Journey to the Center of the Earth

Game review by
Erin Bell, Common Sense Media
Journey to the Center of the Earth Game Poster Image
Confusing movie-based game with poor controls.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

Players occasionally fight animals, but combat is relatively infrequent and not graphic.

Language
Consumerism

Based on the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game is based on the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth. Characters must occasionally fight hostile lizards and other animals, generally by kicking them until they crumple and disappear, but it's not graphic and there's no blood. Characters are shown drowning if they run out of air while underwater.

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What's it about?

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH is a game based on the movie of the same name starring The Mummy's Brendan Fraser as Trevor Anderson, a man who goes on an adventure to try to find his missing brother, the archaeologist Max Anderson. Trevor is joined by his nephew Sean and Icelandic scientist Hannah Asgeirsson to journey into the volcano where Max disappeared.

The game involves navigating through a maze of lizard-filled caverns, precarious ledges, and underground streams, using the special abilities of each character to overcome obstacles: Trevor is the strongest character and can set explosives; Sean can rock-climb and mine for fossils, and Hannah can swing across chasms using a grappling hook. There's also a falling mini-game where you must rotate the perspective to keep the character from hitting obstacles on the way down.

Is it any good?

Some of the mini-games (the rock-climbing and fossil gathering in particular) are mildly entertaining, but the exploration part of the game is dull and hampered by poor controls and a confusing map that makes it all to easy to get lost. Furthermore, the game suffers from inadequate instructions so that it's hit or miss whether something is going to make sense. For example, if you drag Sean's hands over to a hole in the rock with the stylus, it will make him climb up the wall in his rock-climbing mini-game, but nowhere is that explained to you – you have to stumble upon it by accident.

If the game were better crafted it could have been a decent problem-solving action game. As it stands, though, Journey to the Center of the Earth just doesn't pass muster. It's a shame, because the Nintendo DS version appears to be the only stab anyone's taking at making a game out of the film – so Journey to the Center of the Earth fans are stuck with it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the three characters effectively use teamwork to explore the caverns, with each character having unique strengths, weaknesses and skills to exploit. Which character was their favorite to control, and why?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: THQ
  • Release date: June 30, 2008
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: E

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