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August 31, 2005

REVIEW: Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (a.k.a. Eew! Coconut!)

  • Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, GameBoy Advance, PC
  • Current Price (new): $30-40 (save it for good games)
  • Amount of Game Played: Too Much
  • BOTTOM LINE: Oompa, Loompa, Crappity-Crap!
Remember when I wrote about how many of us are cautious when we approach licensed games, because so many of them........ how shall I put this........ suck? Remember that, do ya?

Well, if SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is the yummy exception, then Charlie & the Chocolate Factory is the yucky rule.

Or, to use a chocolate-themed analogy (and to explain the "a.k.a." in the title of this review), if SpongeBob is the caramel in the box of assorted chocolates, then Charlie is the coconut. And for the purposes of this example, let's assume that everyone really hates coconut, shall we?**

The time: May, 2005. The scene: the 2K Games booth at E3 in May.

While I enjoyed games like Sid Meier's Pirates! and the visually delicious NBA 2K6, I also spent some time playing Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Unfortunately, that is time that I will never get back.

The level I played had me jumping wildly around on a red........ ball........ thingy, and throwing candy at........ creature........ things, and trying to float through some garden variety factory/castle/dungeon hallway-esque place. Control (and fun) was non-existent. And if I was this frustrated, just imagine your kids trying to figure out what the hell to do. I'll save mine the agony, thanks.

Actually, that's about all I got for ya. I couldn't take any more. So I went over to the Sony booth to play Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves (preview coming next week).

P.S. No Screenshots For You!

** Well, my wife just shot my clever little chocolate assortment analogy to hell. She likes coconut, and truth be told, I do to. But I was under the impression that coconut was the universal sign for Least-Desirable-Chocolate-In-Box. If you coconut lovers feel slighted (or feel that since you love coconut, I'm actually praising this game), feel free to substitute those icky fruit creams in its place. And if you love the fruit creams, then I really can't help you. Those things are nasty. That is all.


  • X-Play on G4 (the only show worth consistently watching on said channel, IMHO) just reviewed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: they gave it a 1 out of 5. Just watching the gameplay, it was apparent how horrible it was: terrible controls, poor camera, repetitive gameplay, derivative ideas and just plain BAD.

    Real interested to hear what you thought of Sly 3.

    By Blogger WizarDru, at 5:37 AM  

  • Have you seen "Icons" on G4? IMO, that's the best show by far. Clearly Icons & X-Play are aimed at different audiences, but if you want to learn a little gaming history from the horse's mouth, you can't get much better. Of course, I may be biased, what with my love of gaming history.

    Thumbs up on Sly 3.

    By Blogger Dan, at 7:13 AM  

  • That's the only other show worth watching, really. Icons is a little inconsistent, though, for my tastes. For example, their show on Tim Schaffer was excellent...but then some of their episodes were kind of weak or skipped over some details that irritated me. Of course, that may just be the old fart in me talking...I mean, I LIVED those times, so my perspective is different from someone looking back, especially a 20 year-old G4 stafffer. ;)

    And their Frank Miller episode irritated me to tears. Forgetting that it wasn't about games, the editing made my wife and I want to put our heads through a plate glass window. But by and large, it's still a pretty good show.

    By Blogger WizarDru, at 5:49 AM  

  • While they definitely leave a lot out (given that they're only 30-minute episodes), I've been pretty happy with the episodes that deal with gaming folks. Most of the ones I didn't like were about folks like Frank Miller, Mark Cuban, etc. I liked the Shafer one, too. It showed an interesting view of game development under very trying circumstances.

    By Blogger Dan, at 8:04 PM  

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