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Vivendi Games
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GENRE: Action
September 10, 2002
The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian

 Written by Tim McGrew  on October 01, 2002

Full Review: Is it worth your hard earned pocket money or your pocket lint instead?

Less than a year ago, fans of the Mummy were treated to a prequel of sorts starring one of the villains of The Mummy Returns, Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. the Rock, as the Scorpion King. Now, just a couple of weeks before the release of both the home video and DVD of the film, fans of the Rock can now play a title based on the license of the Scorpion King and the films hero, Mathayus. However, like most movies that eventually become gaming licenses, the Scorpion King suffers from quite a few problems that plague the game like Locusts in a corn field.

Although the game itself is a bit light in the plot and is filled with clich?s that have been milked for all their worth since the 1980's, the game is also quite light in the game play department as well. The game itself, especially for seasoned action game players, is a joke. It's not a joke that the Rock tells to make you laugh, or some type of dirty limerick capitalized on by one of the other cast members, it's a joke because it's about as easy as games come.

The combo system, which is basically the meat and potatoes of the game, is incredibly simplistic and involves quite a few different moves that get broken down into the same button sequences over and over again. It's particularly annoying when you repeat the motion 7 or 8 times in a row to take care of the same type of enemy solely to get to the next area where even more of the same enemy await you. here's no break in these hordes of enemies as most of them try to destroy you in groups that amass in droves. After about thirty minutes you'll be breezing your way through the levels barely being touched by a single guard.

Although you'd think that the weapons you can acquire would add a bit of depth to the game play, they are actually mere aesthetic additions to the original formula and add little to nothing to your character. Fists, swords, shields, the weapons all act in the same with no one weapon being stronger than another. Although we're used to games similar to this such as Final Fight or Target Renegade, the weapons in those games actually assisted you in dispatching enemies faster whereas in Scorpion King, there truly is no point to them after you increase the strength of your abilities.

Speaking of abilities, the game does feature a sort of level up system that appears to be derived from an RPG engine and allows you to increase your speed, strength, weapons, and agility. Unfortunately, leveling up your character and weapons proves pointless because the game still feels the same in practice. A stronger Mathayus does not make it any easier or any more difficult, which nullifies this promising feature altogether.

However, the game is filled with a ton of extra features acquired by collecting gems throughout the levels. The features themselves probably could have taken a disk on their own altogether, but thankfully, the games short length and poor style leaves plenty of room for all of these extras, which range from decent to very entertaining. Although they're not reason enough to actually buy this game, they are fun to watch after completing the title in a day.

If there is anything about graphics that annoys me this generation, it has to be glitches. I can't stress enough on how important it is for a title to be so immersive that it should be devoid of as many graphical glitches as possible. Problems are very hard to ignore when your character walks straight through a tree or an enemy. Enemies turn around miraculously once you attack them without any animation and Mathayus himself moves like a drugged up robot devoid of any weight in his punches or kicks. Instead of wielding this nearly three-hundred pound force, it feels like you're just moving a smattering of poorly textured polygons through a sea of bland environments. Although the framerate isn't too bad for a majority of the levels and the environments draw inspiration from the film, that doesn't stop the game from being an overly mediocre show piece, devoid of any true graphical creativity or luster.

Luckily, this graphical flop doesn't stop the sound from actually being decent. What's neat about this title is the amount of voice talent present including Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), and Billy West (Futurama). The voice work is actually quite good and pleasing when you do hear dialogue, but the music itself is a different story. While a lot of the tunes aren't bad, the music starts to repeat itself again and again with little to no variety. In fact, the sound effects themselves are just a number of different bang and thuds cycling over and over annoying the player more so than actually drawing them into the game. Still, the game does have the ?I Stand Alone? theme song by Godsmack, which is still a decent song.

Bottom Line
Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian is just a victim of another stale and hurried licensed game. With time constraints and the need for the game to put itself behind its star attraction, the Rock, it comes up short in a number of different ways. For most people craving a new action game, this isn't even worth a rental.

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