The Golden Compass (Wii) Review

By James Temperton 21.12.2007 3

Based on the film that is based on the book of a different name, The Golden Compass videogame is, much like a lot of videogames based on books and or films, very generic. So generic in fact, that somehow in creating this game the developers have managed to snatch out every inch of magic and wonderment that Phillip Pullman put into his novel and the vague decency of the film. So hats off to them for that...

NB: This review is intended to be humorous. The Golden Compass won't make your soul cry or ruin Christmas. It is just a very bad game.

We're not normally ones to suggest boycotting something, but this game is certainly worth the call to arms. About six years ago we played a game on the PS2. It looked lovely back then. The other day we played a game with a polar bear in it and some little brat of a looked exactly the same, if not worse than the PS2 title. This game has so few redeeming features that it is utterly forgettable, utterly insulting and, if it manages to sell enough copies, it may just ruin Christmas. Oh yes indeed, it truly is that evil.

The game attempts to follow the events of the movie but sexes things up a bit with more action and bears and stuff. You play as Lyra or Iorek (small child or huge polar bear wearing a suit of armour, if you're not familiar with the book/film). After being taken from her lovely school and escaping the evil talons of the devilish Marisa Coulter, Lyra sets off to find out what the dickens has happened to a load of children up North. Lyra has the Golden Compass (hence the title of the film and game) and she must use it to find the truth. The compass will always tell the truth no matter what is asked. Whilst the book is brilliant and the film is pretty decent, the game takes all the magic and whacks it in the groin with an axe, watches it slowly bleed to death in unimaginable pain before burying it in a shallow grave and dancing on it gleefully.

Screenshot for The Golden Compass on Wii

Games based on films have always gotten a bit of a bad press. Whilst some have awful cameras or woeful controls others have really nasty graphics and tedious gameplay. Some, have all of the above. This game is one such game. Combat involves bashing buttons or waving the Wii-mote about a little bit (you can do either...which kind of makes the Wii a bit redundant for the most part). So you can attack, block, grab, throw and even unleash a special attack when your rage meter is full. And all of that can only be done when you are controlling Iorek. When you control Lyra you get to and talk to people and even balance on stuff. The excitement almost makes us want to have a quick nap. You also get to play a very boring and utterly pointless minigame that involves the Golden Compass itself. Needless to is rubbish.

We can almost forgive the developers for creating a title with such awful gameplay and controls though. Actually no we can't, that's a lie. But what is even more infuriating and insulting is just how bad this game looks. The animation is terrible, the environments suffer terribly from pop-up and 'ruddy hell, where did that tree suddenly come from?' syndrome and the characters look like the strange love child of Michael Jackson and a bag full of rocks covered in dog crap. We'd have complained about the slack visuals if this were a PS2 title from back in 2002. Now its nearly 2008 and somehow it looks worse. Confusing stuff. The voice acting is irritating and very badly implemented too, making the story slow and boring, which is odd seeing as it's based on a very good book and quite well scripted film. The music is super though, so that's one tick in the 'good' column against a whole shed-load in the 'mummy, why does this game make my soul cry' column.

Screenshot for The Golden Compass on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

Imagine the scene. Little Jimmy asked Mummy for a really cool new Wii game for Christmas. Dearest Mother went into the local game store and browsed over the shelves. There under 'new releases' she spots The Golden Compass. "Well," she thinks "It's based on that lovely film with Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman in, it must be good! He'll love this for sure!". Going up to the counter she happily hands over £40 for the game and returns home to wrap it and place it under the tree. Come Christmas morning, little Jimmy rushes downstairs, sleep dust still in his eyes - to enjoy the wonders of Christmas. Huddled by the fire, he is handed his first present to open. Mummy and Daddy sit smiling as Little Jimmy opens his first gift. He opens it, seeing The Golden Compass on Wii inside. Immediately the tree bursts into flames, destroying all the presents and ruining Christmas. The true evil of this game will ruin this most special of days if we don't stop it. Don't do this to your Little Jimmy, boycott The Golden Compass this Christmas and forever more. On a less melodramatic and long-winded note, this game is rubbish, don't buy it.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


Well, I think the whole world agrees with you, James. I've not seen even one slightly positive review of this game...however, sadly retailers are bundling the Wii game with new Wii systems, meaning that this edition is far out-selling any other version currently on the market right now.

There certainly will be a lot of very disappointed little Jimmies around the country, that's for sure! :eek:

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Dear god :eek: how can a game like this be so bad?

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

I didn't even check other review scores until I finished writing it...and it would seem you're right. Everyone hates it as much as me, joyous! Shame it will likely disappoint a lot of people when they unwrap it on Christmas morn'.

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

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