The DaVinci Code – Review

XBOX

2006 – 2K Games

Seek the truth, seek the codes, seek a strategy guide.

Ahh 2006. A simpler time.  After demand from fans, Garfield was finally brought to the big screen. James Brown passed away. Sega made Sonic The Hedgehog terrible and author Dan Brown gave the world the Da Vinci Code.  You may remember the book, maybe even saw the Tom Hanks film.  But today I want to talk about the ultimate Da Vinci Code experience…

Hey everyone.  Your old video game pal Peter Graphic here.  Today we’re going to dive into the mysterious and mystifying world of the Da Vinci Code. The Game.

 

The Story:

After a strange murder in the Louvre draws the attention of a famous “symbologist” Robert Langdon, he is called to follow a trail of cryptic clues related to Leonardo Da Vinci, history and even Christianity itself. He must discover a closely guarded secret that some will kill to get the answer to and could change the world forever. Partnering with the granddaughter of the murder victim, Robert has to not only clear his name, but also protect his life and his new partners as they get deeper and deeper to uncovering the truth.

 

The Characters

The Da Vinci code has a lot to cover character wise, but lets breakdown the ones who play a big role in the game itself. 

Robert Langdon – A Professor of art and history and also a famed “symbologist”. (Is that a real job?) When the Louvres curator Jacques Saunière is found murdered, he’s called in to decipher clues and messages left by the victim.  He uncovers that Saunière is a member of the Priory of Sion, protectors of the Holy Grail.  Robert knows alot about history, and would rather avoid conflict or reason with someone before resorting to violence. He’s the main character of the game. 

Sophie Neveu – She’s the granddaughter of Saunière and is the French police’s top cryptographer.  She was raised by her grandfather since her family died in a car accident when she was a child. For reasons that get revealed later in the game, her and Saunière are estranged. Sophie speaks her mind and is compassionate. She’s also playable at certain moments in the game, or AI controlled and can assist with hints. 

Bazu Fache – Captain of the French police force, he’s investigating the death of Saunière and is very suspicious of Langdon since his name was mentioned in the murder. His officers call him “The Bull”.  He’s not playable.

Silas – an albino monk and a member of the mysterious Opus Dei. He isnt a stranger to murder or violence and will stop at nothing for his cause. He’s always seen in robes and commits self harm. I think he works part time in the Assassin’s Creed games.  He’s one of the antagonists.

Sir Leigh Teabing – A friend of Robert Langdon and a scholar, he is obsessed with the holy grail and history. He’s a Knight and a millionaire and is very enthusiastic about helping Robert and Sophie. 

 

The Gameplay:

First I have to point out this game is based on the book. Not the movie, so if you’re looking for a 32bit Tom Hanks i’m sorry to disappoint you. 

The Da Vinci code is an action/adventure puzzle type game, where you play as either Robert or Sophie. Both characters play the same and have the same abilities. In order to dig into the many secrets to decode you will need to do a few different tasks.  There’s searching, puzzles and combat. 

Searching the area will usually be called out by a cut scene or pointed out by character. An area will be highlighted in a box and you will have to focus on individual items and learn more about them and or pick them up. Puzzles are pretty self explanatory, but usually involve a sliding puzzle or deciphering a code or an anagram. Sophie or Robert can lend a hand with a hint or two as well. 

You can collect items and examine or combine them Resident Evil style or use them for the puzzles or as part of your investigation. There’s also hidden objects to collect that aren’t part of the main story. 

Last but not least is combat…now why would you ever expect a symbologist and a cryptographer to be able to throw down on museum guards i’ll never know.  Robert says it’s his college boxing classes, but I think Sophie has seen some shit. You initiate combat by throwing a punch, but then it becomes a quick time event to defend or attack. When it works, it’s just a crummy mini game. But when it doesn’t? It makes the area almost impossible to beat. Why would you use this system for multiple opponents? Did I mention you can use weapons too?

I guess Da Vinci would have wanted it that way. Fun fact- he loved knocking people out with metal poles when he wasn’t painting.   

You can also choose to push enemies or you can just run away if you want to be a great big weenie. You better run, you nerd! Sorry… 

With the exception of the banana’s combat, If you are familiar with Broken Sword, Siberia or even Professor Layton you’ll feel right at home here.

The Controls:

Robert and Sophie live out the Da Vinci Code in a 3rd person view. Walking with the left thumbstick, and using the camera with the right. They can also sneak and run/jog with the shoulder buttons. 

A is action, X attacks. The white button brings up the visual dictionary and the black brings up your items. Also…hey original Xbox fans. Don’t you miss these buttons?

The Graphics:

For a 2006 original Xbox game it looks ok. Environments are moody and the art represented looks pretty good. The character models aren’t terrible either. Edges are showing their age, and some things are still blocky,but hey…it’s an old game. I just wish it wasn’t so dark.  Maybe there’s a clue to find the secret of the hidden gamma slider.  I got stuck in the dark often, and even in some doorways.  

Here’s a real odd choice, if you leave the subtitles on they cover most of the puzzle clues. It’s a real pain and made me feel for someone who played this who is hard of hearing or relies on reading.  Come on guys.

The Sound:

It’s bland. The voice acting, the music, even the title screen.  Some areas have a creepier soundtrack but it’s pretty so-so overall. The accents weren’t the worst, I’ll give it that.

The Difficulty:

This is a weird one. Is this game difficult? No. Before you call me a master symbologist (no, it’s really not a thing, google it) it’s because the game either makes you hover over obvious items and clues or literally tells you what you need to do. Sophie tells Robert to hide a tracker in a bar of soap. How do you solve that puzzle? Combine the items. Come on.  When it’s a puzzle/code section, it’s fun but then the game leaves you on your own. You can probably finish it in about 10 hours.  It’s more challenging fighting and navigating the crummy menus and clipping issues. 

I totally forgot what the Mona Lisa really has to do with anything too. So there’s that.

The Verdict:

I wanted to play this since I recently re-watched the movie (we all have a lot of time to stream stuff lately) and I said to myself, “I bet theres a really dumb game for this” and there was. It was $7 new and even the GameTrog himself said to me “what do you have to lose?” and I genuinely like puzzle games. It’s just ok. I wish it was a “so bad it’s good” situation, but alas it’s not. 

Now I know what the Mona Lisa is smiling at, it’s me losing a week’s worth of coffee.

 3 out of 5 Trogs!

Tell me in a DM on instagram. Where can you see Robbie Wheeling? Link below in my Bio.

GameTrog Review By

Peter Graphic

Peter Graphic is a retro game player and collector. He enjoys writing about and photographing his collection as much as he likes to play! Follow him on Instagram!

Peter also contributes to the awesome PodCast: The Hot Blooded Challenger Club, with his Sonic specials: Gotta Go Cast (see what he did there!) Check them out HERE.

Have you always wanted to write Game Reviews?  Now's your chance! Gametrog is looking for reviews on any classic game system!

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