Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Review
Xbox 360 | Wii
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian box art
System: X360, Wii, 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

Parents will be happy to hear there’s very little fighting in the game. In fact, Larry doesn’t directly attack any of his adversaries; he works around that by using a handful of tools and special abilities to interact with and manipulate the environment to his best advantage. His main gizmo, keys on a retractable chain, can be used to grab and pull objects to him, swing across chasms, form a spinning circle of defense, or climb up onto higher objects. Another key item, a large flashlight, is used to direct magical powers you’ll pick up throughout the game.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian screenshot

Much of the adventure hinges on hunting down missing pieces of the Egyptian tablet. Picking up each piece of the tablet gives you a new power, which is where the game mechanics prove to be surprisingly inventive and fun. Tablet pieces let you interact and repair mechanical or broken objects, commune with animals to entice them to help you out, locate invisible treasures, jump through paintings, and more.

There’s more to Battle of the Smithsonian than merely exploring museums and searching for items. In addition to solving various puzzles, you’ll have the opportunity to fly a plane through tight corridors, ride a T-Rex skeleton to battle thugs, control a diminutive Roman soldier as he climbs through a snack-filled vending machine, and pilot a lunar module to dodge cannon fire. Not all of it is that enjoyable. It’s the game’s intermittent platforming elements that turn out to be the weakest link. In one instance, you’ll run and jump along the wings of antique planes attached via cables to the ceiling of a giant warehouse. This is where the controls start to feel imprecise and twitchy, causing you to fall frequently. Other platforming moments offer similar frustrations. The game isn’t overly difficult, and you’ll be able to persevere with persistence, but the final stretches may prove to be more challenging than expected for young players.

Advertisement

The biggest gripe about Battle of the Smithsonian – aside from the fact it’s simply a straightforward marketing tie-in to help rake in extra cash alongside the film – is that it just doesn’t offer much length or substance for the $40 you’re being asked to spend on it. The main adventure is really short – likely to account for the perception of kids having minute attention spans. Even if you spend the extra time to seek out all the bonus items to collect, we’re talking about a total runthrough of a few hours at best. Otherwise, the presentation is amusing and appropriate for kids, and the light difficulty and simple-to-grasp gameplay concepts are fitting. A little more length and depth, and this one might almost be worth a recommendation.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.9
Graphics
Shining moments pop-up in cutscenes. The rest is visually decent on the whole.
3.6
Control
Most of the time things work well, though platforming sections stink and it can be tough switching between magic abilities on the fly.
3.4
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Kids will enjoy the corny jokes and goofy voice work, but the rest of you will cringe.
2.3
Play Value
Horrendously short. Little to no replay value.
2.4
Overall Rating - Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Extend the movie experience! Play as Larry Daley, inventor/bumbling night guard at the Museum of Natural History, where the exhibits come alive at night! 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.
  • Take control of out of this world vehicles—pilot the Lunar Lander, Autogyro, and Rexy.
  • Use your trusty key chain and flashlight to solve puzzles and make your way through the museums.
  • Collect all of the pieces of the magic tablet of Ahkmenrah to unlock new levels, solve puzzles, and more.
  • Collect a huge variety of pick-ups to unlock features, mini-games, and bonus content.


  • 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

    X
    "Like" CheatCC on Facebook