Review by friendlydude

"Like an inferior, less fun watered-down MDK"

...and TEN times harder

Apocalypse is a below average Playstation game released in 1998 starring none other than Bruce Willis. As the popular story goes, this game was in production for a very long time before the game company (Activision) decided to just release a short version with passable graphics and gameplay. In other words, they pretty much gave up on it. The game certainly has its share of problems. These are, in a couple cases, MAJOR problems that prevent me from suggesting anyone purchase the game.

First of all, I hate the fact that Activision made firing your weapon an absolute chore. Instead of pressing "one" button to fire your weapon like MDK and pretty much every other shooter I've played, you are required to hit FOUR different buttons to fire your weapon in a different direction. Talk about a bad idea. The Square button fires your weapon to the left side of the screen, the Traingle button fires at things in front of you, the Circle button shoots to the right side of the screen, and finally the X button fires at anything behind you.

It was a really bad idea to create the game this way because your hand will *constantly* be jumping around on the Playstation controller trying to figure out which button to press, whenever you come across a situation where you have to face and take out an enemy (which is pretty much for the entire game). For example, your instinct is to press left on the directional pad when an enemy is located to the left of you, but you have to make sure you hit the Square button when finding yourself in this kind of situation and NOT any other button, or you won't be able to successfully kill the enemy. Sometimes enemies are all over the place, which means quickly going from the Square button to take out the bad guys on the left, to the Circle button to take out the bad guys on the right. I can't tell you how much of a pain it seriously is to play the game because of this. ONE BUTTON should have been the fire button. Oh, and probably making the jump button something besides the R1 button would have been a wise move, too.

I guess if there's one bit of positive news here it's that a good portion of the enemies in the first half of the game will be in front of you, so you can just go around holding down the Triangle button. But then we arrive to another problem.

HORRIBLE camera angles. Many times in the game you will have to jump around on these moving or revolving platforms. That in itself is tricky, but then throw in a camera zooming in or out at the WORST possible moments and you have yourself a frustrating experience. In fact, many times the camera turns left or right exactly when you're going around a turn, making platforming jumping an absolute nightmare.

Even though the levels are fairly small and the game's short overall, starting around Level 6 you WILL be in for some of the most frustrating platform jumping you've ever experienced in a video game. All this, and I didn't even mention that when the camera zooms out, the character you control throughout the game turns REALLY small and you can barely even see him! Now THIS is a total nightmare if there ever was one!

Many times you will accidentally jump to your death when you see something to jump on, because the camera will turn at the *exact* moment you're hanging in the air and push you into the lava or black hole or whatever, which means you will die instantly. It is *so* cheap. After dying a million times at Level 10 in extremely cheap ways, I decided it wasn't worth the trouble anymore and pulled the game out of my Playstation and put it in the trashcan.

Let me tell you about Level 10: it starts out innocent enough with laser beams heading in your direction. Soon you will face a few platform jumps as you head to the White House. No big deal. Suddenly the camera zooms out, your character is smaller than a flea, and you're expected to strain your eyes as you jump from one tiny walkway to the other all while trying to stay on solid ground *and* trying to avoid dangerous enemies attempting to kill you off as quickly as possible. While trying to stay positioned on a small walkway you can barely see, and while trying to leap from one to the other, you have to avoid laser beam shots that drain your energy *very* quickly. You can't afford to hesitate. Later on, the platform jumps become *super* painful as the camera seemingly goes through a zooming in and out parade as you try to time your jumps from the platforms that appear to be directly in front of you to the ones that are far away off screen. Many times the platforms aren't where they appear. Yeah, trashcan game. It's not worth getting bent out of shape over.

I also think the enemy animations are extremely lame. When you kill an enemy, they quietly explode into little red balls (indicating blood) and watching these animations personally gives me NO satisfaction at all. Explosions are bland in this game. It probably has something to do with the Playstation being a limited gaming console, but what the game company *should* have done was change the gameplay so 10 enemies aren't coming at you at the same time, and use some of that space on the game disc to create interesting enemy deaths. Unfortunately, by this point into production, Activision didn't seem to care anymore and just wanted to hurry up and release a mediocre game to the public to make some quick cash.

They also made a pretty big mistake making the game so your character says these annoying lines whenever he collects an item or fires a weapon. He repeats some of these lines over and over, and game companies need to realize that fast-paced action games require lots of fast-moving action in order to make progress, and so your playable character saying the same silly lines over and over again will just become annoying after a while. That's what happened here. It's not worth it.

I'll give the game company SOME credit for at least trying to make some of the levels look detailed and stand out compared to other levels (such as a cool-looking graveyard stage) but none of this is really worth putting up with the frustration you will encounter for the majority of the game. A platform-jumping nightmare. I can't put it any other way. Apocalypse just isn't a game that held up well through the years. Even though the graphics and music is pretty respectable overall, it just isn't enough to make up for the games many faults.

MDK avoided every single one of the problems I mention above. MDK is also a much bigger and more exciting game, too. So I seriously recommend you buy MDK and forget about this game altogether. You're not missing anything.


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 07/17/07


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