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Game Profile
PlayStation 2
2K Games
The Collective
GENRE: Action
May 19, 2006
The Da Vinci Code

 Written by John Scalzo  on April 06, 2006

First Impressions: Can you solve this anagram?: Dan Brown is real richly stinking.

Dan Brown's story of chase scenes, secret societies, mad monks, classic art and short chapters has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 153 weeks now. It seems as if everyone in the world has at least attempted to read it and has an opinion about the book's conspiracy theories. Naturally, a movie adaptation was a perfect fit for the juggernaut novel and in a few short weeks Tom Hanks will be doing his best Indiana Jones while trying to clear his name of a murder.

But allow me to back up, just in case you've had no interest in The Da Vinci Code until now. The novel (and movie) follows the adventures of Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor who studies ancient symbols and occasionally stumbles into murderous plots that reach back across time. As The Da Vinci Code opens, he is called to The Lourve to help the police decode the cryptic symbols left at the scene of a murder. Little does he know that he is the prime suspect at this grisly scene and only the murdered man's granddaughter, Agent Sophie Neveu, can help him escape the French police, clear his name and solve the puzzles to protect the Holy Grail.

That secret society known as The Collective is doing the development on Da Vinci and at the very least that fills me with hope. Creators of the first great Buffy game and the ultimate Indiana Jones adaptation, The Collective knows how to take a known property and distill it's feel into a video game. But with the game's release only a few weeks away, few details have been revealed. Considering the book's focus on secrets and riddles, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Presumably the game will follow the blueprint used in The Collective's Indiana Jones game, The Emperor's Tomb. I'm guessing exploration, puzzle solving, dodging traps and lots of gunplay will make their way into the Da Vinci Code. Wait, scratch that last one. While they are both globetrotting professors in search of adventure, Robert Langdon will never be able to throw a punch or wield a gun like Indy. According to 2K, the game will feature several "combat" sections, but I can't imagine how they'll fit into the story. In the book, one would-be assassin is dispatched by a man on crutches. Another troublemaker is foiled by a children's toy. Not exactly the same thing as Indy versus the Crazy Swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Instead of fighting, The Da Vinci Code will probably focus more on Langdon's escape from the French police and a rollicking high speed chase through the streets of Paris. But we may get our dose of combat yet as 2K has said that like most adaptations, the game will follow the plot of the movie and "expand" several scenes into a more video game-friendly format.

This expansion of the plot will probably be necessary as the book's focus on cryptic clues would turn the novel into one large strategy guide if The Collective follows the puzzles in the book too closely. Yet, people are always demanding that they want their movie and video game adaptations to be accurate to the original material and changing the puzzles from their (supposedly) historically accurate state might make some people angry. 2K has stated that they want the game to remain faithful to the book and movie while also ?appealing to gamers who have enjoyed the movie but want new challenges.? I'm not sure if there's enough "video game moments" in The Da Vinci Code's narrative to make a compelling game. But whatever they do, it'll make for an interesting comparison at least.

While the game may stray into new territory, some familiar locales from the book are being recreated as closely as they can be. Langdon and Neveu (who will both be playable) will visit The Louvre, Westminster Abbey, St. Sulpice and more. From the few screenshots 2K has released, they all look appropriately gothic.

Like many would-be blockbusters, the huge cast is loaded with a number of great actors. Sadly, we don't know if any of them will be supplying voice work to the game to give it that "movie feel." Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina and Jean Reno aren't strangers to the video game voice over business, but right now nothing is official.

Final Thoughts
Like its namesake book, The Da Vinci Code game is shrouded in secrecy. While we don't know much, The Collective has proven themselves worthy in the past and with a quality Indiana Jones game under their belt already, The Da Vinci Code is a natural extension. I guess we'll all find out together this May when the movie and the game clue us in into just what The Mona Visa is smiling about.

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