Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Review
Xbox 360 | Wii
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian box art
System: Wii, X360, PC, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Pipeworks Software 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Majesco Entertainment 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: May 5, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

As far as actually playing BOTS goes, it definitely has its share of ups and downs. Instead of following the typical formula found in most movie tie-in games that has players attacking their way through endless waves of goons en route to the game’s finale, BOTS actually has no direct player combat whatsoever.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian screenshot

Players will instead use a mixture of their keychain for shielding themselves and grappling numerous ledges and their flashlight for basically everything else. Each ingot the player retrieves returns one power to the flashlight, which range anywhere from repairing various items to being able to control animals. Properly utilizing these powers allows players to solve a multitude of puzzles throughout the game, which in turn allows them to progress through the story. Some highlights of these include making a rhinoceros smash through any locked gates standing in your way as well as animating several antagonistic paintings in order to help defeat a boss.

Unfortunately, the rest of the gameplay found in BOTS isn’t as pleasant. Players will be required to do a healthy amount of platforming while in the Smithsonian. The issues here are that perspective adjustment is often necessary due to a lazy camera, and jumping as Larry is frequently difficult to judge and even feels unmanageable at times. One part of the game in particular that perfectly embodies these flaws has Larry jumping from airplane wing to airplane wing high above the museum floor. Players will need to constantly fight with the D-pad to get a useable camera angle for their next jump as they also use their flashlight to repair the next airplane to get it moving, all while trying to judge just how far away the next wing is, since it is next to impossible to make Larry provide anything less than a full leap. Retrying this same scenario, and others similar to it, multiple times due to the game’s unwieldy platforming can quickly become frustrating to say the least.

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Least is also a regrettably accurate way to describe BOTS’s gameplay value as well. Besides the meager two hour (at best) campaign, there really isn’t much else to do here. You can always find all of the collectibles scattered throughout the game but most will be easily discovered during your first play through. There are three mini-games to unlock and play through, but they aren’t all that entertaining and are simply puzzles taken directly from the campaign. When it comes down to it, BOTS is just an anemic offering when compared to most movie tie-in games and feels downright criminal when you factor in how much it would cost to just watch the actual film it is based on that runs about the same length. If you have to choose between the two, movie tickets would definitely seem like a much better value.

By Adam Brown
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
2.2
Graphics
The environments don’t look horrible, but is Larry seriously supposed to look like Ben Stiller? I hope not.
2.3
Control
Making use of your flashlight and keychain is mostly pain-free, but constantly fighting with the camera and missing jumps gets old quickly.
2.6
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
At least Larry sounds like Ben Stiller even if his delivery doesn’t do the dialogue any favors.
1.8

Play Value
You’ll breeze through this game in about two hours and have nothing left but three mini-games pulled directly from the story and perhaps a few collectibles to find. A real travesty when you consider that watching the film takes just about as long but is much cheaper.

2.1
Overall Rating - Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Ben Stiller's voice and likeness are included in the game for an authentic experience.
  • Meet and interact with the cast of wacky museum exhibits including historical figures like Amelia Earhart and Teddy Roosevelt along with dinosaurs and polar bears.
  • Battle history's greatest villains, from Al Capone to Napoleon to Ivan the Terrible.
  • Adventure through 14 levels within The Smithsonian, from the Federal Archives to the Air and Space Museum, the Lincoln Memorial, and many more.
  • Collect all of the pieces of the Magic Tablet of Ahkmenrah to unlock new levels, solve puzzles, and more.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian screenshot - click to enlarge Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian screenshot - click to enlarge Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian screenshot - click to enlarge Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian screenshot - click to enlarge Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian screenshot - click to enlarge Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian screenshot - click to enlarge Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian screenshot - click to enlarge Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian screenshot - click to enlarge Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian screenshot - click to enlarge Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian screenshot - click to enlarge Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian screenshot - click to enlarge Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian screenshot - click to enlarge

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