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Madagascar - NDS - Preview

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Posted by: jkdmedia

A time of personal crisis leads to a daring escape and wild adventure for four friends in the pending Activision game Madagascar. The game, which will release in May to coincide with the box office release of the DreamWorks’ feature film, will be available on the PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, Nintendo DS, GameCube, and Game Boy systems.

This is a game definitely targeted for the younger crowd, but it will also carry the new ESRB rating of E10+.

The game begins with the zebra Marty, who is going through a bit of a life crisis. He doesn’t know whether he is a black zebra with white stripes, or a white zebra with black stripes. This dilemma leads him to break free and escape from the Central Park Zoo in New York. His three friends, a lion, giraffe and hippo, all go in search of him. They do find him, but the four are captured and, along with others, are put in crates and sent back toward Africa.

At least that is the idea. The penguins onboard the vessel have no intention of going to Africa, and attempt to hijack the ship to take it to the South Pole. During the insurgence, the crates containing the four friends are knocked overboard and wash up on the shore of Madagascar.

The game is a three-dimensional romp that actually uses the opening from the movie as a cutscene for the game.

“We worked closely with the original writer who helped us Madagascar-ize our game,” said Nicole Willick.

While the movie features the voices of Chris Rock as Marty (the zebra), Ben Stiller as the lion, Jada Pinkett-Smith as the hippo and David Schwimmer as the giraffe, the game uses voice-alikes.

There are a number of objects to collect, which can translate into items purchased at the Zoovenir shop. Most of the items are incidental to the gameplay and meant to be fun.

The game has three mini-games, which can be played in a multiplayer mode (they are lemur rave, tiki golf and shuffleboard) as well as 11 movie-based chapters. Some of the scenarios have been elongated from the movie counterpart (such as the penguin rebellion aboard the ship) for the sake of gameplay. Each of the levels has objectives and younger players may find a few Easter eggs scattered throughout the game.

The game does use a nice job with lighting and shadows, and the general gameplay looks to be geared for the target audience.

This first look at the game, at an Activision event in Santa Monica for a couple of PSP titles, did not reveal any game elements that would raise the bar for the genre. Rather the game looked like a typical arcade-style adventure, albeit with very nice graphical elements that will mirror the movie.

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