The Golden Compass Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | Wii | PS2 | DS
The Golden Compass box art
System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: A2M 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Sega 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Dec. 4, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

As you continue on your journey, the game gets progressively harder. You will soon have to take on the role of Lyra, who you play as for the majority of the game. Lyra has controls similar to Iorek, though she does not have any attack maneuvers. She simply jumps and cracks her whip. At one point, you will use Iorek to launch her up to the mast of a wrecked ship. You then begin playing as Lyra as she walks across the wobbly beams. With her daemon companion Pan on her back, who has taken the form of an ermine, you work together to hop ledges and navigate your way through the platform level.

The Golden Compass screenshot

In his ermine form, Pan has an omniscient power that will help you on your journey. Using his insight ability helps you see any upcoming danger and will help you solve puzzles. When Pan takes the form of a Sloth, he will help you swing through large gaps. As a hawk, he can help you glide across pits and down from high places, and as a wildcat, Pan can help you dash as well as climb steep areas. The ability to use Lyra, Iorek and Pan throughout The Golden Compass is a nice touch and adds depth to the game's controls without being too difficult for children to grasp.

Lyra gains health similarly to Iorek by picking Courage Orbs to earn Courage Points. Because Lyra doesn't fight, points are lost if she is hit by a hazard or loses certain challenges. If you lose all of your Courage Points, you will have to restart from your last checkpoint, so you'll want to make sure you don't rush and pass any without collecting them.


One of the major reasons The Golden Compass seems rushed is the poor sound effects. At one point in the game, while playing as Iorek, you must defeat a hunter with magical powers who summons attacking wolves and shamans. The sounds of you hitting your enemies, your footsteps, and the hunter's magical sound effects all clash together and often don't match up with on-screen activity. There is just too much going on at once. And while mindlessly hitting attack buttons can win battles, younger children who may not be ready for more complex controls will have fun reliving the movie in this game version. The good thing is children most likely aren't going to analyze every aspect the way we game journalists do.

As a children's game, The Golden Compass offers hours of fun with controls that aren't too complex, yet tasks that are challenging. With its 10+ rating, the game does offer some educational value and enough fun to keep kids interested.

By Pete Richards
CCC Freelance Writer


  • The official videogame of The Golden Compass movie from New Line Cinema brings to life characters, locations, and scenes sure to captivate movie fans around the world as well as delivering film footage to guide you through the journey.
  • Travel into the frozen north as the rebellious and headstrong heroine Lyra who uses her cunning to evade enemies. Or charge forward as her powerful friend and protector Iorek - a giant armored bear able to overcome any challenge with his brute strength.
  • Immerse yourself in the world of The Golden Compass movie and discover 11 otherworldly vistas, including locations not seen in the theatrical release.
  • Participate in a variety of embedded mini-games to help Lyra gain further information about her expedition and avoid enemy confrontation.
  • The DS version promises unique and different gameplay mechanics as well as versus multiplayer mode.

    Basic graphics meet expectations, but don't go above and beyond.
    Basic controls may suit young children, though button-mashing applies.
    Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    Sound effects often clash and just don't sound realistic.

    Play Value
    Will suit children who love the film, but may not interest anyone else.

    Overall Rating - Fair
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
  • Screenshots / Images
    The Golden Compass screenshot - click to enlarge The Golden Compass screenshot - click to enlarge The Golden Compass screenshot - click to enlarge The Golden Compass screenshot - click to enlarge The Golden Compass screenshot - click to enlarge The Golden Compass screenshot - click to enlarge The Golden Compass screenshot - click to enlarge The Golden Compass screenshot - click to enlarge

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