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4 Reviews

Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom

A joyous jaunt with a jolly green giant

There's something strangely comforting about enormous hairy monsters - well, enormously friendly ones at least.

Suggest going on an adventure with ginormospider Shelob from Lord of the Rings and we'd stab you in the eye, but we'd set off on a journey with Sully out of Monsters, Inc in a heartbeat, even if he is strong enough to crush a man's larynx like a twig.

Now that we've spent some quality time with him, we can add Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom's lumbering golem Teotl to the list.

He may not be as furry as Sully, or as blue, but he's just as fiercely loyal, healing you when you're ill, reviving you when you're dead, and dutifully following your every order in the meantime.

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He's a great creation, and it's only fitting that he's featured in the game's title. As for the other guy, Tepeu, he's much less interesting.

The human thief you control is saddled with an ill-fitting American voice (he sounds like a cutrate Nolan North) and about as little personality as his bumfluff beard suggests.

Tepeu teams up with the Majin after entering the kingdom of the title, and before long the are off on a quest to destroy the darkness slowly spreading across the land.

It's a clichéd setup, but it's a good enough excuse to romp around a sizeable kingdom, smacking slithering evil creatures and unearthing secret treasure chests.

The focus on acquiring new exploratory abilities is reminiscent of Zelda or Darksiders, while Tepeu's stealthy combat, platforming and puzzle-solving sections recall the better Prince of Persia games. But it's the relationship between Teotl and Tepeu that makes Majin feel unique.

MAJIN AND TONIC
The two travel everywhere together, barring ladders or cracks in the environment that only a human can fit through.

Holding RT/R2 brings up a menu that lets you order the golem around - you can tell him to wait, follow or interact with objects, or lob restorative fruit in his direction when he's low on health.

In combat he's a powerhouse, but far from immortal thanks to a relatively sluggish gait and the fact that the bad guys have stolen most of his power and stuffed it inside magical bits of fruit.

But his most useful application lies outside of battle: you can climb on his mossy back to reach high platforms.

Teotl rarely annoys as a computer-controlled partner and, like the occasionally dim-witted enemies you'll face throughout the game, you can forgive the odd lapse in artificial intelligence as his characterisation goes some way to justifying it.

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Teotl is dumber than the average X Factor contestant, but he's no less lovable for it (although his frequent exclamation of "Yay! That great!" never failed to make us cringe and sick up a bit).

MAJIN TAIWAN
There are a number of stock situations to each of the game's interconnected environments, including flattening groups of enemies by pushing pillars, boulders, walls and the like on top of them, or clambering around as Tepeu to interact with levers, but there's usually something surprising around the next bend.

It could be a massive boss battle, a well-constructed puzzle sequence or a particularly challenging fight, but whatever it is, the game forces you to stay on your (hairy) toes.

This is usually the point where we pluck out crippling problems with a game, but on the whole Majin doesn't put any of its massive feet wrong.

The writing may come off a little stilted, and on a couple of occasions we got hopelessly lost, but aside from that the quality rarely dips.

However, with a little more ambition, we get the feeling Majin could have been truly exceptional, rather than just great.

As it is, we fear the game will only make a faint impression on the charts this Christmas, which will be a shame.

This is a comfortingly sturdy and oldfashioned adventure, as reliable and warm-hearted as the Majin himself. If you've been waiting all this time for a good Zelda-a-like on 360, you've finally found it.

Order Xbox 360 here and have it delivered straight to your door.

The verdict

A confident and oddly fresh-feeling adventure, packed with oodles of unusual charm.

  • The golem's great
  • Deep combat
  • Easy to get lost
8.3
Format
Xbox 360
Developer
Namco Bandai
Publisher
Namco Bandai
Genre
Unknown

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