King of Kings: The Early Years


Review by Joe Santulli

Wisdom Tree


Graphics: 6

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 4

Overall: 5

As many of you who have been with us over the years know, I am a Catholic-school product. Even more shocking perhaps, when I graduated 8th grade I was given "The Religion Award". One of these goes to a boy and one to a girl in each graduating class. The girl that got that award went on to become a nun. I strayed slightly from that path, spending the better part of my later years carousing, drinking, and playing video games while carousing and drinking. And yet, I still remember my roots.

The Wisdom Tree games each preach a specific area of the bible. In the case of "King of Kings: The Early Years", it is the new testament and focuses on the life of Christ from days before his birth until about his twelfth birthday. This is laid out in three stages: "The Wise Men", where said protaganists gather frankensence, gold and myrrh on their way to the Nativity; "Flight to Egypt" where Joseph and Mary flee Herod's Egypt with the baby Jesus; and "Jesus and the Temple" Where Joseph and Mary search for a missing young Jesus among various areas of Jerusalem. You can choose any of these three games from the outset which is a nice feature.

It's pretty easy to laugh at how these classic stories are turned into videogames, but I wouldn't do that because it might jeopardize my ticket to heaven (aka "the religion award"). Sure, you could make cracks about the odd "ice levels" that appear in the Egyptian desert or the athletic camels jockeyed by the three wise men or even the strange monsters that seem oddly out of place in the town of Jerusalem. You *could* but of course that would be wrong. No one wants to go to hell.

The games are just different enough to make them worth playing, assuming you want to work your way to the smashing finale where you're referred to the end of the instruction manual. In each of these games, you're presented with trivia that will gain you some health. Also, they're all platformers, but with a twist. The wise men levels require you to make tricky jumps with your camel who can leap double his height and stop on a dime. The flight levels play out something like the rolling rock levels of Jungle Hunt, as your path is constantly presenting new challenges that you must pass. The temple levels are loaded with little pitfalls that Joseph or Mary must jump and these levels are less linear than the other games.

Graphics and gameplay are fair, both in appearance and treatment to player. Your opinion of the sound is almost completely dependent on how tolerant you are of those endless loops of music. The music is pretty good, but after twelve levels of jumping wise men across deadly lava flows and spiked pits you're probably not going to want to hear "We Three Kings" ever again. Overall, the game is entertaining and I'd daresay more so to sarcastic bad Catholics than to the churchgoing sect.


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Last updated: Sunday, February 27, 2005 11:53 AM