Madagascar PS2 Review

The animals we’ve all seen in the Zoos are probably yearning to be out of those claustrophobic cages and into the wild. Madagascar chronicles the story of such a lion, giraffe, hippo and zebra, as they escape past the confines of those nasty big surrounding gates and soon find themselves on the titular island of Madagascar. It’s based on the computer-animated movie of the same name, and suitably for such a licensed cartoon movie brand, it’s another hyper jump platform adventure.

The confines of the Zoo is exactly where the story kicks off, and it soon hits home that the game doesn’t even offer a stint of a groundbreaking surprise. Madagascar is instead a traditional platformer, which does what it does very well, it may be uninspiring stuff, but hey, whoever said that such games were rubbish because of a lack of imagination, really expect unreasonable things from an industry that is just about fresh out of ideas.

What the game does well is provide the player with plenty of variety, something that is seemingly a necessity for such a game in this age. It’s still predominantly about the jumping, but you haven’t seen it all in the first couple of minutes, which is always a bonus for any game, in any genre. There’s racing, Frogger like road crossing portions, stealth elements, team penguin antics, animal tagging, jumping contests and so on. We completed the game in just over five and a half hours; it may be a pretty paltry length, but we still felt like we mostly had our fill due to the multiplicity of things to do, although this is all an illusion of course.

The characters are as equally diverse as the game itself. Alex the lion has the attributes of the big cat, which means he can roar and later use his sharp claws for attack purposes; he also is the character that possesses the obligatory double jump. Marty the zebra uses his back hooves as weapons, soon possesses a duck move and can jump great distances from a certain point in the game. Gloria the hippo is able to charge fast and butt stomp. whilst Melman the giraffe can use his head as a mallet-like battering weapon, and if you’ve never seen such a giraffe wildly spin its legs like a helicopter rotor blade then be prepared to be in for a jolly good laugh. Penguins also appear for a single level, as you take control of one of these waddling birds and then scout ahead before calling the others to your side.

Some interesting extras can be purchased in the games “Zooveneir” (you get the joke, right?) store with money found during journeying. these extras range from character apparel and helpful items to mini-games. At least the mini-games give the games lifespan a little boost, for a title that would otherwise have had virtually no immediate replay value to speak of upon hitting 100%. There’s a Mini Golf, Lemur dancing and Shuffleboard game, but none are substitutes for a longer and meatier main course of adventuring.

Madagascar is a grand platform title, which both young fans of the movie as well as the platform hardcore are sure to embrace. It’s just a shame that the games biggest drawback, is a rather serious one in the lifespan department, meaning the smallest of kids and the most inept of gamers will see the credits all too soon (to be fair, it is longer than the movie!). The attempted alleviation with the coin hunting and mini-games is admirable though, even though it isn’t entirely successful. With all this said, the game is good clean fun with a lot of stuff packed in, but better experienced with a rental over purchase perhaps.