Tuesday, October 6, 2015

VGR Darkman (NES)

And we're back,

This time we go back to the past, to play a not-so shitty game that doesn't really suck ass.

Friday the 13th series - Friday the 13th (2009)
Book One (Wildstorm) - Book TwoFriday the 13th (Avatar Press)
Jason vs Leatherface / Freddy vs Jason
Elm Street series - A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (WildStorm)A Nightmare on Elm Street (Avatar Press)
Halloween series - Halloween (2007) - HII (2009)
Halloween (Chaos! Comics)
One Good Scare - NightDance - 30 Years of TerrorThe First Death of Laurie Strode
Final Exam
Silent Night, Deadly Night series - Part 1 &2 - Silent Night (2012)
Pumpkinhead 1
Chucky series - Curse of Chucky / Chucky (Devil's Due Publishing)
Candyman series
 Re-Animator series
Hatchet 1Hatchet 2Hatchet 3
Hack/Slash: My First Maniac - Me Without You - Omnibus Vol. 1 - Friday the 31st
Series 1 (DDP)Hack/Slash Meets Zombies Vs CheerleadersHack/Slash/Nailbiter - Series 2 (Image)
Revival Vol. 1 - Vol. 2 - Vol. 3
Tucker & Dale / Cabin in the Woods
Darkman series
It's Alive series
Gremlins - Gremlins 2: The New BatchCritters seriesTremors series
The Faculty / James Gunn's Slither
"Nada" and other scifi horror talesJohn Carpenter's They Live
 Troll 2
The Thing from Another World"Who Goes There?" and other scifi classics
John Carpenter's The Thing
The Thing from Another World (Dark Horse Comics)Climate of FearEternal Vows
John Carpenter's Prince of DarknessJohn Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness
 John Carpenter's Village of the Damned
Jacob's LadderSession 9John Carpenter's The WardEvent Horizon
DeepStar Six / Leviathan / Lords of the Deep / The Evil BelowThe Abyss
Deep Blue Sea

VGR: Darkman (NES) or Darkman (1991)
From Painting By Numbers/Ocean Software
Played on NES
Also available on Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, Game Boy, ZX Spectrum and Atari ST.

Type Sidescroller platform/action game
Year 1991

Remember Darkman? That cult superhero-ysh kind of horror flick Sam Raimi made in between Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness?

What? No?? You dare...! Well, go catch up the films before. I find them perfectly appropriate for this time of the year. Not too late into October so it's not a problem it's not actually an horror film. But it's more of an action/superhero film filmed in the exact same style of an horror film, Sam Raimi's signature style.

Anyways, believe it or not this short lived film series (one theatrical episode, and two decent direct-to-video sequels) even received a video game adaptation by Ocean Software.

It was made by the exact same development team that made their RoboCop 2 game (that review's also coming up, promise!), it seems. In fact both games share the exact same engine (and a few sprites).

The plot follows more or less the story of the 1990 cult movie. It's a pretty lose "video game-style" adaptation, although the end tries to stick closer to the film's climax.

You play as the titular "Darkman", Peyton Westlake. A scientist that was left for dead, burned in an explosion in his lab. Now he's seeking is revenge against the mob boss Robert G. Durant who was responsible for all his problems.

Peyton was working on a miraculous artificial skin, which he now uses to hide and disguise himself. And the shock combined with an experimental treatment he went through made Peyton invincible to pain and also kind of super-strong.

You're not familiar with the film? Don't worry! The game has the kindness to offer a quick summary of the film's plot right in the main menu through awesome 8-bit graphics! How nice of them!

Not exactly what you think...

Since it was based on Ocean's Robocop games, the gameplay is fairly standard. It's a sidescrolling action game with a lot of platform. In fact I would say the main gameplay is pretty close to the original old school Castlevania games, before they added all the Metroid-esque level design and the RPG elements.

Darkman can jump and kind of-punch. Kind of because his attacks are pretty ineffective and hard to hit anything with.

Darkman also appears to be one of the earliest parkour enthusiast of gaming, as he can apparently gain momentum while running and even climb walls and ledges!! Take that, Assassin's Creed!

After the introduction level, you will start each level disguised as the boss of said stage. The goal is to finish the stages before the mask dissolves - just like in the movie!! When you get a disguise you will get the different attacks of these enemies. It's an original way to implement the plot device of the film into the gameplay. Although these masks don't seem to hide you much since everyone is still after you.

The game is not that long, you start in the city, go through a forest, a weird funhouse stage, Chinatown only to finally reach the half-built skyscraper from the end of the film.

The more time goes by, the weirder and more abstract the game becomes. I mean the woods already seem pretty strange for Darkman, but the funhouse feels like some recycled level from another game they were working on.

Every now and then, you get a few odd levels to change the pace from time to time.

To get new masks, you will get a shooting stage where the idea isn't to kill people but to take photographs! You receive a specific target and then you need to "shoot" him to capture his face.

The better your aim, the more time you're allowed to complete the following stage.

The second form of special stage is an helicopter ride just like in that one scene from the film. Darkman is hanging on a rope and the objective is to collect as many items while avoiding the traffic below.

With the final stage on the building, it's nice to see there's a few elements actually faithful to the motion picture!

The game was actually super easy. And it's really, really short.

Granted, there are some tricky sequences. The physics always seem off. You need some speed before jumping from ledges, whenever they're too far off. And fighting is pretty bad at first, you must avoid mashing the buttons since Peyton doesn't seem to know how to throw a punch. The best idea is to try knocking your foes off the ledges.

The idea to have the masks break is original, but it's really just a time limit. And I would have loved to see the masks better implemented or actually used to hide in plain sight.

The levels are super short. And the visuals are kinda pretty bad. The game starts decent enough but it gets really strangely colored later on, 8-bit or not. They made some really odd choices for colors. -

The hit detection is imprecise and the controls are kind of sloppy. But nothing too difficult really.

The music was easily the best part of the entire game. Probably some of the best music the NES pulled off.

It's fun and decent, it could have been so much worse.

Overall, Darkman is a pretty decent title for the NES.

The game doesn't aspire to much. It takes a ton of liberties from the film (seriously what was that forest and funhouse stages!!?! Did they even watch the film!?), although it tries to take some direct hints from the film in the helicopter ride and the last skyscraper stage.

Definitively Worth a Look if you're a fan of the film.

If anything, it's a licensed NES game that simply doesn't suck too much. The idea is certainly original enough. And for once I'm okay with that.

The game was ported to several 8-bit systems. They didn't strand too far from one another. But I really find the NES version to be the best in terms of controls and visuals.

I give it:
2 / 3 Bruces!

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