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Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis Review

Developer: Lucky Chicken Publisher: TDK Mediactive
Release Date: July 30, 2003 Also On: GCN and Xbox

Sometimes the reputation of a game draws me to it, because the game has such a bad reputation I get a desire to discover if the game is really as bad as it is made out to be. Aquaman is such a game. I have no major interest in Aquaman as a character, and, as I expected, this game did not change my mind in the matter. I went into this game expecting very little, and, as I was soon to find out, very little is exactly what I should have expected. Why do I say this?

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Let’s start with the graphics. They lack detail and look very bland. You’re underwater, but you can’t see any water effects, no air bubbles rising out of any of the characters, not even any sign of coral on the buildings. Yep, the graphics in this game are a fairly bare-bones affair. The ones in the comic panels used to advance the plot between levels though aren’t that bad, although they aren’t great either.

The sound in this game isn’t much to write home about either. The sound effects in the game are passable, but it will get old listening to the “fist hits enemy� sound a hundred times in a level. And since this is a button-mashing beat em’ up, that is exactly what you will be doing. Many actions, like picking something up, don’t even have an accompanying side effect. The music is not particularly good either. Overall, what sound is here is okay, but there isn’t much here to talk about.

The gameplay breaks down into two distinct types of levels. In most levels, you will swim around as Aquaman, following your radar to a group of enemies. Once you reach the group, you will hit a button over and over until they are dead (unless you decide you actually want to use the combos the game gives you, which are completely optional), and then you will move on to follow the radar to the next group of enemies. You do have the option in most of these levels to call sea life in to help you, but it will probably never be really necessary to do so.

Some of these levels try to lessen the repetitiveness by throwing in a secondary objective behind the “find group of enemies and kill them, repeat until end of level� gameplay, such as a level where each group of enemies is guarding a bomb and your objective is actually to find and defuse the bombs by grabbing them with your grappler and throwing them. Funny how the game never mentions exactly how bombs are defused by being grabbed and thrown to the ground. There’s also a level where you have to kill all the enemies before they destroy your palace. For the most part though, it’s just find enemies and kill them; no time limit and little variety.

It should be noted, however, that there actually are multiple types of enemies, not that it matters at all which type you’re facing, as hitting a button repeatedly is all that is really needed to dispatch any of them. The only really annoying factor is that the enemies attack in groups, but Aquaman seems never to have learned group combat. Instead, he will concentrate on one enemy and kill that one enemy while the other enemies in the group shoot at him if they have guns or sometimes even sneak up behind him and whack him over the head. Luckily, the levels are short enough and easy enough that this isn’t enough to make you have to worry about getting killed much.

The other type of levels are submarine levels. The first submarine level is basically a submarine version of the “kill all the bad guys in the level� gameplay, with the only difference being that you have projectile weapons to use so you can keep your distance. The second submarine level though actually revolves around what could be considered a boss battle against an underwater craft created by Black Manta, the bad guy in this game. Ultimately, though, the submarine levels are too few and far between to eliminate the repetitiveness of the other levels, and they aren’t really that much better themselves.

Overall, this is a very poor effort by TDK. Subpar graphics and sound and repetitive gameplay add up to a game that is refreshingly only 21 levels long, with each level taking no more than ten minutes, if that. Still, I doubt you’ll stay interested long enough even to get through that. If you do, your reward is more characters to play through this repetitive game with. I would caution against buying this game at all. If you are a diehard Aquaman fan, though, you may get a little fun out of it.

Graphics: 5
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 4
Creativity: 4
Replay Value/Game Length: 4
Final: 4.2
Written by Martin Review Guide