Charlie and the Chocolate Factory PlayStation 2
Published by Global Star Software
Developed by High Voltage
Release Date: Out Now
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, an introduction.
The summer of 2005 isn't the most memorable when it comes to movie releases. At first glance one of the more notable releases is the remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. With Roald Dahl apparently disliking the earlier movie that starred Gene Wilder, a remake that remained true to the original book was in order and naturally with this being the 21st century, a game of the film is almost inevitable and that's exactly what we have here.
What's the game about?
I suspect most of you already know the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Essentially it's the story of Charlie Bucket, an impoverished young boy who lives with his mother, father and both sets of grand parents. After finding some money he purchases a Wonka Chocolate bar to find that in the wrapper there's a Wonka Golden Ticket inside. This ticket allows him and a guardian (along with four other children and their guardians) to a tour of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. The factory is anything but normal though with the rather peculiar Oompa-Loompas being used as a workforce. On the whole it's a great book and fans of the book will have been expecting great things of both the new movie and this game. Naturally you'd expect the game to follow the plot of the movie (and the book of course). Whilst I haven't seen the movie yet, I seriously doubt that the game follows it. The reason I say this is because, for the most part, you're just getting the other children out of the mess that they put themselves in (assisted by the Oompa-Loompas).
What's good about the game?
I'd be justified in leaving this section blank as there isn't a great deal to say in favour of the Charlie and the Chocolate factory game. Perhaps the best thing you can say for the game is that it isn’t that long. However, this isn't something that should be mentioned as a positive. Little in the game has been done well and those looking for a game that plays out the story in a fairly accurate manner will be disappointed.
What's not so good about the game?
What should have been a game that was full of creativity turns out to be repetitive and mundane. The objectives you have to perform require the same things to be done again and again and the game becomes an annoyance very quickly. The whole thing is just so uninspiring and feels like it has little to do with the movie (or the book for that matter). It's not ideal for deaf gamers (more on that in a moment) either which makes it even more difficult to recommend. The controls feel sluggish at times which makes actions such as jumping feel a lot heavier than they should. Camera angles can be a pain too. Of course the technical problems with the game might have been more forgivable had the game remained true to the story and not had you acting as an Oompa-Loompa organiser for most of the time.
How does it look?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory looks OK but there's nothing of note in the game's visuals. The frame rate is a bit on the low side and a little inconsistent at times. The camera is also a handful at times and it becomes cumbersome having to baby-sit it with the right analogue stick. The animations in the game are generally OK but there are some problems. When you're trying to free Augustus Gloop in chapter 2 you have to pick up entangled robots and hurl them into vents. This is fairly simple (aside from the unresponsive controls) but what makes it slightly irritating is the animation cycles that are performed when you pick up the entangled robots. You can't get too close to the vents because the thorns that are on the ground around the vents prevent you from getting too close. However you need to stand as close as you can to be in with a chance of your throw reaching the vent. The problem is that after picking up an entangled robot Charlie will take a few steps forward which takes him onto the vines and causes him to fall over, dropping the robot in the process.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
With a game of this nature it's imperative that the story is subtitled to allow deaf gamers to get the full flavour of the game. Sadly the cutscenes that deliver the story are not subtitled which means they are a complete waste of time for deaf gamers. Tutorial messages and instructions from Willy Wonka are shown in text (as are the hints from Grandpa Joe) but it's not always made crystal clear what needs to be done. Whilst the game isn't impossible for deaf gamers, it's disappointing that you will miss out on the story that ties all the missions together.
Whilst it's probably unlikely many gamers would have expected Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to be game of the year, most would have expected the game to be fairly enjoyable. Sadly though it would be overdoing it to simply say the game is average. The lack of subtitles, the poor camera, the unresponsive controls and the poor frame rate wouldn't be so bad if the game had real quality. Unfortunately though it all seems rather poor and in many ways uninteresting. I hate to seem overly critical about a game but there are so many ways the game could have been better. Above all the missions could have been more interesting and not revolved around getting the dislikeable characters out of trouble all the while and of course the whole thing could have been subtitled.
Overall Game Rating: 4.0/10
Deaf Gamers Classification
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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a major disappointment. As well as having unsubtitled cutscenes (which means you'll miss out on the story), there's too many problems to justify a purchase for all but the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory enthusiasts. The main problem though, is that you don't get to play through the story which should really be the whole point of the game.