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Always try before you buy

June 3rd, 2003 · No Comments · Uncategorized

A video game based on a movie (or a television show) almost always sucks. There are exceptions, but in general, this rule will guide you well. The inverse rule, about movies based on video games has no exceptions: they all suck.

So why would I let optimism color my judgement so badly as to allow myself to fork over $50 to purchase “Enter the Matrix” for PS2? Perhaps I was still intoxicated by my recent pleasent experience with Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers, which is one of the best movie license games I have seen (though GoldenEye for the N64 was pretty slick in its day.) But I was smart enough to rent the Two Towers. Without even waiting for the game to be reviewed, I put my faith in the Wachowski brothers, who have slapped their name all over “Enter the Matrix.”

And for that, they should be slapped themselves.

The character animation is bad. Distractingly bad. When you maneuver Niobe up a ladder, you’ll suddenly think you are playing Donkey Kong. There’s even a level involving climbing up a long series of ramps and ladders and I half expected barrels to come rolling down and a giant ape boss at the top.

The game is tedious and full of visual bugs. The level design is uninspired. The music is annoying and poorly implemented. While hand-to-hand combat and the bullet-time feature can look snazzy at times, there’s little challenge: a bit of button mashing usually is sufficient. The only reason to slog through the whole thing is to get to the footage and story, which ties into the whole Matrix storyline, but even that is disappointing.

If you must get your fix, rent it. It’s not a long game or a hard game, and it’s certainly not a game with any replay value.

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