|System: PC, DS, X360, PS3, Wii, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Activision||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 30, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is the third movie in the Ice Age franchise. While reviews have not exactly been generous for the movie, it can be assumed that families that enjoy the series at-large will probably show up to watch it anyway, and they will probably get a few laughs out of it as well. The same is true for the game. Though it isnt likely to wow anyone who plays it, the game based on this popular movie franchise is a perfectly adept platforming experience that will surely delight fans who enjoyed the movie.
The game opens with Diego and Sid telling a mystery character a story about their most recent adventures. Of course, they both crack some jokes, but as they get into the story, youll be launched into the gameplay through flashbacks. Each level allows you to play as a different member of the Ice Age cast, including Sid, Manny, Diego, and new friend Buck. Each of these characters has their own special skills, resulting in several specialized levels tailored around each character.
For instance, the character Diego, who is a saber-toothed tiger, is very adept at running, so levels featuring him involve high-speed chases. However, Sid the Sloths levels focus more on exploring and platforming, and Mannys levels feature top-down objective-based gameplay. The result is a nicely varied experience that is sure to entertain players of all ages.
However, even though each level has a character-specific format, there are also collection quests that are consistent through all the different levels, and they can be completed no matter who you are playing as. There are two types of items that you can find: fruit and crystals. The fruit in the game acts as currency, and as you gather more fruit, you will be able to purchase health and weapons upgrades as well as unlock multiplayer modes. The crystals, on the other hand, can be gathered to unlock more technical features like background music and vocal tracks.
Control in the game is very easy, as it should be, considering this is a kid-targeted game. You can run around the various levels using the left stick, and use the face buttons to jump and attack. Many levels also involve interacting with items, and youll be prompted to press a certain button in order to light a fire or pick up a stick. In addition to these basic mechanics, the game also has a weapons aiming system that uses the right bumper to initiate first-person mode and the attack button to fire. The controls here arent especially complex, and they are definitely simple enough for even the youngest of players to be able to use.
The only thing that I really found complaint-worthy about the game was how much it stuck to the animated movie-game formula. If youve played the games based on Monsters vs. Aliens or Up, then this should feel very familiar. Im all for sticking with what works, but I felt like there was a lot more that could have been done with the Ice Age franchise than just business-as-usual platforming.