Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (hereafter referred to as Lemony Snicket) is an dark adventure game set in the same world as the book that is its namesake. It the the story of Violet, Claude, and Sunny in a world where their parents were killed and they were left with a large inheritance. Lemony Snicket revolves around what people would do to the children to obtain the inheritance. Read on for more… I was actually a little bothered by the graphics in this game. I started to play the game and kept wondering why I was running a game using the Playstation 2’s PSOne emulation. I felt like I was playing a higher-framerate original Playstation game. It could very well just be the style they have chosen to help balance the framerate and keep everything moving smoothly on the PS2. It was a little disturbing, but not game breaking. The areas are of decent size, and there is a fair bit of detail in the game, and it is easy to identify where you need to go. The items that Violet invents with are easy to identify as are the powerups that the Baudelaire children can collect. The different houses that the children visit each have their own style and items in them. This keeps each area looking new, with little to no repeated objects.
Another glaring point in the graphics is the cutscenes. During normal gameplay, the action is smooth and well animated, but when a cutscene begins the animation become jerky and sometimes disjointed. This is very annoying, as the cutscenes it the only place this occurs in. Some basic quality control by the developers should have caught this, and it leaves me wondering why it occured. The music in the game is a muted orchestral score that just hovers in the background. It does little to disturb the goings-on in the game, and supports the action on screen quite well. The actors reprise their roles from the movie for the game, and they come through quite clear and easy to understand. Jim Carrey is over the top and well placed as the overacting Count Olaf. Emily Browning, Liam Aiken, and Karis Campbell all shine as the voices of the three children. These actors turn a game into more of an interactive movie with their work. Lemony Snicket is not a complex game. Considering the intended audience, this is not a bad thing. The controls are at most, a series of simple button presses. Jumping, bopping, and fruit-flinging your way through levels is easy to do, and provides just the right amount of challenge. The analog control responds well to walking or sneaking around Count Olaf’s various minions.
On one hand, this game I found to be quite fun. It is a game of exploration and puzzles, with a little bad guy bashing in between. The game requires you, much as in the movie and books, to take on the roles of Violet, Clause, and Sunny to escape the clutches of Count Olaf and other various people who want to get their hands on the fortune the siblings hold. It is laid out as simple missions that unlock more and more of Count Olaf’s house, and then other locations as the story advances. This story and it’s style shares much in common with Edward Gorey’s macabre book “The Gashleycrumb Tinies” (Ahh, poor Amy…) The three children have to explore, discover, and invent their way out of the events that these adults put them through.
The downside to this gameplay, is that besides inventing new items periodically the game play does not evolve much over the course of the play. That item keeps it from being the kind of adventure that keeps me coming back just to explore (such as Metroid III and Prime).There are many puzzle pieces that open up new information and hidden clips of the movie as you play through the game. Once these are unlocked, there is little reason to replay the game or revisit areas, unless you are just missing that one puzzle piece.