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The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay Review

Developer: Seabreeze Studios Publisher: VU Games
Release Date: December 7, 2004 Also On: PC and Xbox

Movie licensed games have never exactly been the cream of the crop, so I didn’t expect much from Riddick. Occasionally, a great movie could result in an okay game, but with Riddick’s movie bombing in theaters, I expected a horrible, horrible game. To my surprise, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay freaking rules. First, let’s start with the obvious. The graphics are amazing. Even today, in 2006, the graphics are simply better than what’s out there. Riddick looks like Vin Diesel, and the depths of Butcher Bay are dark and grimy. When people take damage, it shows. If you punch someone, they bruise, or bleed. If you shoot them, they take gunshot wounds. There simply is not enough to be said about the graphics. They are the best of the best.

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As far as sound, it’s great as well. It features dramatic tracks from the movie, as well as original pieces. The only real downside to the music is the fact that you’ll hear the same theme song played a lot of times throughout the game. On the other side of the audio, the voice acting, is again top-notch, as the actors from the movie lend their talents to the game. Each character is unique and has a distinct voice. But not only are their voices unique, each character in the game has a unique 3D model, voice, and texture. The only time you see the same character twice is if you go back to the same person twice.

Gameplay-wise, this is far from the norm as far as the FPS genre goes. For starters, you’re in a prison; so you won’t be packing a nine. You start by learning the basics of the engine; snapping necks, punching, blocking. You quickly earn your ranks among the inmates by participating in structured fights, and smuggling weapons such as shivs and screwdrivers, bats, knuckle dusters, etc. As you being to escape, you gain access to shotguns, assault rifles, grenades, tranquilizers, chain guns, and pistols. Just when you are telling yourself “wow�, this game must be short, you get captured and thrown back in prison, and must think of another way out. To avoid completely spoiling the game, I’ll just tell you the highlights:

You get to drive riot control robots, you get to plant bombs, you gain eyeshine (like nightvision), among other things. There are demon-like creatures in addition to the guards, which add variety, and there are mini-bosses and bosses. Many games suffer from a storyline which is too straightforward, and although Riddick has one main storyline, there are a variety of optional side missions. For instance, you may talk to an inmate who mentions that someone owes him money; so if you kill that person, you could be given money which you can use to buy a shiv which can help you win the fights. Although the system requirements are a little bit high, this really is the game for everyone. It’s got the intensity of the best of the FPS genre, and a lot of creativity. If you are a fan of good games, give this game a good look.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 8.5
Written by Dave Review Guide