Reviewed: December 23, 2004
Released: November 9, 2004
Oh, you’ve decided to read this review; how unfortunate. Unfortunate here meaning that you must delay your experience of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events until such time as you have finished this review, as this reviewer tends to run on and on that may be quite some time. However, once begun we must finish, so in carrying on: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are three very unique orphans. Unique here meaning, singular of talent and disposition, entirely rich, and in possession of one very unfortunate “relative”. This unfortunate relative being one Count Olaf, who, while being an actor, is also a very rotten man. After being placed in the care of the Count, Violet, Sunny, and Claus must use all their talents and wits to out smart his plots and henchmen and keep their fortune, and their lives.
Each of the three Baudelaire children has their own particular methods of dealing with the Count’s machinations. Violet is a brilliant inventor and will create anything that the children might need in their adventures using only household materials and a bit of ribbon for her hair, she also hates rats. Klaus has an encyclopedic knowledge of encyclopedias as well as any other books he has ever read, he has a fear of spiders. Sunny… well Sunny bites things.
You will, of course, control all three of the children, switching between them as necessary. Violet will allow you to cross moats of ooze and other unsavory obstacles, while Klaus can work wonders for jumping puzzles. Sunny will get into the small spaces that the other children cannot navigate. Switching between the children is swift and easy, and it is fairly obvious when you have to change between them.
The only complaints one could have would be that the game is a little too easy, but then this is a game for children who have been known to have poor motor skills, lazy habits, and overall be rather dull creatures. Just so you aren’t bored however there are few changes to lighten the mood. Every stage in fact has its own variations on the basic theme, which is collect the parts to complete the gadget that Violet will make so Count Olaf will be foiled. Huzza and hooray!
Now I have never been one to place form over substance, however looks have been considered important in the past, so leave us not overlook them in this instance. Not only do the Baudelaire orphans bear a more than passing resemblance to their “live” counterparts, but the other characters, particularly Count Olaf in all of his incarnations do as well. The more unimportant individuals are a little less detailed it is true, but how much detail must be given to a man who has hooks for hands, beyond that fact?
The environments that the children inhabit are fine looking as well; fine looking here meaning, treacherous, creepy, and downright dreadful. The mansions are moldering, the caves are cracked, and the docks are dreary. It all sets such an unfortunate tone for the orphans as they must adventure about. It is most fitting, with shadows and exposed wall supports all about.
In the interests of being thorough, it should be mentioned that the animation of these characters, the henchmen specifically, leaves something to be desired. While I do realize that it is hard to find good help these days, some effort should be made, really. Otherwise there are really no complaints, rotten fruit splats appropriately, peppermints shatter, and so on. Oh, and do be careful of the plants, they are extremely rare and deadly.
Just as looks have not been ignored, so too should we pay attention to the auditory reception. As such the voices of the characters are indeed their silver screen counterparts, which alone would be worth mentioning. These little parts are vastly overshadowed by the narrator however. This job has been filled by Tim Curry, who does so not only impeccably, but also with great sarcasm and panache.
Otherwise the sound is unremarkable, although the ending musical number is quite smashing; smashing here meaning watermelons, there is nothing to write home about.
Age determines everything. An older individual would not really have much difficulty with this title, and as such may feel cheated by a swiftness of completion and the ease with which you can find and collect the secrets. A younger one may spend more time with it. It would all depend.
The secrets, however, are well worth collecting. You can unlock stills from the movie set to music, production photos, and even “story time with Count Olaf”.
I am told that this particular game is based upon a movie based upon a series of unfortunate events taken down in novel form. If you happen to be a fan of either precursor then this is well worth a going over. It would also make a much better gift for that special little person this holiday season than say a spider, or a rat.