The Adventures of Tintin is a Master Class in Failure «

Adventures of Tintin: The Game is meant for kids; just make sure those kids are rabble-rousing hellspawn who deserve to be punished in cruel and unusual ways. Of course, this was to be expected — no release of a high-profile adventure film is complete without a quick cash-grab of a video game. This turns out to be one of the few situations where Tintin completely delivers on exactly what you expected. The main story mode claims to follow the plot of the film, but the cut-scenes are so incomprehensible that it fails to spoil the plot whatsoever. From what I could piece together, you play as the titular journalist and his nautical comrade Captain Haddock. You spend time journeying through exotic locals and engaging in hijinks fit for a Eurasian buddy comedy. Think of it as a childish Indiana Jones with slightly fewer Nazis.

The game puts players through a handful of scenarios that repeat themselves over the course of the longest two and a half hours you’ll ever spend. Discovering each of the five game types feels akin to Dante Alighieri experiencing new circles of suffering. The opening chapter gets billed as an “adventure” segment where you wander down the static corridors of a bazaar until the game seems to arbitrarily cut to a cinematic that signals your completion. The game’s loose definition of the word “adventure” becomes indicative of the other surprises it has in store for the player throughout the duration.

Click the image above to check out all The Adventures of Tintin: The Game screens.

 

The levels where you’re placed behind the wings of a Beechcraft unfold with a spectacular lack of sophistication. Poor collision detection and zero sense of speed make these brief sections feel like the game is actively punishing you for playing it. If Star Wars: Rogue Squadron could pull off fun and responsive aerial combat in 1998, it’s hard to comprehend how Tintin could possibly fail to vault over that bar some 13 years later. The game also features a handful of motorcycle sequences that excel as a “hold the gas button until you reach your destination” simulator. While these vehicular challenges are pandering in their simplicity, they’re never outright insulting. Lucky for you, the developers pepper the game with a sword fighting minigame that manages to offend the player in ways I never knew possible. The complete lack of cinematic blocking, combined with how you and your enemies look pretty similar in these segments, ultimately left me continually confused as to which character I was in control of. Well, maybe control isn’t the right word — the complete lack of onscreen response to your controller inputs forced me to complete these challenges by sporadically jamming on the analog sticks without the slightest hint of finesse.

The game shows a brief glimmer of promise when it shifts to a 2D perspective and tasks you with navigating a series of puzzle chambers. These levels resemble a stripped down version of Kemco’s The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle for the NES. You have to clear a room of its enemies using secret passages, a variety of weapons, and destructible landscapes. Popping in and out of vents while performing sneak attacks on unsuspecting guards lend some rare moments of fun in an otherwise woeful landscape. Of course, any enjoyment received from these moments gets quickly marred by another trip to swashbuckling purgatory. The rest of package is fleshed out with a Challenge Mode that seems to exist for the sole purpose of filling up some space on the disc, and a cooperative mode that allows you to slosh through the experience alongside an equally masochistic friend.

I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this game to anyone. Even the most avid Hergé aficionados — assuming they exist within the U.S. — would be hard-pressed to squeeze any palpable enjoyment out of The Adventures of Tintin. I understand that the game is meant for a younger audience, but there are quite literally hundreds of other titles out there that provide a far more enjoyable experience. I have no ethical qualms with this game’s existence, but the fact that Ubisoft charges money for it comes dangerously close to breaking a handful of agreements in the Geneva Conventions.

 

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