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The War of the Worlds Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . The War of the Worlds may not tell the most original story of the year, but it's a stylish action game full of exciting moments you won't soon forget. Sadly there are a few control issues and frustrating puzzles that hurt the overall pacing. However, even with these minor complaints, The War of the Worlds is a great adventure that is well worth your ten dollars! Rating: 78%
The War of the Worlds
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The War of the Worlds The War of the Worlds The War of the Worlds The War of the Worlds
  • Review Score:

  • B+
Given the ripe subject matter and iconic name, I would have expected somebody to attempt a War of the Worlds video game long before now. Outside of a 27 year old Sinclair ZX81computer game, we haven't seen any developers attempt to do justice to this internationally famous science fiction book. That is until now. Thanks to Other Ocean Interactive, H.G. Wells' influential masterpiece has been brought to the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network.

In case you missed the 1898 book, infamous radio play or either of the two movies; The War of the Worlds tells the simple story of what happens the day Mars decides to attack our peaceful blue planet. It turns out that the human race doesn't take kindly to alien invaders, banding together to figure out a solution to Earth's mess. It's a story we've seen played out in countless movies and video games.

The War of the Worlds (XBLA)

This particular retelling veers away from the original book, radio play and movies, instead opting to introduce us to a new protagonist who goes on his own unique adventure. You play Arthur Clark, a Londoner on his way home on the train when the Martians decide to strike. Dazed and confused by the wreckage, Arthur sets off on a journey to make sure his family is still alive and safe. This means fleeing from gigantic walking tripod aliens, aiding the military in their attack and solving all kinds of complicated platforming puzzles.

It would have been easy for the developers to turn this into yet another mindless action game, but that's not the case with The War of the Worlds. Much of this game involves you avoiding the various types of aliens and running as fast as you can. You never pick up a gun and shoot down the attacking Martians. About the only weapon you have is an unwieldy fire axe, and even that is hard to use against actual enemies.

Instead of making this yet another first- or third-person shooter, Other Ocean has gone the complete other direction and made The War of the Worlds a stylish 2D adventure game. The game has a lot in common with classic 16-bit platformers like Out of this World and Flashback: The Quest for Identity. In fact, the developers used the same rotoscoping technology that we saw employed in Prince of Persia and Karateka. The end result involves incredibly lifelike animations that have to be seen to be believed.

The War of the Worlds (XBLA)

It's clear that the developers had Flashback in mind while making The War of the Worlds. The way Arthur runs, jumps and climbs is straight out of Delphine's landmark adventure game. Even the control mechanics feel like they time traveled from 1993. And while I'm one of those people who has been calling for a Flashback sequel, this blatant homage comes with a few serious drawbacks.

Let's start with the obvious: Rotoscoped video games are really hard to play. While I love Out of this World and Prince of Persia to pieces, it's hard to go back and play them now. The controls are sluggish and the platforming is often unforgiving. Sadly, the same thing can be leveled against The War of the Worlds. Other Ocean does do a good job of tightening up the controls a bit, but they are still a little too loose.
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