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Tak and the Power of Juju

by Michael Cole - May 15, 2003, 12:52 pm PDT
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Donkey Kong 64 with Mumbo. Yey.

At THQ’s booth, I had the chance to try out Avalanche’s Tak for the Nintendo GameCube (and other platforms). Although it has a few interesting aspects, the game isn’t really worth anyone’s time.

If there is anything decent about the game, it is its personality. Tak is a young shaman who must save his town from an evil spell which has turned everyone into sheep. He must solve puzzles and complete levels by using his magic wand (with a turtle shell on it), as well as the sheep, villagers, and other indigenous animals. The part of the hub I played includes a chicken that lays exploding eggs, other chickens perfect for Hylian anger management, and a mountable rhino.

By now you must suspect that this game borrows heavily from games found last generation. It really did play like some sort of Donkey Kong 64 knock-off, and that completely turned me off. Although the game is 75% done, the controls are sloppy and poorly mapped. R rotates weapons (I only had the wand and a blow-gun), A jumps (or pole-jumps with the blow-gun out) and B is used to smack guys around. But there are other horrible control problems, besides the sloppy analog control. To shoot the blow gun you hold the Y button to switch into a first person view and aim, then release it to shoot. That means you get one shot before you must re-aim. It gets worse. Tak can hide under a sheep as camouflage and sneak around, and the THQ representative said that this is a big part of the game. But when you're under cover, you cannot jump. This would not have been a problem except I could not get over the smallest bump. Unless the 25% not done refers to the controls, this game is in trouble.

The visuals are under par for even a PS2 game, though the character models are interesting enough. The framerate is disappointing; when I barged through a fence with the rhino there was a LOT of slowdown. The game also has severe loading problems (restarting a level took a minute) and I thought it had crashed.

Tak has some amusing concepts, and THQ’s team is genuinely trying to make the world as interactive and interesting as it can, but the gameplay on the showroom floor left me very disappointed. The game could be fun by the time it gets out the door, but from what I played it isn’t likely.

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Genre Adventure
Developer THQ

Worldwide Releases

na: Tak and the Power of Juju
Release Oct 15, 2003
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