Enter the Matrix
Atari's Enter the Matrix has been hyped more than the Moon landing and cost more to make happen too. But is any of it justified? Not quite. Find out why.
PS2, GCN, Xbox
By Rick Larson
Enter the Matrix has been hyped like no licenced videogame before - it's impossible to have seen a plug for the film, without a mention to the game following straight after. With the hype came high expectations. Frankly, this game was far too hyped for its own good. Not to say it's a bad game - far from it. The Wachowski Brothers even took the lead in 'making' the game in order to make it as good as it could be well staying true to the storyline. Sadly, and most likely due to a strict release date, the game seems to have only made it partly out of the rabbit hole.
If there was one thing that this game was missing it would be polish. The game just feels unfinished which is quite sad considering the budget they slapped on to this project. Shiny went to great lengths to make this game outstanding but seem to have just gotten completely cut off towards the end. Some levels seem to be there just to fill in space. Others seem to not even function properly and often cause confusion on exactly what is going on (particularly in Ghosts car chase shooting scenes). To make matters even worse the game is full of bugs - varying from console to console.
The game leaves players to pick from either Ghost or Niobe to start their quest. The two characters offer a mix of their own levels, and areas they share. Either way, your role is to aid Morpheus, Neo, Trinity, and several other members of resistance against the machines. The game story unfolds both in cutscenes from the movie (which is an extra hour of footage not shown in the movie) and in-game cutscenes. The game stays very close to the events as a movie but has enough of its own plot to stay separate. The story overall is great.
When it comes to gameplay this game can be a blast. The hand-to-hand combat and gunfights are often awesome. Though the controls can be irritating at times - particularly your ability to look around whilst moving - it has an easy learning curve that will take about an hour to get used to at most. In no time at all gamers will be able to run up a wall, do a back flip, snap an enemy's neck, turn around and steal a guard's shot gun, and quickly blasting them in the face.
That little combo becomes relatively easy after only a few tries and is impressive to watch. It feels like a scene directly out of the movie. Motion capturing allowed these actions to come out extremely fluid and life like. With the added focus (bullet time), gamers can dodge bullets and do some amazing moves all in slow mo rendering an awesome scene.
The quality of the sound in ETM is ranking up there with the movies themselves. The background music is perfectly fitting and much of it comes straight from the film. There is also some techno and metal thrown in there that adds to the experience. The guns all have their own distinct sound, and blasts often echo throughout the buildings or sewers. With the added DD5.1 on the Xbox version, the game sounds even more stunning.
The graphics department is kind of a mixed bag. At points the game can look outstanding but at others it looks horrendous - often within the same level. The character models are the best part of ETM visually, really resembling their real life counterparts. The backgrounds seem to vary - certain levels look very realistic while others look dull and plain. One scene that really shows this contrast in the Control Tower mission for Ghost - The control tower itself looks nicely done and has destructible environments.
When you have to snipe the tire of an airplane from the tower you can see the contrast just by looking out the window. The entire outside environment is black. You can barely tell the plane is on a runway. Even worse, the entire plane is just a tube with wings and tiny wheels all made of the same color. When it switches to the cutscene it looks much better. This type of stuff happens far too often, and can get tiresome. It's what you'd expect to see in the earliest Beta code of a game.
If just a little more time was put into ETM, it could have been so much more. I enjoyed it while it lasted. There is even a hacking section which allows you to cheat and find information on different characters in the game. It adds a little twist to the game but will only take about twenty to thirty minutes tops to see almost everything it has to offer. That makes the game about six or seven hours long. The downfalls really do hurt the game but some of the fight scenes will make you forget all about the problems.
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Enter the Matrix
Atari's massive videogame release is here. Here's some footage from the GameCube version.
|1.28 min||9.79 MB||MPG|