Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow review


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Buy your copy from Amazon.com Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow (2006) starstarhalf starno starno star Publisher: Bethesda
Category: Action/Adventure
Available for: PlayStation 2, PC
Buy from Amazon.com

What would have happened if Captain Jack Sparrow told the story of what happened in “The Curse of the Black Pearl” in an effort to save his and Will Turner’s necks from being hanged? Well, that’s what Bethesda Softworks is trying to put forth on this “Pirates” game that arrives just in time for the hit movie’s sequel, yet has nothing to do with it and everything to do with the first movie. That’s fine and all, but unfortunately the game falls into the pile of those previously released and based on movies that just aren’t that great.

It has the recipe for greatness, though. You have Johnny Depp actually doing the voicework for Jack Sparrow. There are lots of treasure chests to be found, some with hidden pieces of a pirate map that adds a nifty subplot to the game. There are lots and lots of bad guys and bosses with all sorts of weapons trying to stop you at every turn. Your weapons are also fully upgradeable with booty you find lying around in some of those treasure chests, as well as on fallen foes. And some of the environments are interactive, which means this is more than just another hack and slash game of the “Gauntlet” variety.

But all that is not enough to make this title a must-have. For starters, even though this game does have Johnny Depp in it, whenever there is a cut scene between he and the other characters, everything goes strangely silent in the background. It’s as if the sound effects guys forgot to leave things running in the control booth, so what it winds up sounding like is Depp - and all the nobodies he had to work with doing the other voices - just standing around reading their lines in front of the microphones.

Then there are the glitches. Oh, the glitches you’ll find in this game! One can’t help but feel that this thing was rushed at the end to get it out in time for the new movie due to all the weird crap that shouldn’t be happening on the screen. Granted, it makes playing the game sort of a trippy and sadly funny experience at times, but in essence, this game shouldn’t have been green lighted for sale at all with all the weird crap going on here. For instance, you will find yourself battling on a ship in one of the game’s early scenarios. There are lots of wooden boxes and barrels on deck. Now, for some reason those barrels will start to slide and bleed into the floorboards of the ship’s deck itself. Strike one for collision detection. Don’t worry, you’ll see lots of this eye-rubbing stuff going on in numerous points in the game.

How about when all your enemies freeze up but you are still able to move about as you like? It’s a complete “what the fuck” moment as you’ll be surrounded by a bunch of bad guys and then all of a sudden…freeze! You’ll be able to hack and hack again at their frozen pixels, but it won’t matter because suddenly the game will snap back into reality and the enemies are ready to try and hurt you once again. Needless to say it’s more than a bit annoying. And don’t even get me started on the game’s soundtrack, which also has its bizarre share of hiccups as it stops and restarts where it shouldn’t.

The player models look pretty decent, though Keira Knightley’s character doesn’t look like her in the least. That said, there is some fun to be had here, but it’s in the two-player co-op mode. Those glitches get even crazier when you have two players going at it, so you might want to have a few drinks before you start playing to get the full effect of the glitch-ridden hilarity that would be nothing but excruciating otherwise.

This game is proof positive that the almighty dollar still rules all. There’s no way a game this buggy should be out there to buy. When the PS2 is capable of great games with fantastic graphics and sound, it’s a shame to see something like this come out now in the late days of the system’s life. Had it come out in those early first couple of years, it may have been looked over a bit more, but not anymore. Suffice it to say that if you get a free copy of this game, it’ll be a lot more fun than it’s worth. Otherwise, just stick to the movies.

~Jason Thompson