The Adventures of Tintin: The Game • Page 2

Prisoners of the fun.

Enemies flatten themselves against banisters in a spindly Thompson Twin-esque tangles of limbs, the punching animation is right out of the books - one arm back at a right angle, the fist of the other one pointed straight up - and the way that Allan's body shakes as he fires his machine-gun is so perfect you can almost see the "rat-a-tat-a-tat" emblazoned across the screen in neat little writing.

Even better, Tintin actually looks pretty good. In the forthcoming movie, from what I can tell, he is a grubby and dead-eyed homunculus. He's horror in a sweater, and he wears his skin like someone who has just put it on in a basement, perhaps as a prelude to a night spent licking tombstones and sneezing on the bible. In Ubisoft's game, however, you get to focus on the entire figure rather than just the face, and the whole thing works a little more convincingly.

The developer's promising a campaign of over ten hours, with plenty of different locations and familiar faces along the way. On top of that, there's also a co-op campaign that is, brilliantly, set within one of Captain Haddock's dreams. It uses the same mechanics as the main game - you're still exploring complex 2D environments, beating one screen at a time, and making it to the exit - but there are a couple of smart differences.

The first is that the environment is now filled with surreal touches - ship railings that lead past floating fireplaces, doors that hang in the air like something out of Magritte - and the second is that you can team up with Haddock himself.

Both characters have their own special skills: Tintin has a grappling hook, and Haddock has super strength - the super strength, I like to think, of alcoholism - and as these skills converge, the levels become far trickier to navigate. There are traps within traps, puzzles that have to be untangled from both ends, and the obligatory moments where you're transformed into Snowy and get to sniff out treasure. Good old Snowy, eh?

Little vignettes like this, along with the levels' stylish forced perspectives and quick animations, suggest that Tintin might ultimately be more suited to a game than a film anyway - even if the film in question is directed by Steven Spielberg and co-written by Joe Cornish. Ubisoft may not have gotten the font right, then - and I'm genuinely ashamed that that should irritate me as much as it does - but it's handling a lot of far more important elements with real style. This is shaping up to be that rarest of tie-ins: the one that truly shows an understanding and appreciation of its subject matter.

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About the author

Christian Donlan

Christian Donlan

Features Editor

Christian Donlan is a features editor for Eurogamer. He is the author of The Unmapped Mind, published as The Inward Empire in the US.

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