The Da Vinci Code

Format: PS2
Take-Two Interactive Software Inc

5 026555 305549
Age Restrictions: 16+
19 May 2006

Guide Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu on their quest to solve a bizarre murder-mystery and uncover the ultimate treasure protected by an ancient secret society. This game expands upon
The Da Vinci Code universe by giving the player new experiences and locations not visited in the book or the film. Combines a unique blend of stealth, frantic chases and combat, diversely cryptic puzzles, and exploration. Explore detailed environments and discover hidden clues in world famous locations such as The Louvre, Westminster Abbey, St. Sulpice and more. Players must solve a wide variety of challenging physical and intellectual puzzles that will ultimately lead them to the resting ground of the Holy Grail...

The Da Vinci Code, has there ever been a more over hyped work of fiction? Well, yes. But at least they don't usually inflict us with a second rate movie and poor merchandise.

If you've read the book then you'll have a pretty good idea what to expect here, as the game follows the plot of the novel fairly closely. The game starts with the death of a relative of Sophie Neveu, a gifted French cryptologist, in the Louvre in Paris, France. You play as both Sophie and Robert Langdon, Harvard Professor of symbology, as they race to uncover the mystery that is the Da Vinci Code.

The puzzles are interesting, and are varied enough to keep you entertained, although a little more care should have gone into their construction. The second puzzle you come up against (at The Mona Lisa) is really badly designed. Here you have to translate a mystery code replacing signs for letters. What's poor about this is the fact that once you've chosen a letter to represent a symbol you can't blank that letter (you have to replace it with another letter). This make deciphering the code a lot more difficult as you're never really sure which letters you have right. And, unless you know who the god of wine is, you'll have to randomly pick letters in order to complete this puzzle.

The rest of the game play is pretty terrible. The graphics are pretty average and the vocal talents are poor too - having no real emotion behind the delivery of the lines. But the worst aspect is the combat (?!?) element of the game. Here you can attack other people, or defend yourself from attack - but it just doesn't seem to work very well. Thankfully though you won't need to use it that much. Another big no no, is the fact that you can't change the control settings (there's no altering the X or Y axis in this game).

I could go on (pointless dragging mode; getting stuck on inanimate objects; having to spend ages slowly examining every inch of an object before you realise it is useful...) but I really can't be bothered. Also the general puzzle solving of the plot really stretches fiction to breaking point. If there really was a secret organisation that wanted no one to know about them, why on earth would they leave out clues in the first place - clues that are so impossible to follow logically that it makes you wonder how on earth Dan Brown even found a publisher, let alone a worldwide success.

The biggest mystery of all is who on earth managed to get past the Take-Two quality control checking unit and release this half-hearted attempt at entertainment? I'll side with the Vatican if the Pope wants to ban this game.

If half-hearted conversions of over hyped fiction are your bag then go ahead, waste £30 on this. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Nick Smithson

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