by Vivendi Universal Games
It's not often we get a game that's based on an obsolete TV program yet that is exactly what we have here. Dark Angel only lasted two seasons in the US before being given the chop. The game puts you in the role of Max, a super Android if you will, that was created by the military in order to be used as a weapon but who escaped their evil clutches. If you've watched the TV program then you'll know the story but even if you haven't you aren't really going to miss out on anything in the game. The game begins in a kind of post apocalyptic Seattle with a city full of enemies and only Logan as a source of advice.
Imagine a game that contained elements of Urban Chaos, Max Payne and Splinter Cell. It's a mix that seems just too improbable. Dark Angel appears to contain elements of all these three games and I suppose in theory the idea has a lot of potential but it's just not realised. Run around the streets, beat up enemies, get key cards to open gates or indeed obtaining a lighter to create an escape route by way of exploding fuel cans etc. There is little use for stealth, at least stealth as we've experienced in Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid 2.
Max is rather useful with her fists and this is the primary method that you'll use to dispatch your enemies. Other items can be acquired as you progress but these have limited uses and you'll often resort to simply punching or kicking. There's a good amount of combo moves to add variety to the combat and Max can even enter rage mode to despatch those enemies that little bit quicker. You even get the occasional 'bullet-time' like slow motion moments like you did in Max Payne although it's not so impressive.
Visually it's fair to describe the game as run of the mill. The graphics do their job but they are in no way impressive. The atmosphere for most of the game is gloomy as most of the levels are dimly lit and it's fair to say that some levels look very similar to others which also adds to the repetitive nature of the game. The camera is generally fine but there are times when it goes a little crazy and it's difficult to see what's going on. These instances are not common though but nevertheless they will tick you off when they occur.
Dark Angel is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to being suitable for deaf gamers. On the plus side the game provides subtitles for all the games' instructions such as comments from Logan, mission briefings and objectives and as a result you will be able to play the game without too much difficulty. There aren't any subtitles for the speech from your enemies though, so you'll be unaware of enemies that are around the corner and generally out of sight. During missions you'll get transmissions from Logan. You are visually notified of these and when you press your select button you are given them in text so again this is another plus point for the game. The game comes with some extras. Some of these are fine for deaf gamers whilst others are not. There's a photo gallery of Jessica Alba, the actress who played as Max in the TV show, which of course causes no problems and there are also 2 chapters from the 'Before the Dawn' novel which is of course completely in text. The DVD trailer, Cast interviews and scenes from the Japanese tour are not subtitled and therefore are pretty useless for deaf people.
Dark Angel is an average game all in all that won't really appeal unless you're a fan of the TV show. No one part of the game is particularly outstanding whilst in the same way there's nothing especially poor. The big disappointments come in the shape of repetitive gameplay, poor enemy AI, poor graphics and the fact that you could finish it in a couple of nights play.
Game Rating: 5.7/10