retail PC platforms. The high-resolution edition, featuring next-generation effects such as bump mapping and volumetric lighting, is used for the Xbox 360 release, but can also be purchased as a special PC release, which is only available as a downloaded package directly from Ubisoft.

Gameplay

In the game, the player assumes the roles of both New York scriptwriter Jack Driscoll and the legendary giant gorilla, Kong as they struggle to survive the threats of Skull Island.

This game is exhibitive of an industry trend to de-emphasize the role of Heads-Up Displays: it lacks a life bar and ammunition readout (the ammo readout can be enabled), which makes the game more realistic and intense. The player must rely on subtle onscreen and vocal cues from Jack instead. During the majority of the game, the player is tasked with controlling Jack Driscoll from a first person perspective. Your character is given a realistic amount of health and equipped with primitive weaponry, further adding to the challenge and encouraging the player to find alternate weapons and techniques.

Interspersed with Driscoll's adventure are levels in which the player controls Kong himself, battling various giant monsters while defending Ann. The Kong levels take place in a third person view, as the player directs Kong to punch, grab and use objects/corpses as weapons. He can also bite, climb, charge, hurl enemies and even pound his chest to go into fury mode. When Kong is sent into fury mode, the sky becomes tinted with a golden hue and Kong becomes more powerful and less vulnerable to attack. Many of the Kong sequences fulfill the role of boss fights, as the giant ape is able to effectively battle the gigantic creatures that Jack's weapons cannot harm. Upon defeating a V-Rex, Queen Terapusmordax or Cave Serpent, Kong is able to deliver a finisher, similar to the fatalities of Mortal Kombat fame. Kong can kill a V-Rex with by using two different finisher moves: by tearing its jaws apart or lifting it over his head like a wrestler and slamming it down, breaking its back. The Queen Terapusmordax and Cave Serpent share the same killing move; being lifted into the air and slammed down to the ground.

There are two main versions of the game. The standard version that can be bought from most game stockists and the Xbox 360 version, which features higher resolution visuals and high end sound.

Plot

In 1933, film director Carl Denham, has gotten hold of a mysterious map, which reveals the secret location of a large island known as Skull Island, a place located in the far reaches of the Indian Ocean (correctly the Pacific Ocean in the game). Carl hires playwright Jack Driscoll to write his script and plucks a starving, out-of-work actress Ann Darrow to play the part of leading lady and a tramp steamer called the Venture to take them to the island. The ship, controlled by Captain Englehorn arrives at the island on October 12, 1933. But due to the stormy seas and huge rocks, it can't get close enough to land so three lifeboats containing the cast, crew and a few sailors are sent to the island. However, the lifeboat containing Jack, Carl, Ann, Hayes, and Briggs gets hit by a chunk of rock which fell from a large stone structure, thus tossing the party out into the sea.

Jack is horrified to find out that one of the sailors, Briggs is dead and the lifeboat completely wrecked. Hayes shoots out a distress signal, informing everyone that if Englehorn sees it, he'll come looking for them via the ship's plane. The group head upwards to a cave entrance leading into a dark, flooded cave. After fighting off several giant crabs, they head towards the exit and move out onto a rocky outcrop, to the left there is a rocky slope leading down to a stony beach. Carl suggest shooting some test shots for his movie, he asks Ann to scream and her classic damsel-in-distress style wailing is answered by a huge roar. The director and his men are suddenly attacked by huge crabs that crawl out from the shore, rifles raised, the men shoot the miniature tanks down, but a huge bellow erupts from the water. A 30 foot crab emerges from the murk and knocks over a wooden platform supported by wooden beams which is standing next to the slope. After much man-made commotion the creature is defeated, and they move on through a gigantic wooden door. The party progress forward, meeting up with the second lifeboat containing Preston, Jimmy and Lumpy, although it cannot land because of the strong current of the sea. The team continue traversing the island, battling with many vicious creatures, and are eventually forced to split up. Jack crosses a wooden bridge, but after he crosses it, it breaks. Ann insists on going with him and climbs up to the cliff above Jack. After a huge battle with Megapedes and Scorpiopedes through a seemingly abandoned village, Jack and Ann are captured by island Natives.

When Jack wakes up tied to a stake, he can only watch as Ann is taken by Kong, a giant 25 foot gorilla during a native sacrifice. Carl eventually rescues Jack and the two give chase. During the dangerous journey through the jungle, Jack and Carl reunite with Hayes and soon after, Jimmy, but Preston and Lumpy along with the other sailors are killed. However, when the team are pursued by two V-Rexes, Kong comes to the rescue and kills them. As the teams continues their journey, Kong interrupts the log crossing and tips them into a huge ravine. Carl's camera is broken and he gives up, heading downstream towards the Venture. Jack, Jimmy and Hayes continue their pursuit of Ann.

Jack eventually saves Ann and the party continue the adventure to find a long stretch of water of which the seaplane can land on. However, Captain Englehorn takes flight as a huge V-Rex follows them into a large area cluttered with ancient stone ruins. The monster breaks through the barricade and begins smashing down their shelter, until Kong comes to save them. As Hayes tries to stop the fight, the V-Rex charges at Kong, who steps on Hayes, killing him. Jack and Jimmy fight many Venatosaurs and head back to the stretch of water and find the seaplane. Jimmy climbs in (there is only one passenger seat) and Jack climbs up into the mountains to save Ann.

Jack discovers Kong's lair and kills two juvenile V-Rexes and the pugbats roosting above the entrance. He rescues Ann while Kong fights several cave serpents. But following a chain of events, she is captured by the natives until Kong comes to get her. He saves her then heads for the shore. Kong gets gassed by sailors once he reaches the shore. He is eventually passes out and is taken to New York City, where he is put on display on Broadway. Kong isn't held captive for long and wanders New York in search of Ann. He eventually finds her and, after destroying many army trucks and making a tip of Manhattan, taking her up to the Empire State Building. He tries to destroy a swarm of biplanes but is eventually shot down. Carl stands beside Kong's body and says "It wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast."

Alternative Ending

The game has an alternate ending that occurs if the player defeats enough biplanes as Kong, and then destroys the army's searchlights, Kong will climb down the Empire State Building and a cut scene will play of Kong roaring on the top of his homeland, having been safely returned. To unlock the alternate ending, players must complete the entire game and then go back and play through various maps and earn a total of 250,000 points or by using the cheat codes.

Weapons

  • Luger, a pistol from Germany. Although not very powerful, the Luger can repal an enemy, but killing anything with it will be difficult. It's good against small enemies but weak against large enemies
  • Winchester Model 1912, a shotgun from United States. It's very effective at a short range and is able to take down large predators but also is weak at a long range.
  • M1903 Springfield rifle, a sniper rifle from United Sates. Extremely powerful at a long range, able to take down enemies without them seeing the player. It are also quiet good at a short range too but take slower time to reload compared to the other guns.
  • Thompson submachine gun, a submachine gun from United States. It has more bullets in one magazine then other guns but in same time are weaker then them, however it shot faster and more and have longer range then pistol and shotgun and it's good against large predators.
  • Spear, the most common weapon of all. It can be found almost everywhere and is sometimes more effective than the Luger but has shorter range. The spear can do more damage when lit on fire and is highly effective against smaller enemies.

Awards

Spike TV Awards for-

  • Best leading male performance- Jack Black as Carl Denham
  • Best action game
  • Best video game based on a movie

Characters

  • Jack Driscoll: The main protagonist whom the player controls. His main objective is to save Ann from the hands of Kong. He can use different weapons to kill enemies. He is a popular screenwriter back in New York.
  • Ann Darrow: A down-in-her-luck actress who Jack soon falls in love with. She can climb up walls to complete objectives for Jack and Kong. She can only use spears to defend herself and the others. She also has medical knowledge which she uses to heal other members of the group.
  • Carl Denham: All Carl cares about is his film. While sometimes he can be useful for killing enemies, he usually stands back from the fighting to film the wonders of Skull Island. His camera is eventually destroyed in an encounter with Kong over a log bridge, only to catch the great ape himself.
  • Hayes: An infantry man from World War I. Hayes has the perfect knowledge of how to handle firearms. He sometimes gives Jack useful weapons and is the only comrade on the island who can kill enemies with firearms as well as Jack Driscoll, making him your most useful ally. He is killed when a V-Rex steps on him.
  • Kong: A giant 25 foot gorilla who is the last of his kind. You can play as Kong in the game. He protects Ann and kills different creatures in her defense. He can climb walls, lift stone pillars, swing from branches and even unlock pathways. He is killed when he is shot down and falls from the Empire State Building, although he can be saved and returned to his lair on Skull Island in the alternate ending.
  • Captain Englehorn: Captain of the Venture, Englehorn flies around the island in a seaplane, dropping crates of ammunition. He comes to retrieve Jimmy while Jack heads to Kong's lair.
  • Jimmy: The youngest member of the Venture crew. He came ashore in another boat along with Preston and Lumpy. He can only use spears and a pistol and is an easy target for most creatures. Jimmy has a knack for getting into trouble and frequently requests Jack's assistance.
  • Preston: Carl's assistant who ventures ashore with Lumpy and Jimmy in another boat. He is the only one of his group (Jimmy and Lumpy.) to make it across the ravine. How he died is never explained. When Jack, Carl, and Hayes find Jimmy, Jimmy says that Preston was killed.
  • Lumpy: The cook on board the Venture, Lumpy went with Preston and Jimmy in another boat. He is ripped apart by a V-Rex after a failed attempt to defend Jimmy.
  • Sailors: Several of the Venture crew go ashore and are killed by the island's vicious inhabitants.

Enemies

Around 13 specific offensive creatures appear in the game, but these can be grouped into generalized categories: V-Rexes, Cave Serpents, Venatosaurus, Terapusmordax, Skull Island Neopedes, Croc-Frogs, Giant Crabs, Swarm Spiders, and the Skull Island Natives.

  • Vastatosaurus Rex: The most powerful foe in the game, V-Rexes are larger descendants of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. They are huge predators with a bite that kills, the brute strength to break down stone structures, and armored hides that a shotgun cannot penetrate. As Jack, V-Rexes are invulnerable, which is despised by first-person shooter fans; only Kong can injure or kill one. Around 15 in total are encountered in the game; 8 adults are killed eventually by Kong. Two varieties exist; the near-invincible adults and the killable (but barely) adolescents. The juveniles can stand about 3 magazines of machine-gun fire; the adults can take anything Jack can give out. The adults perform several attacks when facing Kong; charge, tail-whip, headbutt, and, most devastatingly, tackle. A V-Rex tackle will force Kong on his knees and could kill him with one bite to the throat.
  • Piranhadon: Encountered only in Kong's lair and used as cover for Jack and Ann to escape the giant gorilla. The beasts are very hard to grab as Kong and can slither on walls. They attack Kong by lunging out open-jawed at him and will make a move on ripping out his throat when Kong grabs one successfully. 2 forms are seen; the 50 some-odd foot females and the much smaller males,
  • Venatosaurus: 2 species of Skull Island dromeosaurs, Venatosaurs are better known by the larger species, V. saevidicus. The larger animal is a pack hunter, using numbers to herd prey into an ambush or operating singly to hunt smaller prey, like Jack. They're typically a greenish shade with a slight blue or silver tint on the back. Despite their formidable hyperextendable claws, they only attack with their jaws. The smaller species, V. impavidus, operates in small groups and is surprisingly weak in terms of endurance. The V. impavidus is a steely gray color with blue-black markings on its back. V. saevidicus can take about 50 machine-gun rounds; with V. impavidus only 2 to 5 shots will do.
  • Terapusmordax: The flying enemies of the film and game, the flying rodents of the family Volucerattidae were indigenous to the island and characterized by the vicious 4-foot tall Terapusmordax. This species is the only one in the game, with the mountain species aside. The 3 Terapusmordax encountered are either juveniles, adults, or the huge Queens. The juveniles and adults are innumerable foes, while only 5 Queen Terapusmordax are ever seen, 3 killed by Kong to save Ann. The pups are dog-sized, while the adults are man-sized monsters. The Queens are the size and bulk of pickup trucks yet can be slain by man. Pups and adults attack Jack by slashing with their foot claws and cling to and nip at Kong. The Queens swoop down screaming at either Jack or Kong. All but the Queens can take up to 8 machine-gun rounds, whereas the Queens can withstand 2 magazines of machine-gun rounds; due to their circling flight, they are harder to hit.

A second variety of flying predator appears in the mountain ruins near Kong's Lair. By their looks it's possible they are actually Pugbats, but could also be Skin-Birds due to their choice of habitat.

  • Neopedes: This family of Skull Island exclusive centipedes is represented in the game by the generic 'Megapede' and the Scorpio-pede. The 'Megapede' is a large basically-built centipede that can climb on walls, swim, leap out at threats, and constrict humans. They make their homes in holes of walls of caves or near water; the best way to avoid an attack is to shoot at any holes until a satisfactory shrill of death is heard from the giant arthropod. 'Megapedes' can handle up to 10 machine-gun shots thanks to their rigid exoskeleton. Another variety of Megapede (possibly one of the canopy species) can be found through the game. These are black in colour, and much slimmer and more agile than regular Megapedes. They will also engage the latter in combat.

Scorpio-pedes are actually 3 feet long and herbivorous; they were increased in size and made predatory in the game for thematic reasons. The creatures are distinguished from scorpions by the lack of pincers. Commonly found in the native ruins and grassy patches in the networks of canyons, Scorpio-pedes will charge Jack with their tail raised to sting him. They are remarkably durable for invertebrates, withstanding up to 25 machine-gun rounds. Both are highly vulnerable to spears, which will split their primitive arthropod armor.

  • Udusaurs: Amphibious reptiles that appear in the swamps, resembling giant salamanders. They hide on the bottom, only exposing themselves when surfacing in a splash of water to rush their prey open-jawed. They take up to 15 machine-gun rounds to kill, but are hard to hit as they swim rather quickly. Compared to a crocodile by Carl and Hayes.
  • Arachno-Claws: One of the many native crabs of Skull Island, they are vastly exaggerated in the game, appearing much larger in size, temper and with an aquatic lifestyle as opposed to the terrestrial nature of the originals. All the crabs live near water, whether on the coast, in flooded caves, or even in water tables in the canyons. They typically rush forth sideways then turn around to snap out at any humans nearby. A really large crab was met on the coast, and was able to tear down native scaffolding in its way. The usual size will succumb from eight or more machine-gun rounds, while the true giant can tolerate 40 similar rounds. Like the Neopedes, the crabs are at huge risk from spear attacks.
  • Moonspiders: These nasty little predators are the only truly invincible enemy in the game, as shooting has no effect and even V-Rexes can be killed by Kong at least. The only way to evade them mentioned in the instruction manual is to bait them away with a captured dragonfly, larva, or swampcrawler, but throwing a spear on fire will also disperse them to pass safely. They also kill immediately when they attack, as does falling off a scaffold and walking into a fire.
  • Skull Islanders: The natives of Skull Island are hostile towards Kong and Jack and his group. They are easily killed especially while being Kong. While Kong, one hit can take out a group (8 or so). While Jack, especially on the rafting stages and armed with a Thomspon or M1897 Trenchgun you can kill natives easily but not in ADS mode.

New York City Enemies

  • Human Soldiers:

These soldiers in New York City use spotlights to find Kong. They will try to shoot him down with their machine guns. They are mostly found on top buildings. Kong can easily kill a Human Soldier with one hit.

  • Police Cars:

There are many police cars patrolling the streets to hunt down Kong. They are fast and the camera view will change if Kong is being attacked by police cars. Their guns are weaker, but if they shoot Kong enough, they can harm or kill him. Kong can easily speed up with a police car and destroy it with one hit.

  • Military Trucks:

These trucks are a real threat to Kong. The trucks don't move, but they are very powerful. They can easily kill Kong with two cannon blasts. However, Kong can destroy one by hitting it, throwing cars at it or, as on one occasion, jumping from a building and crushing the enemy with his impact.

  • Army Biplanes:

The biplanes are the biggest threat Kong will face and these planes will eventually his downfall. They will shoot Kong on the Empire State Building and fly past him. Their bullets are very powerful. They are very easy to destroy, Kong can either grab or hit an airplane, but the airplanes are eventually going to shoot him down.

Inoffensive creatures

  • Bait Creatures: The island is home to 3 types of harmless animals that can be used as bait to distract predatory species. The 3 are the giant dragonflies, a type of larva, and the aquatic swampcrawlers. They can be speared and thrown attached to attract aggressive animals and away from Jack or into the open to be killed by Jack. Dragonflies are always found near thorny bushes; the larva are usually in native structures and caves, while swampcrawlers are typically found in pools in caves and occasionally in the jungle.
  • Brontosaurs: A colossal species of Skull Island sauropod, Brontosaurs are found in the canyon migrating to new food resources. They are invincible but can feel Jack's weapons and subsequently stampede. Being kicked by one can be lethal, while being stomped on by one will kill. One is killed out of sight by a V-Rex near the end of the 'raptor relay' of the stage "Brontosaurus".
  • Scavenging Birds: Birds can be seen circling in the canyons, around the native ruins, or near any carcasses in the open. If a player is patient, they can be shot and killed.

Development

A Special Edition of the game was available for a limited time. It comes with the 2 game discs, a Bonus disc which has concept art and a screensaver on it and an additional Making of disc that has a making of featurette with Peter Jackson and several others. There was an error in the printing of the discs and the disc labeled "Making of" was actually the Bonus disc and the disc labeled "Bonus disc" was actually the Making of disc. The signature edition also comes with a TOPPS trading card of King Kong, a code for a downloadable ringtone for mobile phones. It also features a limited time special cover with Peter Jackson's Signature in it.

Reception

This game won the 'Most Long-Winded Game Title' in the Dubious Honors category of GameSpot's 'Best of 2005'. The console versions went on to receive very positive reviews, which is rare for a movie to game conversion.

Game reviews

GameSpot: 8.2 out of 10 (82%)

Technical issues

The version for the Xbox 360 was set up only for use on HDTV, and as a result, use on standard TVs led to a very dark image unsatisfactory for effective gameplay. As a result, Ubisoft recommended fans buy the Xbox version until a fix for the problem is produced. The Xbox version is not currently backwards compatible with the Xbox 360.

The PC version is also known to utilize the StarForce copy protection system which may cause unforeseen difficulties to the player.

The Nintendo DS and PSP versions were widely panned by reviewers because of bugs and glitches, poor level design and enemy AI. The DS version was listed in the 'Flat-Out Worst Game' list of GameSpot's Best & Worst of 2005.

References

External links

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