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In stark contrast to most virtual shooters, in Peter Jackson’s King Kong your weaponry is extremely limited. The most common weapon you have available is a spear, which is surprisingly effective, and bones are not far behind. If you light spears on fire, they are even more lethal, and you can also use them to set fire to nearby brush and incinerate your enemies. For conventional arms, you have occasional access to pistols, shotguns, sniper rifles and Tommy-guns, but for limited periods of time and with limited ammunition. A seaplane periodically drops crates full of weapons every now and then. In any case, you may carry only one weapon at a time. Because of the tactical limitations imposed by your meager arsenal, the combat is extremely tense and ultimately necessitates intelligent choice on your part.
More than any shooter I have played since an old DOS PC title appropriately named Creature Shock, you encounter here an unending series of the most relentlessly ferocious creatures imaginable. These include huge bats, crabs, dinosaurs, millipedes, and scorpions. Their exclusive desire appears to be to rip you to shreds and ultimately devour you. A few, like the tyrannosaurus rex, simply cannot be killed by humans, so all you can do is to run and hide (until King Kong enters the picture). The battles with these creatures are usually at quite close range, and usually downright riveting.
The puzzle elements in Peter Jackson’s King Kong are decent but not dazzling. Perhaps the most common type requires you to find missing levers to insert into posts so as to rotate open huge primitive wooden gates to proceed on your journey. These levers are not usually very hard to find, but often you have to place yourself in harm’s way to pick them up. Another type of puzzle challenge is when you are facing mammoth adversaries and you have to find ways to kill little creatures as bait to lure foes hungry to devour them in a different direction, with the underlying goal of keeping your large foes distracted. Furthermore, you need to figure out when to burn the brush as a way to fry your enemies (if you do this at the wrong time or in the wrong place, you could block you own path or even kill yourself).
While the first-person shooter elements of Peter Jackson’s King Kong are fun, it is when you play in third-person mode as King Kong — only a small proportion of the action — that this title really packs a punch. You fight a surprisingly challenging set of gargantuan adversaries. Although the first major battle against a swarm of bats is a bit repetitive and not the most enjoyable, the rest of the clashes constitute a pure unadulterated thrill ride. If you think fighting against one tyrannosaurus rex is a chore, try battling three at once. You also have to deal with swarms of pesky natives. The moves you can undertake are amazing: you may swing from vines, climb steep slopes, swat and pummel foes, throw them around, and even — after they are weakened — split their jaws open, rendering them lifeless. Primal animalistic impulses dominate the action. Sometimes you have Ann Darrow in tow, and when you put her down she often helps you out.
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