Developed by Neversoft (1998)
Reviewed by Steve, added on Aug 8 2007
Here’s the story, Bruce Willis…err…Trey Kincaid, lives in a world where science and technology are at war. Science is on the verge of turning the world into a utopia but a big bad religious nut named The Reverend, comes to power in the religious world, quickly gaining a massive following (which includes the U. S. President) and denouncing all science as the devil’s work. All science is banned but not before The Reverend, believing the world is already on the fast track to hell, decides to bring about the apocalypse on his own terms. He uses the banned science to create four powerful horsemen, here referred to as Death, Plague, War, and Beast. And now, bad ass scientist turned super soldier, Trey Kincaid is the worlds only hope.
Oh my Science!
If you’ve heard of this game at all then it’s probably just because of Bruce Willis’s involvement. Willis provides the voice of Kincaid as well as character models and face scans. Willis is spot on with his voice acting and his one-liners used liberally throughout the game are damn hilarious at times and never get old. It’s very clear that in Trey Kincaid, Neversoft was looking to channel another famous Willis character, John McClane. There are several moments in the cut scenes and boss battles where you can practically feel the “yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker” is just nanoseconds away. Alas, it never comes.
Unfortunately, Willis’s involvement is the only remarkable part of the game. The rest of it is average at best. The graphics are hideous, even for their time. I know the game is 9 years and 2 generations old now, but it’s just a mess sometimes. All of the colors in the game are very dark and everything tends to blur together after a while. I can’t remember how many times I fell into bottomless pits and died because the ground I was walking on was dark brown/black and was virtually indistinguishable from the black abyss surrounding it. And good fucking luck trying to figure out what the bad guys are and where you are on screen when the camera decides to pan way out and you’re left with a mostly black screen and a few little brown points of light representing the characters.
The movement and shooting controls are pretty good. The left control stick controls movement while the right one controls which direction you shoot. These two work completely independent of each other which means you can run in one direction and shoot in the total opposite. It’s fun to be running full speed backwards while blasting away at a swarm of baddies chasing you. The controls falter with the top shoulder buttons which are used to jump, crouch, change weapons and use super moves. They’re all imprecise and take some use getting to. The jump button especially. There are some areas of the game that devolve into simple platformers which require precise jumps which is something the controls don’t always allow.
Also, after the first level of the game, you’ve seen absolutely everything there is to see. Afterwards all the game has to offer are different backgrounds. The story is pretty none existent in the game. Everything I wrote in the first paragraph comes from the instruction booklet. You get a 15 second cutscene between each level that does nothing but set up the following level. Really in the game itself the story seems little more that “watch Bruce Willis blow up demons and shit for ten hours”. That’s not totally a bad thing but there seemed to be a cool story below the surface that never ends up being explored. Even the ending (which you’ll see fairly soon, the game is super short) lasts only about 10 seconds and explains nothing.
The only variety at all comes from the camera as crazy as that sounds. You have absolutely no control over it which is usually bad, but here it’s by design. Most of the time it stays behind you making the game a standard third person actioner. Other times it pans out directly over head given the game a certain Smash TV feel to it as you slaughter countless baddies. And then at other times it pans out to the side turning the game into a side scrolling shooter. Unfortunately, the controls remain the same for each different type which leads to lots of needless deaths in the middle of camera shifts. Still, I thought it was a pretty novel idea.
And that’s all there is to say about this one. It’s mediocre in ever way and you would never have known it existed if it wasn’t for Mr. Willis. It’s certainly not a must have but if you’re interested in how John McClane would act if demons invaded New York instead of terrorists (Editor’s note: I imagine John McClane would laugh at a demon and then insult its momma) then this game is for you. It’s essentially a “what if Die Hard was in the Bible” story. And it’s only like six bucks on eBay.