Previews

Hands on with The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian on DS

Disney details first game to support DGamer platform

Hands on with The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian on DS

Written as a spiritually-inspired alternative to The Lord of the Rings fiction, C S Lewis' Narnia novels have been transformed into family-friendly epics that are about to hits their second motion picture adaptation. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian will be released for handhelds (and consoles) alongside the movie blockbuster this summer but we've been able to get our hands on the DS version of the game.

Prince Caspian continues the adventure of the Pevensie children one year after the events of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. The evil King Miraz has prevented Prince Caspian, the rightful heir to the crown, from ascending to power; as such, you must lead an uprising to secure the throne and bring peace to Narnia.

Restoring integrity to the throne involves a bit of old-fashioned role-playing from the isometric perspective. Through the course of the game, you'll have the opportunity to control 18 different characters in battle. But at any one time, you manage a party of three during turn-based battles that take place on the touchscreen. Attacks are issued via mini-games related to the characters' combat style. Each character possesses half a dozen combat abilities ranging from sword slashes to archery and clubbing.

Executing a heavy slash with Peter's sword, for instance, requires vigorously rubbing the iconic swords that appear on the screen. Attacking with a club on the other hand, involves smashing stone column with taps of the stylus. The most unique of the bunch has to be archery however. Using the stylus, you pull the bow taut and lift it from the screen to shoot an arrow. Depending on where the arrow hits on the bullseye target determines the amount of damage dealt to the enemy.

Mastering these combat mini-games was a must in order to fell the pair of minotaur we encountered. Individual attacks were useful, but a team attack combining the abilities of all three party members proved most effective. Various party arrangements yielded different team attacks, so changing up characters grants access to a variety of special attacks. Besting the minotaur proved a little too difficult nonetheless. Tapping the horn icon on the bottom of the touchscreen and blowing in the microphone enabled us to flee from battle.

Over 30 different enemies are promised ranging from wild bears and orges to human soldiers and the previously mentioned minotaurs. Defeating these creature isn't the only thing you'll have to deal with in Prince Caspian, however. Characters must also be prepped for combat. Visiting the forge allows you develop characters using special enhancement items found through the course of the game.

As we reported during the Game Developers Conference, Prince Caspian will be the first game to support Disney Interactive's DGamer platform. Unlocking characters, special items, and triggering key events rewards you with honours tracked via DGamer. Additionally, you can customise your DGamer avatar using items unlocked from the game. It should add a great deal to the game and we're eager to see how it plays out when Prince Caspian ships in May.