The Da Vinci Code|
(hx) 01:17 PM EDT - Aug,27 2006
The Da Vinci Code is an action adventure game. Placing you in control of central characters of the book - Professor Robert Langdon and police cryptographer Sophie Neveu - it sees you traveling through France and England in search of the Holy Grail. The plot generally follows the film, which generally follows the book, though of course there are plenty of scenes that "expand" upon the film's locations. Wrongly accused of a murder, American scholar Langdon and Parisian cop Neveu (granddaughter of the murder victim) wind their way through a long series of clues to unravel the sort of titanic conspiracy that would take far too much coordination to actually exist. In the game, you control them both, though not at the same time - the selection tries to coincide with the happenings of the book and movie, but it's not always spot-on. You spend most of the game navigating museums, tombs and other environments in the third-person, fighting cops and solving puzzles as you go. The deeper you get, the more of the Da Vinci mystery you unravel.
The gameplay consists of two main parts: fighting and puzzle solving. The fighting is weak, as it relies heavily on combos and rhythmic mouse clicking. Combat involves performing a series of left, right or double mouse clicks when the game signals that you should do so with a series of graphics at the bottom of the screen. If you are too slow, or left click when you should have right clicked, then your attacking or defensive manoeuvre is likely to fail. There are also some stealth elements. The crouching works fine, but with that terrible camera, the stealth is more frustrating than anything else. And there's nothing to indicate when you're really safe in shadows or not. Well, you can select one of three combat difficulty settings but even on easy mode The Da Vinci Code still had its frustrations. They say that playing action games is cathartic and does not lead to increased levels of violence. I can now attest that this is not true. After numerous combat failures I wanted to kill someone :)
Puzzle solving fares a little better. The game's puzzles, which range from riddles and unscramble anagrams to multi-part item manipulation, are generally good and sometimes quite difficult. Fortunately, many of the puzzles also provide hints to help you solve them so that you need not be held up too long and can quickly get back to the action, if that is your preference. The only annoying thing about some puzzles is that you need to find things to complete them, like statues etc., it can get boring to search for them. My other complaint about gameplay is that you can only save your progress when the game indicates a checkpoint. So you may have explored part of a location, solved two or three puzzles, and been successful at a couple of fights but fail on the third fight and it's back to start all over again from your last save. This becomes boring very quickly :(
In the end, the Da Vinci Code is a good puzzle game with a bad movie game added to it. Unless you're a die-hard Da Vinci Code fan, I would not recommend this game.
The Da Vinci Code CDROM
System requirements: Windows 2000/XP, 1.8 GHz Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon, 512 MB RAM, 64 MB graphics card with hardware transform and lighting, 100% compatible with DirectX 9c (does not support nVidia GeForce 3 and 4 series MX cards), 6x DVD drive or faster, 3GB hard-drive free space, 100% DirectX 9c compatible sound card, keyboard and mouse.
snd: 2/5 - voiceovers are dull and lack expression (the voice work isn't supplied by the original actors), cinematic music
gfx: 2/5 -
dated, character models are terrible, clunky animation, clipping and other problems
playability: 3/5 -
pretty mediocre, a variety of challenging puzzles, frustrating combat (awkward controls), bugs
platform: PC (also available on PS2, Xbox)
release: March 2006
developer: The Collective
publisher: 2k Games