|Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Atomic Planet Entertainment
Released – October 8th 2004
Price : £39.99When you visit your local game store and begin to browse the shelves, in the hope that you might find something that catches your eye, it’s a fair bet that you probably don’t give some titles a second look because of their packaging or because you think the game is aimed at another age group. Recently we got to play a demo of Jackie Chan Adventures and whilst you may think this is a game for children (which is natural as the game is based on the cartoon of the same name) it’s actually a solid action adventure that will appeal to most gamers.
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Starring as Jackie Chan, who’s an expert on ancient artifacts as well as a secret agent for the government’s secret Section 13 in the cartoon and the game, you’ll begin the game heading for Mexico to search for valuable talimans. Throughout the game you’ll be traversing the globe with your niece in search of other talimans that are said to have the power to protect the planet from ancient Chinese demons. You’re not the only one in search of these talismans though. An evil group of Ninjas known collectively as the Dark Hand want these talismans for the evil demon Shendu. As you might expect though Jackie can make use of his Kung Fu to defeat these ninjas. Each of these talismans gives its owner a special power. Early in the game Jackie finds a talisman that gives him extreme running speed. Using a talismans power though will deplete your Chi so you have to be careful when and where you use these abilities.
As you can see from the screenshots on the right Atomic Planet went for a cel-shaded look with Jackie Chan Adventures and for the most part it works well and helps create the illusion that you’re involved in a cartoon adventure. Holding down the R2 button will allow you to enter a first person mode which is useful for having a good look around. The camera is controlled with the right analogue stick and for the most part the camera causes very few problems. Cel-shaded games have been really popular over the last few years but not all of the games that have used cel-shading have made an appropriate use of it. Jackie Chan Adventures however is definitely suited to this graphical style.
From what we’ve seen of Jackie Chan Adventures it’s deaf gamer friendly, although there are ways it could be better. Subtitles can be enabled so you’ll be able to enjoy the game’s story. Tutorial hints also appear in text so you’ll have no problem in learning what to do in a game. An exclamation icon appears over items that can be used or moved etc. Your health and Chi levels are shown via gauges which is always helpful. What we did notice though was that some key sounds are not captioned and whilst this doesn’t cause any major problems it is unfortunate. There was one puzzle where you have to step on a button and platforms rise from the ground. A ticking sound can be heard to signify that you have a limited amount of time to cross over these platforms but there is no visual clue to signify how much time you have left or that your time is limited.
Obviously without having played the full game it’s difficult to say how the game is overall but from what we’ve played it’s going to be one fans of the Jackie Chan Adventures should really appreciate. More importantly though it looks like the game might appeal to those who like a good action adventure. As we’ve already said the combat is fairly simplistic but the exploration and puzzle elements that are here should make it far more than a button basher. There is even a variety of EyeToy games that can be unlocked which will be a most welcome addition for those of you who own an EyeToy camera. This could well be one of the big surprises of 2004 and we’re actually looking forward to playing the game. Expect a review sometime in October.