Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 6

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 4

Overall: 4


There's nothing wrong with mindless video games. They're a way to let off some stress, relax, and still be entertained in the process. However, there's that fine line where mindless and entertainment meet. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow doesn't quite make it to that line.

pirateslegend1ps2.jpg (154579 bytes)There are countless core problems with this licensed title, taking players through the first film in Jack's own terms. It's standard beat-em-up fare as pirates and other types of people who disagree with Jack's various adventures stand around waiting to be hacked up. The majority of the game, Sparrow is accompanied by Will Turner. Only Johnny Depp provides his voice talents for the movie (and at times it doesn't sound like him either). The rest of the actors are played by close voice matches who come off like they were in different parts of the world during the recording sessions.

Fighting side by side through various locales, Pirates has trouble with combat. It's a multitude of issues, beginning with basic combos that lack impact or force. Sparrow's wild flailing it actually detrimental to the gameplay, making it harder to line up shots. If it weren't for the small spark that occurs, there would be little way to tell a blow had landed.

Most of the game forces the player to bash on the X button. That's all there is here. Technique is a lost art here, and even after powering up each of the characters with new moves, there's no incentive to use them. Leveling up is also an oddity, done so with gold found in various places around the stages. That in and of itself is fine, but both characters get the same funds. In other words, if Jack has 10 gold pieces, so does Will even if he wasn't near the gold to begin with.

A few segments of the game allow for new characters to take part in the fray. Elizabeth Swann shares the same style of flailing around manically until she hits someone. Brief mini-game excursions are simple "press this button at the right moment" types of challenges. Actually, it's almost impossible to screw these up, so challenge isn't the proper word.

pirateslegend2ps2.jpg (130342 bytes)The somewhat interesting mechanic of always controlling two characters (swapped by pressing down on the d-pad) could have led to some innovative puzzles. Instead, the AI controlled character rarely does anything other than get in the way or slowly dwindle away their own health bar by standing still and taking blows. Even after telling them to be aggressive, they take far too many hits to be effective.

It's not even possible to assign them an action. For example, an early and rather weak segment has player shooting cannon balls at incoming boats. Unless you're playing with a friend, the AI character will stand there looking at you instead of grabbing the other cannon and firing away. It's impossibly frustrating until you realize you can miss over half the boats (if not more) and still progress.

Even beyond the simplistic and rather stupid challenges, Pirates captures nothing of what makes these films enjoyable. Jack Sparrow's wit is kept to a minimum, the action is bland, and the animation is oddly choppy (especially when opening treasure chests). Sword fighting can make for a great video game. Unfortunately, the dull hacking and some weak slashing in this adaptation fails to excite gaming or movie fans.


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Last updated: Tuesday, July 18, 2006 12:55 PM