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The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

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The Chronicles of Narnia books remain high on their pedestal of nostalgic childhood memories; the movies, perhaps a bit less so. Fans of either probably hanker for the ability to frolic through the Narnian fields equally, and so the games keep coming.

In case you aren’t familiar with the story behind the second chapter known as Prince Caspian, or need a refresher, it begins one Earth year after the events from the first book/movie. When the Pevensie children return to the magic kingdom inside the antique wardrobe, they find that the world has changed to a dark, foreboding place. They learn that time in Narnia flows much quicker than in our world, and so 1,300 years have passed in Narnian time! And with that passage of centuries, events have converged to leave Narnia in a troubled state.

Developed by Fall Line Studio, the DS version of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is a stylus-driven traditional RPG. You guide a party that will eventually encompass 18 playable characters around in a top-down view (with just your leader visible). You have standard random encounters where the view switches to a battle mode where your party stands on one side of the screen with the enemies on the other, and each side takes turns.

Stylus minigames make up the method for performing attacks and spells. You may have to draw a glyph, drag swords into a circle, or follow a pattern by memory. As characters progress they can perform team-up attacks, bringing in magical creatures to aid in taking down foes. To escape from battle you’ll have to blow into the DS microphone, simulating the horn that features in the story.

The game promises to focus more on the book than the movie, which should keep Narnia purists happy. Elements of the plot come in the form of a storybook, where the DS is held sideways and the pages can be flipped from one screen to the other.

Prince Caspian also marks the debut of DGamer, an online community that connects DSs and PCs via Wi-Fi Connection. Caspian comes with several items from the Narnia universe that players can equip to their DGamer avatar, and more are unlocked as the game is completed. So far the DS version appears to be aimed at the younger crowd, as the RPG elements are fairly simple, with the community aspect clearly aimed at kids. Set for a May release, it’s hard to say yet whether it will satisfy those tall enough to ride the Matterhorn.

Mar 28, 2008

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