Madagascar review

OK, it's another so-so movie tie-in - but PSM2 bets you've never played as a zebra before, eh?

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Although the pastimes of kids and adults are steadily converging - both play San Andreas, both watch SpongeBob Squarepants - there are certain places where the twain shall almost definitely never meet.

Not all that many adults are ever seen drinking Sunny D, for instance, and you don't usually get hordes of eight-year-olds listening to Joy Division records.

Similarly, there's not a lot of people over the age of nine years old who are going to get a great deal out of playing Madagascar.

OK, it's hugely colourful, there are imaginative set-pieces and you get to be a zebra - something that would've improved Death by Degrees no end - but it plays in a manner that's so simple it could present Top of the Pops.

Hardly a surprise for a kids' film licence, we suppose - the plot of which, by the way, sees Marty the zebra, Alex the lion, Gloria the hippo, Melman the giraffe and a load of penguins escape from their zoo and head for Madagascar, believing paradise to be there.

Madagascar takes a basic platforming structure and intersperses it with a huge heap of other gameplay styles - a fishing sub-game, a Frogger variant and a penguin-based version of Metal Gear Solid (seriously), for example - but each and every part is so straightforward that it's simply boring.

Take the bit where you have to guide Melman the giraffe over bridges and moving buses across a busy road.

Certainly an original premise, and we've never seen a giraffe that can spin like a helicopter. But you could - seriously - do it with your eyes shut.

And you can level that criticism at everything within Madagascar.

Like in the stealth bits where, as long as the guards' backs are turned, you can clatter past making as much noise as you like.

There's a Silent Scope-style shooting bit (with a tranquilliser gun) but the only way you'd mess up would be if you found it so easy, you mentally switched off entirely and let a baddie creep up from one side.

Yet if we were six or seven, we suspect we'd really enjoy Madagascar. It's bright, clever, colourful, responsive and rammed with appealing characters. However, it's just so simple, it's a bit boring.

But then, it's not really meant for us or, probably, for you. So, if you happen to be reading the mag and you're under 10, then firstly, please don't use our swear words in front of your mum and dad, and secondly, add another 20% to this score.

Ditto if you're a parent yourself looking for something to play with your sprog.

If you're neither, however, you'll probably find this pretty bad. Bad-agascar, even. (wince).

Madagascar is out for PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC, GBA and DS now

More info

Platform"GBA","PC","Game Boy","Xbox","PS2","DS","GameCube"
US censor rating"","","","","","",""
UK censor rating"3+","3+","3+","3+","3+","3+","3+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)