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ups: platforming action, strong woman heroine, great voice acting, interesting disconnected storylines
downs: disconnected storylines, finicky controls at points, some inferior graphic segments

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Aeon Flux
game: Aeon Flux
three star
posted by: Laurie Taylor
publisher: Majesco Games
developer: Terminal Reality
view related website
ESRB rating: T (Teen)
date posted: 01:42 AM Sat Dec 3rd, 2005
last revision: 12:56 AM Sat Dec 3rd, 2005

Click to read.In many ways, Aeon Flux is exactly what the gaming market needs-a game with excellent graphics that offers an easy learning curve for early game play, requires finesses for later game play, and is played through a high-powered heroine. Although Aeon Flux in many ways succeeds as a dynamic and well-executed platformer, it falters as a longer action-adventure game. The stumble occurs in part because of its overambitious approach to integrating the history of Aeon Flux within a single game and in part because of graphical and game play limitations. Even with its minor slips, Aeon Flux is one of the better film-related games, and a solid game in its right.

Aeon Flux is essentially a platformer set in a sci-fi dystopian future where the world has been reduced to a wasteland, except for the seemingly ideal city of Bregna. That seemingly perfect world is ruled by Trevor Goodchild who supports his society at the expense of its people. Unlike most games set in dystopian worlds Aeon Flux eschews the Matrix-style gritty-punk, darkened imagery in favor of bright, colorful imagery based on the original Aeon Flux television show. Aeon and Trevor also have a witty rapport as they did on the show-backed by some of the best voice acting around. Aeon Flux\'s graphics in general are stellar, and that\'s something to be said given the bright colors and multitude of objects on the screen at any given moment. Aeon herself looks fabulous as she performs various acrobatic moves-she resembles Shinobi\'s grace and even has a matching red light on her back that occasionally leaves light trails, mirroring Shinobi\'s trailing cape. Aeon Flux succeeds with fluid game play, some excellent graphics, and solid voice acting. Because of these aspects, most players will almost certainly enjoy the first few game levels. Yet, soon after Aeon Flux\'s background from other media hinders Aeon Flux, as a game, from being as enjoyable as it could be.

Aeon Flux the game begins with one of Peter Chung\'s animated sequences from the original Aeon Flux animated series. For those not familiar with the series, some information on it aids in making sense of the Aeon Flux\'s nonlinear narrative and in Aeon\'s Flux\'s artistic style. As a television show, Aeon Flux began as part of MTV\'s Liquid Television program, which sought to satirize other television programs. Aeon Flux satirized action shows and its popularity eventually paved the way for an independent Aeon Flux television show, and now for the film and game.

From its televised origins, the game Aeon Flux draws on both the original series and on the upcoming film with Charlize Theron to, oddly enough, fuse a satire of traditional action shows with an action film. The Aeon Flux game retains elements of the film by using Charlie Theron\'s voice and face for the main character and by presenting a more familiar action film sort of narrative. However, the Aeon Flux game also utilizes elements from the show, such as the episodic and nonlinear overall format.

Each of the Aeon Flux television shows acted as separate units and did not flow neatly together. Similarly the game Aeon Flux has seven chapters that exist as related, but not clearly connected elements. This is important because most games, like most films, have a linear progression where the earlier segments build into the later segments. The disconnected segments may confuse and frustrate players, especially since Aeon does not gain additional abilities in the different segments so mastery of the basic skills account for the entirety of game play. In fact, in the show Aeon would often die only to appear again in the next show, and the game includes this death cycle which is almost certain to be confusing. The Aeon Flux game also utilizes several of the show\'s plots for the individual segments, as well as familiar characters like Trevor Goodchild from the show and the film. As a game, Aeon Flux also retains some of the overt sexuality from the show-a nice and non-gratuitous use of sexuality that isn\'t found in many games. In all, because the game Aeon Flux\'s narrative is rather disjointed, it may not make much sense to those unfamiliar with the television series while these components may enrich the game for those familiar with the series. While imperfectly implemented, the discontinuity between the segments could have been a boon in terms of innovation and stimulation of interest if the game had provided more backstory or in some way connected the elements for players unfamiliar with the series.

In terms of game play, Aeon Flux is perhaps most like BloodRayne, since both are made by Terminal Reality and Aeon Flux is built on the same engine as BloodRayne. As in BloodRayne, Aeon\'s title character looks similarly fabulous in motion, running, jumping from pole to pole, rolling, darting, and using spider bombs to open new areas. While the story narrates Aeon hacking into computers, the game play relies on simple controls to perform any of the actions. In other segments, Aeon rolls into a ball akin to Samus, rolling through areas before emerging for more acrobatics. While the motion generally looks fabulous, at points the graphics are blocky and Aeon can get stuck for short periods of time. Likewise, the controls are generally quite simple, but are overly difficult at other points. The difficulty provides a nice challenge in some segments; however, the controls are often finicky, and are more frustrating than rewarding.

The generally excellent graphics and relatively solid game play take place within a highly stylized game world. The futuristically bright colors and sleek graphics make for interesting visuals, but at times the bright colors can make executing certain jumps confusing. Further, while Aeon Flux takes place in the city of Bregna and its surrounding areas, each area varies enough to be visually appealing. While the background is well designed, the enemies are extremely blocky, which takes away from the other more finished graphics.

Given the overall quality of Aeon Flux, the uneven visual and game play elements will leave most players wanting. Additionally, many players will find the discontinuity between play segments confusing and frustrating. But, those familiar with the original Aeon Flux series or those looking for a challenging platformer will find several hours of interesting-and at points excellent-game play. Overall, the Aeon Flux game stands shakily on its own merits, which is something most games based on movies-and even many games-can\'t say. For those familiar with the series, Aeon Flux is an interesting translation. Those unfamiliar with the series may want to skip the game and instead opt to skim through the Aeon Flux website ( http://www.aeonflux.com/ ), particularly the interactive comic on the website, to see exactly how Aeon Flux operates as a traditional game while subverting many traditional aspects.

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