While similar brawling hijinks proved a decent basis for the PS2's recent The Legend of Jack Sparrow, the same can't be said for Dead Man's Chest. Here, Sparrow controls sluggishly and meanders about as if he's actually drunk... as does the misbegotten camera system. And his trademark charm is missing in action: the mumbled, understated one-liners are more cringe-worthy than humorous. Although most levels have a puzzle or two, "puzzle" is a charitable term. Beyond those, each level of Dead Man's Chest is little more than a series of identical sword fights; survive enough, and you'll head to a new level with different scenery, differently attired enemies (maybe), and more of the same basic action.
That focus on brawling might've been fine if the fighting were up to snuff, but Dead Man's Chest suffers from the lamest fighting in ... well, possibly ever. Try to follow along. It features three enemy types. The first variety can only be killed by pressing X, X, X, Square, Square Square. The intimidating second type requires Square, Square, Square, X, X, X. Last but certainly not least, the trickiest foes can only be vanquished if you start off with a tap of Circle. Hit the right buttons and you'll slay your foe every time. Press a wrong one and they'll magically land an attack, lowering your life. This completely rote, brain-dead combat system would be laughable if it didn't cost $39.95 to experience, or if many free Internet Flash games didn't have better mechanics.