Codex Gamicus

The Polar Express is an adventure video game released in 2004 by Blue Tongue Entertainment. The game is based on the film of the same name.


The game closely follows the same plot as the film. One major difference is that the Ebeneezer Scrooge puppet plays a much bigger role. He is the game's main villain whose main goal is to keep the children from believing in Santa Claus by stealing their tickets and throwing them off the train.

The game features fifteen levels that are broken down into six chapters, giving the player the opportunity to explore areas like the train and the North Pole. The player controls Hero Boy in every chapter. Each level also features coins and toy parts which the player can collect.

A lot of the cut-scenes include scenes from the film.


The game was first announced by THQ at the E3 convention in 2004. The PlayStation 2 version has EyeToy support. A Game Boy Advance version of the game, developed by Tantalus, was also in development.


Most versions of the game received negative reviews except for the PC version, which received mixed reviews.

Differences from the Film[]

  • The opening scene skips the part where Hero Boy watches Sarah get tucked in bed. This makes it more similar to the book.
  • There are several cars on the train in the game which are not in the film, including a separate dining car, a kitchen car and a couple of box cars.
  • No sentient toys appear in the film.
  • While the train does stop at Billy's house in the film, he still has trouble getting on due to having initially turn the ride down.
  • The Conductor says, "Who in the blazes pulled that cord?!" instead of, "Who in the blazes applied that emergency brake?!"
  • Hero Boy did not have to go across multiple cars to meet up with the Hobo because they were already on the same car.
  • The Hobo skis down the cars, not down a hill, to help Hero Boy get to the locomotive.
  • While Hero Girl forgets how to drive the locomotive, nothing she does in the film nearly causes the locomotive to explode. There is a deleted scene, however, called "It Takes Two," which does involve this.
  • In the game, the Conductor seemed to have already known that the caribou can understand Smokey's screaming.
  • The film does not involve Hero Boy helping Smokey and Steamer get the locomotive moving again after the caribou crossing.
  • Hero Boy gives Hero Girl her ticket after the Ice Lake scene, which is completely absent in the game along with the Glacier Gulch scene.
  • The children are served hot chocolate much earlier in the film than they were in the game. Also, Hero Boy is not asked to help.
  • The brake wheel on the observation car works like a normal brake in the film. Plus, the hill it rolls down is not as steep and there are no obstacles in the way.
  • The children do not use the controls on the pneumatic.
  • In the factory, Billy does follow his present in the film, but it does not get him separated from Hero Boy and Hero Girl.
  • When the children land in the big pile of presents, they are already at the top. The pile is also a lot smaller and has no presents that bounce or elevate.
  • The zeppelin flies higher in the film than it did in the game. Plus, the children were in the bag during the entire flight.
  • The game does not include the part where Santa Claus gives the first gift of Christmas.
  • All the events occurring after Santa Claus leaves to deliver the presents are omitted.

External Links[]