Review: Lemony Snicket Series Unfortunate Events

Lemony Snicket books made quite an impact in the UK some time around the same period as Pottermania exploded onto the literary scene. Billed as much darker than the tales of the boy wizard, older readers quickly warmed to these new and entertaining, albeit rather unfortunate tales. With such popularity it was only a matter of time before a movie outing was announced and where there's a child friendly movie there's also a game. I have to say, I really enjoyed the movie, which thanks to its plot twists (and the fact that it's based on three books) did appear to have enough material to produce a solid gaming experience. It's all gone pear-shaped before though, and on numerous occasions, so have the developers produced a quality movie based tie-in this time? Read on and see...


Translating the visuals from a movie to a game often produces varying results but, because of the high level of production design in Lemony Snicket, the journey appears to have been a reasonably smooth one. The models of the Baudelaire children are well constructed, as are the other characters that populate the story. The environments are stunning, with the lake design deserving a particular mention. You'll either love of loath the manner in which the story is told though. Rather than using stills from the movie like the GBA version the developers have opted for a kind of sketchbook approach with the films many scenes appearing slowly before your eyes. The problem is that it's all so time consuming so after the first few you'll be pressing the skip button (which the developers have been wise to include here) in order to jump back into the action. Also on the down side there is an occasional slow down when the action starts to pick up pace, which really is unforgivable in this stage of the GameCube's life. It doesn't happen much but just enough to irritate.


As with many of these movie tie-ins now the developers have managed to get actual movie voice talent on board but whilst Jim Carrey lends his talent to the game, strangely it's Tim Curry and not Jude Law picking up the narrators role. Obviously this pushes the story along nicely and it's been some time since I've encountered voice acting of this quality. The sound effects follow suit but it's the wonderful musical score which really raises the quality of the audio, sounding every inch as good as its big screen counterpart.


If you've ever come across the saying 'anything that can go wrong will' then you may be able to imagine what it's like to be a Baudelaire child who has had the misfortune to be orphaned at the start of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Unfortunate indeed as the three children (Violet, Klaus and Sunny) are passed from one distant relative to another to witness one miserable event after another. This is orchestrated by the evil Count Olaf (their first guardian) who is simply after their inheritance and who will do absolutely anything to get it. All this takes you on a journey with the three children using their individual talents to outwit the scheming Count and his friends.


Fortunately the children are blessed with some incredibly useful skills. Violet can invent amazing contraptions from everyday objects, Klaus can recall very bit of every book he's ever read, whilst Sunny (the baby) has an incredibly strong set of teeth. It's these facts, which really dictate the gameplay, which is probably best described as a generous quantity of mini-games welded together by a rather engaging plot. During the game you'll be required to swap between both Klaus and Violet at given points in the levels, as different puzzles require very different skills. Sunny is only called upon when you need to fit into a smaller area where the whole game transforms into a kind of 3D side scrolling platformer.

The mini-games themselves are connected by the collection of the various objects to make the inventions, which include everything from a pair of stilts to a peppermint launcher and more besides. Frustratingly almost everything is completely given away thanks to the text in the gameÕs cut-screens making the whole thing feel a lot like a fetch and retrieve exercise. That said, itÕs all still very enjoyable and you can still get stuck on some obvious brainteasers.

Final Say:

There's no doubting that Lemony Snicket has a huge amount of variety and the sheer quantity of gaming types here is incredibly impressive. What hurts the game though is the fact that it's so short, with little replay value and most players are likely to complete the whole thing in two or three sittings. It's difficult to see how the developers could have rectified this as the game does follow the movieÕs plot faithfully although the fact that you donÕt need to use any grey matter, as every puzzle solution is handed to you on a plate, is a little odd. That said this is still well above what we have come to expect from the average movie tie-in and if you enjoyed the big screen version there's enough here to keep you entertained... for several hours anyway.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Fun to play initially but little incentive to go back

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability4
  • Visuals4
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Loads of Variety.
Nice Visuals.


Not For Older Gamers.
A Little Too Short

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