'Avatar', now a video game!

Hard on the heels of the much-hyped James Cameron film “Avatar”, comes the official video game of the same name. “Avatar: The Game”, created by Ubisoft and  just released in India , is set, like the film, on the alien planet Pandora. This has become a battleground between the indigenous people, the Na’vi – all long tailed and ten feet tall -- and the sharp shooters of the earthly Resources Development Administration (RDA), out to grab the precious resources of the distant planet.

The game is a sort of prequel to the film and allows players to either fight for the Na’vi as their Avatar -- or as an RDA recruit, Abel Ryder. If you choose to assume the Na’vi role , your weapons are primitive clubs, staffs, bow-and-arrow and knives. As the RDA hit man, you command an arsenal of modern guns and flame throwers. Either role can end up as a game that lasts anything from 4 to 6 hours.

If single person combat is not your thing, the game has a multi player mode which pits Na’vi hordes against RDA – and may the best team win.

Like the film, Avatar: The Game can be played in 3-D – if your TV or PC monitor is 3-D- enabled and you have the glasses to go with it. That way you can enjoy the eye-popping visuals that director Cameron created for his alien planet: floating mountains, carnivorous plants, that creep up on you…

However even on standard screens, the game that is available in all major formats -- PC ( Rs 699), PSP (Rs 1499), PS3 and XBox 360 ( Rs 2499 each)—brings a touch of exotica to what is finally yet another test of the player’s hair trigger responses. -  Anand Parthasarathy

This review appears in the current issue of "The Week" magazine ( Jan 4-10 2010)  www.the-week.com