Sparrow (Captain Jack Sparrow) is back on the big screen and in a
new game. The first "Pirates of the Caribbean" game was originally
set-up by developer Akella to sell as Sea Dogs II. Savvy marketing guys
saw the opportunity to tie-in a pirate game with the pirate movie. It did not have any real references to Capt. Sparrow or the
movie but along with characters to quest, it did give the player control
of sailing ships and naval battles. This second POTC game, titled The
Legend of Jack Sparrow (that's Captain Jack Sparrow) is the opposite:
you have Capt. Sparrow (voiced to varying degrees of effectiveness by
actor Johnny Depp) and
his friends Elizabeth and Will Turner (voiced by other actors) to play in a role-playing quest that
chronicles other adventures not covered in the two films. But other than
some cutscenes and a few swordfights on the deck, no there are sailing
ships in this game, savvy?
The quest begins as Sparrow and Turner search for a
rare artifact. Their adventures cross some of the storylines from the
original movie with new locales in villages, forts, caves, mines, and jungles. Each episode involves a lot of
swordfighting with a steady flood of AI ghouls, enemy pirates, incontinent
Spaniards, and redcoats. After a while, constantly clicking the mouse to
whack generic opponents gets old and repetitive. There are instances where
you get to shoot a cannon, but mostly you swordfight.
Your fighting skills consist of a
few basic sword thrusts and combos, along with Jack's "grog bombs" and
hatchets (although I spent hours trying to figure out which key throws the
axes). Jack has a special tactic--he spits rum on the blade of his sword
and sets it on fire. Looks pretty and takes out opponents with one swing.
Speaking of looking pretty, the game graphics are adequate and the cut scenes
Swordfights, expect a lot of them
The loveable rogue is the main reason to play this game
Press ... where is the star key on my keyboard??
Finger? Circle back? What's that dot
thing mean?? Arrgh!
There is some puzzle-solving
required to open gates and treasure chests. You collect pieces of a map
and upgrade weapons. But none of the challenges are very difficult,
they're just steps to complete.
biggest aspect for criticism are the
game controls and interface. Probably because this game was developed for
the Playstation2 as well as the PC, the controls were confusing and the slim game guide was not much help. The ASWD
keys controlled the character's movement but some of the onscreen icons
baffled me. Which key on a keyboard equates to a circle with a star in it?
After much experimenting, I discovered that the icon with one sword was
the left mouse button, the two swords icon was right click. This is pretty
basic stuff, I can't see how this was released without someone saying
"shouldn't we list the icons and their meaning in the game guide?"
is an arcade game, so the treasure chests are filled with gold health
power-ups to sustain your character. Expect your vanquished foes to turn
into coin purses that you collect with a "ka-ching" sound. Unlike the
previous Pirates of the Caribbean game, just like my daughter's Sonic
games. Likewise, the game is too limited and linear to give the player a
satisfying sandbox adventure. It makes me wonder--do the designers of this
game think that's the style that will appeal to the widest audience? I
would have found it more enjoyable if the game was aimed at an older
demographic, minus the arcade elements and with more thoughtful combat.
That may not be extremely
detrimental in a game that is primarily about the personality of the
erratic and charming pirate. Depp's performance occasionally seems out of
synch and at times, flat, and the lines he is
given are uninspired. But it is a testament to the charisma of the Capt.
Jack character that even with linear gameplay and a mood-killing console
feel, the Legend of Jack Sparrow is mildly engaging.