Based on the Dreamworks Animation CG film that just hit theaters, Madagascar is a third-person action-adventure game for kids. The game lets you play as Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippo, Melman the giraffe, and the crafty Penguins as they begin a journey from the Central Park Zoo to the island of Madagascar. Why? Because they wanted to try out what it would be like to live in the wild!
Despite the game's plot follows the film very loosely, Madagascar doesn't feature much footage from the film during the game. Instead the game and movie complement each other so perfectly that neither spoils the other.
There are over 11 action-packed, movie-based chapters including "Manhattan Street Chase," where you search for Marty on the mean streets of New York; "Penguin Mutiny," where the penguins overtake a giant cargo vessel; and "Jungle Banquet," where you get ready for the feast of a lifetime. About half of the game follows one of the film's four main characters (Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippo and Melman the Giraffe) through various platforming levels, generally holding their hand as they learn new techniques (by collecting things), find ways to progress forward (by collecting things) or collect things to complete the level.
The basic controls for each character are the same, though each has his or her own unique attacks and special abilities, which can be earned by collecting special power cards scattered about each level. For instance, Alex has his lion roar, which can scare or blow back enemies, Gloria (hippo) can bowl people over and smash through objects, Marty (zebra) has a great kicking ability and Melman (giraffe) can hover by spinning like a helicopter to increase his jumping ability.
In addition, there're three mini-games which are a mix of new, if simple, games and remakes of arcade classics. In "Shuffleboard" you will play as an array of characters in a bunch of shuffleboard games. In "Tiki Golf" you golf with the natives on tropical, Madagascar style, courses. Once unlocked, I nearly forgot about the story and played the mini-golf for two straight hours. Then you have the "Lemur Dance Party" which is basically a rhythm-based game in the style of Dance Dance Revolution.
Overall, the game is a bit better than I expected (although it takes a little getting used to the camera angle). The characters are easy to control, and because they each have special powers it makes it fun to swap back and forth between them. The game is clearly aimed at kids (+10 years), and its target audience will definitely enjoy it. So, if your kid enjoyed the movie, definitely give this game a rental.
Related links: Madagascar CDROM
Minimum System Requirements: Pentium III 800MHz or Athlon 800MHz or higher processor, 256MB RAM, 3D hardware accelerator card* with 32MB RAM, DirectX 9.0c-compliant true 16-bit sound card and drivers, 800 MB of uncompressed hard disk space
* All NVIDIA GeForce2 and better chipsets, All ATI Radeon 7500 and better chipsets