Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is a series of books that chronicles the lives of the Baudelaire children and their long lost relative Count Olaf. The books have made the transition to the big screen, and as expected, a video game tie-in has accompanied the movie, including a version for the GBA.
In the books, Olaf takes in the three children after their parents are killed in a fire. Apparently the Baudelaire children are worth a lot of money, and Count Olaf would like that inheritance. Olaf schemes to earn the inheritance from the children, and a wild adventure ensues.
The graphics for LSSoUE for the GBA are pretty impressive. All of the main characters have a good number of animation frames. The children walk realistically and the baby even rolls realistically (if you can say that a toddler that rolls is realistic). Enemies like spiders and bats all are instantly recognizable. The backgrounds are varied and show lots of little details. Everything is dark and really sets the mood for the game and the characters in it.
Between levels, the story is told through screenshots from the movie. However, these screenshots are brown and white, similar to what you’d expect to a movie played on an old movie projector. Also, the screens include the black stripes and occasional “film blotches” that you’d expect to see from a film that is old. It’s a very nice touch that’s added to the game.
Some of the secondary characters could have more frames of animation. However, this a minor gripe for a GBA game. There isn’t much more that they could have poured into this game.
The sound is excellent as well. Anyone who has heard any of the commercials will recognize the sound of the movie in the game. It is jovial in a dark kind of way, with a music box sound playing over it. It is a nice layering of the different sounds and it works well.
The sound effects are done well. Each of the characters say “oof” if one of them takes too long of a drop from a jump. If the baby has some dialogue in the game, you will hear a baby sound. Spaying the water cannon or the apple core shooter has different sounds. Going outside in the rain sounds like a storm. They are done well for what the GBA can handle.
While you control three different characters in the game, control of each is basically the same. The D-pad controls character movement left and right, up walks through door, and up and down climbs ladders. A jump and B activates and invention or does the Sunny Baby roll. L performs a secondary action and the R interacts with an object or character.
Control is crucial for a platform game like this. The control is very responsive though, and most of the time it works very well, even with the small D-pad.
While LSSoUE has three characters, they aren’t all that different, but they each have their own roles. Violet is the eldest of the three and has a knack for making inventions and carries the Apple Chucker. She is the only one who can climb ladders. Klaus has a water pump and eventually is able to swing using a Grappling Hook. Sunny, the baby of the family, is useful to get into small crawlspaces. She also has jaws of steel and can bite through objects in the game.
The game follows basically the same pattern throughout the entire game. Some kind of problem arises or Olaf gives the children a chore to do. The children go out and about and search for the items that will help them accomplish that. Sometimes Violet will create a new invention to assist in completing that goal.
The gameplay is mostly typical platforming action. Jump around to find apple cores. Collect photograph pieces to upgrade your weapons and unlock concept art and stills from the movie. Defeat enemies by using the Apple Chucker or the water pump. While the gameplay is basically the same for each objective, there is enough originality to each of them to keep things fresh during the game. Even creating the gadgets is a bit of a mini-game in itself.
If you aren’t a fan of platformers of this type, you probably won’t change your mind with this game. Those who enjoy this type of game will enjoy the fresh changes that have been made. Some of the puzzles are challenging, but they make sense, at least after you see the invention that is created.
There are a lot of unlockables for you to unlock. These are done by collecting butterflies and photograph pieces. Those who enjoy collecting everything in a game will have their work cut out for them.
The game won’t take a long time to complete, but it’s not short either. You also have the ability to save anywhere. This is helpful for the game not being too frustrating as well.