The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - Box

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Ages: Teen

I remember reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was left with an overwhelming desire to find a closet that would lead me into Narnia. I wanted to explore that magical land, talk to the mythological animals and battle wits with the beautiful White Witch. That first rush of awareness of being in a wondrous place makes the strongest impact and is the most remembered one -- not all the battles. And this holds true of the game.

The game starts out with the Blitzkrieg -- German planes bombing London in World War II. For the first few moments you think you are in the wrong game, but it sure gets your attention. The four kids involved, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, in descending age order, are sent to a mansion in the country inhabited by an old professor and his housekeeper. The evacuation of children for safety reasons actually happened. There is some running about the mansion, bashing on the furniture and hiding to escape the housekeeper which acts as a tutorial. A point here -- bashing on furniture to collect points could only have been thought of by some boy -- stupid.

The children eventually enter Narnia through the back of the wardrobe and pretty quickly they are besieged by wolves. Anytime you attempt to explore, there are hazards, and I realized that Narnia wasn't for wandering through but was a background for fighting. And there are plenty of battles and suffice it to say, they get harder as the game progresses. You pick up coins and statues which can be traded at the end of a level for upgrades. Your strongest fighter is Peter and so it is wise to spend upgrades on him. Susan's ability is picking off targets from a distance with her bow and arrow, or snowballs before her upgrade. She can also put animals to sleep by playing on the panpipes. Edmund is seduced by the White Witch, so is out of action for a while, but he can climb up poles and things. Lucy is small can can get to places the others can't, has the healing powers and, with upgrades, can ride boggles, wolves and ghouls. You play either as the individual indicated on the upper left of the screen, or combine into a two person team.

There are a couple of clever bits of business -- stepping on ice flows that aren't safe and being able to step back before they sink, using a big snowball for transportation, and tiny footsteps in the snow. But bad business is the smaller kids being picked up and swung about as weapons.

I wonder who the game was designed for. Not enough battles and blood for hard core gamers, and too hard for younger gamers. The designers missed by not making it possible to create a Narnia that you could wander through. All that great scenery going to waste. And I would have liked it better if they had gotten rid of the wolves, who appear every time there is a lull in the game. The manual that comes with game is minimal. Go for the Brady strategy guide. (see section on Strategy Guides).

Reviewed by: Editor - 12/05

  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • © Buena Vista Games
  • PS2
  • To Order: PS2 $49.00