"Uncharted: Drake's Fortune" is a rollicking new video game for the PlayStation 3 that combines elements of "Tomb Raider," "Indiana Jones" and "Pitfall!" into an adventure worth discovering.
You are treasure hunter Nathan Drake, who's on the trail of the mythical El Dorado fortune left behind centuries ago by Sir Francis Drake.
He's not the only one seeking the bounty, and you'll come across plenty of danger along the way.
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This premise makes for a relentless mix of action, puzzle-solving and acrobatic feats for this T-rated, $59.99 PlayStation 3 game.
Seriously, Nathan Drake ought to consider a circus career. His leaping skills along cliffs, his ability to grapple from one precarious toehold to the next, often defies gravity.
He's equally adept with guns, which you'll need to fend of an army of greedy rivals seeking the same fortune. You can use fisticuffs, but hand-to-hand combat feels underpowered when you can pick off foes with an AK-47.
This is more than a simple point-and-shoot fixation. Like "Gears of War" for the Xbox 360, using cover and flanking the enemy is key to success.
These bad guys are fairly devious. They'll take cover, and often work together in groups to kill you.
Going along with the combat is a story with enough swagger, romance and mystery to appeal to any fan of action games or movies.
I was enthralled pretty much the entire time, whether it was savoring the excellent graphics or laughing at the banter between Drake and Elena Fisher, a female sidekick who's videotaping the events for an episode of a cable TV show called "Uncharted."
This game is a sight to behold on a high-definition television. Especially the lush tropical settings, where gurgling streams roil beneath a dense canopy of plants that sway realistically in the steamy sunlight. Very pretty.
It's also an approachable title that tests your gaming skills without pushing them to the point of frustration. If you get stuck on a puzzle, for example, eventually you can press the "L2" button for a helpful hint.
Sometimes, though, it can be hard to see where you're supposed to go next because of the occasional wonky camera angle. I died many times by unintentionally leaping off a cliff when it wasn't clear where to go next.
It's not an especially long game (it took me three days of on-and-off playing to complete), and there's no multiplayer component to give it further longevity. Once you've finished, you could try it again on a more difficult setting, but there's not much else to it.
Think of "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune" as a movie where you're the star. You can't really decide the outcome, but the high production values and relentless action make it a memorable experience nonetheless.
Three and a half stars out of four.