Review by Gizamaluke7377
"Soap is slippery, even in the future"
Movie licensed games usually don't turn out that great. Sure there are the great ones, like Goldeneye, but the ratio is sided more towards the crap pile. With the upcoming movie, The Chronicles of Riddick, the sequel to Pitch Black, a game was to be made along side the movie. The developers of this heavily hyped title are Starbreeze, the same guys behind the sadly neglected Enclave. Will Riddick make a good movie licensed game, or will it be one to just throw in the pile of other bad games? Find out in my review of The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay.
Butcher Bay - the toughest slam in the system. Never had one inmate escape... but then they've never met Riddick. Just because this is the deadliest prison in the galaxy won't hold Riddick back. He doesn't care who gets in his way. He's not staying in this crap hole. Your mission: A. Escape from Butcher Bay; B. Don't drop the soap. Make B the primary objective, trust me. Rather then be directly based on the upcoming movie, The Chronicles of Riddick, it is a prequel to the movie that was Vin Diesel's first staring role. That movie is Pitch Black, a sci-fi movie made in the year 2000 about aliens that could...well... see in the dark. Escape from Butcher Bay explains how Richard B. Riddick escaped from Butcher Bay and gained his eyeshine (more on that later), leading up to Pitch Black. You of course play as Riddick. Let me tell you, his middle initial B must stand for badass, because this guy is the baddest character I've ever played as.
Know how some movie-licensed games feel generic with the movie's look and characters plastered on? Well Riddick does the complete opposite. Never before has a movie game immersed you so much. You actually feel like you are playing as Vin Diesel in a movie.
When you think Vin Diesel, what kind of movies do you think of? Action, action, and more action. Riddick, while suppling a great amount of action, isn't a mindless run-n'-gun shooter. In a way it actually takes the genres of action, stealth, and adventure/RPG and smashes it all into one game. If you feel like it, you can just bust into a room, cap all the *****es in there, and continue on. Not in the mood? You can also shoot out the lights, use your eyeshine to navigate through the dark, either avoiding the guards, or snapping all their necks... stealthfully. If you've never seen Pitch Black, you probably have no clue as to what eyeshine is. Basically, if you haven't guessed yet, Riddick gains the special ability to see in the dark. You don't have it at the very beginning of the game, but you get it fairly early on. Where does the RPG/Adventure element come in? Well you can travel around throughout the prision, talking to the inmates, doing favors for them. It makes for a nice change of pace from the dominating action aspect of The Chronicles of Riddick.
Unlike most shooters, Riddick has no HUD. Weird? Not really. By not having a HUD, it really increases the feeling that you're Vin Diesel in this game. How do you know your current status? Well, when you're hit, your heath appears, showing your current health. Your current ammo count is handled by having a screen on the guns showing your current bullet count, just like the Assault Rifle in Halo. There is no targeting reticle in The Chronicles of Riddick. Every gun has a laser sight on it, which makes up for the reticle. These little things make it feel more like you're in a movie rather then just a game.
Now on to the part I'm sure you all want to hear about: Combat. The fighting in Riddick is surprisingly deep. A huge leap over most first-person shooters, but not quite as deep as Breakdown. While unarmed, pressing the right trigger will make Riddick throw punches at his foe. Moving the thumbstick in different directions will allow you to use different moves, such as uppercuts, or smacking your adversary left and right continuously. Guns work just like any other shooter. Squeezing the R button will fire your weapon as I'm sure you guessed. The L button will have Riddick melee attack with his selected gun. Now, the amount of guns isn't all that impressive. More then Breakdown's measly selection of weaponry, which isn't hard to do, but way less then the likes of Perfect Dark. It's more around Halo's range of weapons. Charge into battle unarmed against a foe packed with guns? One of Riddick's most exciting features is the ability to counter a enemy's attack. Say a guard is about to hit you with the butt of his gun, Riddick, by pressing the R trigger at the right time, will grab the guard's gun, turn it around, put it to his neck, and... you can guess what happens next. It doesn't only apply to guns, if a guy runs at you with a shiv, you can counter that as well. Stepping to the side, grabbing his shiv and cutting his neck open with it. Keep in mind it's not the easiest thing in the world to do as it requires precise timing. Now you don't always have to take down your enemies in a running, gunning fashion. You can actually sneak up behind the person you want to kill, and depending on what weapon you are wielding, execute them. Barehanded, you simply crack their neck like a defenseless little kitten. I won't spoil all the different stealth kills, because half of he fun is discovering them for yourself. My favorite is with the club. I won't tell you what Riddick does, but let me tell you that the excessiveness of it is delicious.
Riddick's most jaw dropping aspect is the graphics. The graphics in Riddick look so amazing, it's even comparable to Doom 3. Yes, it looks that good. Remember how James Bond in Everything or Nothing looked just like Pierce Brosnan? Well Riddick looks practically exactly like Vin Diesel. It's so real looking it's scary. Everything else in Escape from Butcher Bay looks just as amazing. The details on every character and the environments is simply breathtaking. Easily the best looking game on the Xbox, even better then Halo 2 in some ways. I kid you not. You can easily get side tracked, just looking at everything in the room, marveling at how exceptional it looks. Every character has his own individual look, so no two characters, not even inmates, look the same. There's a few graphical clippings at some points, and some of the cutscenes can get a bit blurry, but it's nothing that ruins the game.
If there's one thing that will make me remember Riddick, is it's amazing soundtrack. The quality of the music sounds like something you would find in the movies. In fact, some of the music sounds almost exactly like the Pirates of the Carribean music. The only problem is there isn't much variation to the tracks. Now on to the voice acting. I usually complain about the voices if you notice, because many games do a very sloppy job on them, but I have nothing in Riddick to complain about. Not only is all the voice acting great, but unique for every character. That's right, every character, even the inmates, have a different voice. The only exception to this is the guards. They all sound alike. Vin Diesel not only lent his likeness for The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, but he also does the voice over for Riddick. Most of the main characters are actually voiced by real actors, so you won't find any lame speech in this game.
Overall, Riddick is an amazing experience that everyone should enjoy. The only problem is as soon as you are really getting into the game... it's over. Yes, Escape from Butcher Bay is a short but sweet experience. There is incentive to replay the game, as there are little hidden packs of cigarettes scattered throughout the prison and on different inmates that you can collect. Why? Collecting the cigs unlocks many extras in Riddick. You can unlock concept art, movie stills, trailers and even movies of Escape from Butcher Bay when it was actually called Pitch Black. The leap it made from then to now is amazing. If you are a Xbox owner and are hankering for a new shooter, Riddick is the game to get. Easily one of the Xbox's best games.
Overall Score: 9/10
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/07/04
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