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The Da Vinci Code

It's almost here. Final, quick impressions.

May 11, 2006 - Using both the movie and the best-selling novel as sources, The Collective has endeavored to create a compelling movie-game that doesn't stink. In fact, just the opposite. The Da Vinci Code is a smart mystery blended into the action-adventure genre, calling up tons of smart puzzles to solve, an innovative yet simple grappling system, and quite an impressive amount of variety to make this game worth your while.

Without using any weapons in the game, you take on the role of Robert Langdon and Sophie Nevue, a pair of investigators looking into a mysterious murder with a strange trail of clues that lead further than you can imagine. That is, unless you have already read the book itself. The only weapons you'll wield are organic, meaning those you'll find in the room in which you're fighting. The grappling system works a little like a wrestling game mixed with an interactive cutscene. When engaged in a fight, you'll grab the enemy's shoulders and they'll grab yours. A sequence of face buttons appears on screen, and if you tap them in order using the right timing, you'll initiate a series of attacks, kicks, and combos. Simple yet fun stuff.

The Collective implemented a database that records all of your discoveries, unraveled clues and solved puzzles, incorporating them into an encyclopedia of sorts that you can call up at any time. After solving a puzzle that information is instantly encoded into the database, helping you sort through the huge journal of data you've gathered.

If you didn't already know, this game plays fair. You'll play as both Langdon and Nevue, taking turns between the two and sometimes working together as a team. If you're able to solve all the puzzles in the game, suggesting that some aren't necessary to complete the game, two bonus levels will appear for your pleasure. And if you all of the "planet items" you'll unlock the game's entire soundtrack.

Due on Xbox, PS2, and PC in late May, The Da Vinci Code should be a solid puzzle/adventure title for fans of adventures and clever puzzles.
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