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The Polar Express

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― Todd Howard
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The Polar Express
Genre(s): Action-adventure
Platform(s): Game Boy Advance
Microsoft Windows
Nintendo GameCube
PlayStation 2
Release: NA: November 2, 2004
AU: November 23, 2004 (PS2)
EU: November 26, 2004
Engine: RenderWare
Developer(s): Blue Tongue Entertainment
Tantalus Interactive (GBA)
Publisher(s): THQ
Country: Australia
Series: The Polar Express

The Polar Express is a 2004 action-adventure video game based on the film of the same name, and it deviates significantly from the film's plot. It was developed by Blue Tongue Entertaiment and published by THQ for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2. A port for the Game Boy Advance was developed by Tantalus Interactive.

Why It’s a Polar Trainwreck

  1. The game is very short as it can be beaten in about three hours.
  2. The EyeToy games in the PS2 version are awful and worse than their controller-driven counterparts with terrible visuals.
  3. The rhythm sequences are especially bad and you have to use the D-pad for them instead of using the left analog stick, yet the game does nothing to instruct this. At least this wouldn't be such a problem in the PC version since you can use the arrow keys on the keyboard.
  4. The gameplay is completely disjointed.
  5. The game is devoid of any artistic merit and lacks cohesion.
  6. The minigames are just so poorly conceived. There is horrible value to them where in a halfhearted effort to provide some replay value, the game lets you unlock some of them from the story mode for individual play by finding all the parts of a specific toy. However, it's difficult to see why anyone would want to endure them a second time.
  7. It feels like a soulless video game cash-in on the movie, according to GameSpot. This is because Avery Score who did the review said "No matter who you are, this is a train you'd be better off missing."
  8. The audiovisual presentation and sound mixing sucks. Sometimes, it can be hard to understand what characters are saying due to background noise.
  9. As in the film, the Know-It-All kid is so annoying.
  10. The voice acting is poor, even though it's done by the cast of the movie.
  11. The visuals look bad such as with the low-polygon environments and the renders of the character models, compared to many other video games that were around at the time.
  12. As stated above, the game deviates significantly from its source material:
    • The Hero Boy and the Hobo leave the train's roof in an attempt to chase it.
    • The Ebenezer Scrooge puppet is somehow alive and steals tickets from the kids, but in the movie it was only a joke by the Hobo.
    • There are more puppets that come to life such as the ones you have to avoid, and the ones you have to defeat in a food fight.
    • The game simply ends with the kids regrouping with the others and seeing Santa Claus leave.
    • There are presents that attack you when you have to climb through stacks of presents.
    • It's never explained how the Ebenezer Scrooge puppet became so huge and has a heart in its chest.
    • Some hills in the Runaway Car level are so generically steep. In fact, the crossroads are tilted!
    • The Hero Boy drives the zeppelin that carries the present sack to the North Pole, but in the movie he and the other kids with him were inside the sack until it reached where they met Santa.
  13. The art and music direction are inferior.
  14. The Hero Boy talks every time he gets a toy part which is so annoying.
  15. Health pickups are rare, as explained in the manual.



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