|The Apocalypse is coming. An evil preacher
calling himself the Reverend has indoctrinated the society into his cult. He is
singlehandedly bringing about doomsday, and there's only one person who can stop him:
Aside from the disturbing notion that Bruce Willis is our only hope, Apocalypse is a great first major video game vehicle for a Hollywood celebrity on the Playstation. PC games have been doing this for ages. Kirk Cameron, Dennis Hopper, Tia Carrerre all of Hollywood's whores have jumped on the video game bandwagon. So this title means one of two things: Either the video game is now a valid way for actors to express themselves, or Bruce Willis is on his way out.
In Apocalypse, Willis plays Trey (but you never really think of the character as anything except Bruce Willis), a nanotech scientist trying to save the world. He has perfected microscopic technologies, and the Reverend has discovered this. The Reverend sends his goons to throw Bruce in jail and steal the technology for his own evil purposes. The game starts as Bruce escapes from prison. What he doesn't know is that the Reverend has begun to use the nanotechnology to begin his apocalypse, transforming innocent citizens and cultists into horrible doomsday servants.
And what do we expect from a game starring Bruce Willis? Witty dialogue? Maybe. Foxy co-stars? Maybe. Mind-bending puzzles? Maybe you haven't seen all of Bruce's movies yet. Big guns and lots of shooting? Oh yeah, baby.
Apocalypse is a SHOOT-EM-UP. There's no doubt about it. You run, jump and shoot. Bruce makes witty little quips like, "You want some? How 'bout you?" and "Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out!" He even yells at the player things like, "Can't you pull the trigger any faster?" There are supposed to be something like 60 original lines of dialogue, but I kept hearing the same smart-ass remarks over and over. I would much rather have the game talk less with less repetition, but you Die Hard fans will feel right at home.
Of course there's a foxy co-star. The pop music semi-star, Poe, stars as Willis's former girlfriend who runs a club in the middle of the cemetary. Poe has a song on the soundtrack and speaks some three lines of dialogue, then you blow her up because she's been warped into the first horseman of the apocalypse by the Reverend.
That's pretty much how things go in Apocalypse: Everybody you meet is warped into another horseman covering Plague, War, Death and the Beast, and you must kill them before they wipe out humanity. Bruce makes his way out of the prison, through the sewers, across the city and into the bowels of the White House. The president is the Beast, and the Oval Office gives way to a rotating pentagram on a lake of lava. You run, jump and shoot your way to the bad guys at the end of each of the seven main levels, then you run, jump and shoot your way past them. Did I mention there's a lot of shooting?
The graphics are great. There's no clipping or pixelization, and all of the scenery and objects look cool. It's amazing how accurately they captured Bruce Willis's face. According to the press pack, this was a major undertaking. The FMV sequences are short, but pretty. Throughout the game there's only ten minutes of movie sequences, and the remainder is running and jumping and shooting.
If you get sick of running, jumping and shooting, Neversoft has been kind enough to place billboards with music videos playing on them at various stages in the game. You can pause and watch a video from Poe, Cirrus, Snot, System of a Down, or Gearwhore. All of the tunes are that techno-pop-alt-rock crap they love to stick on video games these days, and they only put little clips of the videos in the game, then loop them, which doesn't help the music at all.
The major drawback of the game is that your character is usually so small. This changes depending on level and scene, because it is a 3D environment, but quite often during the game, especially when a lot of stuff is shooting at you, it's easy to lose track of your tiny little character. This is a game that could really benefit from a "Big Heads" code.
The second big drawback is the brevity of the game. Although there are eleven levels, four of them are just fighting the level bosses. The remaining seven are fun and all, but short. It took me less than eight hours to defeat the game, which is short. There are different difficulty levels and all, and the game is not entirely easy, but I think the replayability on Apocalypse just isn't there. By the end of the game you're sick of hearing Bruce, you feel all icky because your friends are making fun of you playing Bruce, and you've seen everything the game has to offer.
Overall, I can highly recommend renting or borrowing this game. If you can pick up a used copy cheap, and if you like really straightforward shooting games, this is a great way to waste a couple of afternoons. But if you have to shell out $49.95 for this game, you're going to be pissed.
-- Shawn Rider