Aeon Flux
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox, PS2
Publisher
Majesco
Developer
Terminal Reality
Genre
Action/Shooter
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Nice platforming elements
• Aeon Flux looks like Charlize Theron
• Animation is smooth and fast

The Bad

• In game camera is inconsistent
• Game is linear and gadgets are only for certain spots
• Melee combat can be hit or miss and there's not enough ammo for the guns

 
Grade
C+

There must be an unwritten rule in the industry that any movie based on a comic book or cartoon must have a videogame pushed out at the same time. With little marketing, Terminal Reality has sneaked out a game based on the Aeon Flux movie starring Charlize Theron. The original Aeon Flux was a cartoon that aired on MTV some years ago, featuring a Totalitarian utopia that's far more sinister than appearances lead one to believe. Its star was a stealthy operative who was always sent on some kind of mission to undermine the government. The game is played out in small episodes that act as a bridge between the original series and the movie. Each chapter provides a different part of the overall story and you'll find the smaller story sequences prove to be a nice approach to storytelling, especially considering that they're trying to follow the way the television series was produced.

Players control Aeon with the two control sticks, not unlike most third person shooters (Max Payne, Bloodrayne). The A Button serves a the jump button and if you hit it while near a ledge, you'll perform a cool flip over the edge. Not unlike the Bloodrayne series, Aeon Flux has a lot of swift jumping actions and you'll be expected to perform some acrobatics, leaping from pole to pole. Hitting the A Button and then the B Button allows you to jump through higher openings. You can also wall run and when running directly up walls, you can grab ledges and either pull yourself up or move along the ledge. From the smoothness of the animation, you can really tell that the acrobatics are an integral part of the game. Which is pretty important as you'll be spending some time in jumping puzzles.

The further you progress into the game, the more actions and abilities you'll find you have. In certain locations, you can use the Black Button to use a grappling hook line to zip down from heights. This same grappling hook can be used to reach certain ledges. When an enemy is standing along a ledge, you can yank them down. There will be times where you'll have to do non-combat or acrobatic actions, like when Aeon has to get into a metal ball and roll through barriers to get to other parts of a level that would be blocked off to her. And, from time to time, you'll need to use ORBs, small metal robots that you must control into ports to open doors or disable turrets.

When it comes to action, you can use the X Button to kick objects. The X and Y Buttons can be used for combat and can even be strung together in combos. As you perform attacks, your Style meter will fill. During melee combat, hit the B Button to block and if you time it right you can pull off a counterattack. When holding the B Button, you can use the Left analog stick to evade. Once you've beaten your enemy into the red, you can use the Left Trigger in combination with the face buttons to pull off a Takedown attack, like Throwing the enemy, recovering health or planting a spiderbomb. To fire your gun, hit the Right Trigger when facing an enemy. Since the gun auto-aims, you basically can just hold down the trigger until the opponent dies and move on. Or rather, I should say that you could do this, but as you progress, you'll realize a lack of ammo and some enemies take more than some ammo tossed at them to die. As you progress, though, you will get access to a couple different types of ammo for the gun (which is known as the FUG), including Flechettes, Shockwave, and Magma, which can be switched by using the D-Pad.

From a visual standpoint, Aeon Flux flirts at being great, but stumbles. The opening CG sequence is an awesome treat and shows off a lot of high-quality action. After that, though, the in-game graphics take a noticeable step back. The industrial locations the game is set in have some nice details and adequate lighting and texture work, but none of them really compare with some of the top notch games offered by the likes of Team Ninja and Capcom. A lot of the level designs (when not in jumping puzzles) are pretty standard futuristic stuff, littered with a lot of neon. Aeon looks pretty good on her own and from time to time, it looks like just like Charlize. A lot of work has gone into making the animation smooth and it does help. Most of the NPC models look pretty bland and could use a lot of work to get them in the same class as Aeon. When you starting having to deal with enemies, you're really going to wish there was a higher variety.

The music is composed of house/dance techno, which is nothing stellar but works for the futuristic themes found in the game. If you don't like the genre, you might find yourself bored by the repetition. The voice work is good enough to not be a detriment to the game. Having Charlize actually provide her voice to the game is a nice bonus that ties it well with the movie. Sound effects are your standard sci-fi lot, but, much like the music, work well within the confines of the game's concept.

While the action is pretty quick and smooth, there are some serious rough edges found in the game. First and foremost is the in-game camera - I have to wonder why the camera is sometimes limited and sometimes set free to your control. It proves to be disorienting to have horse blinders tossed onto you in certain areas. It's really a shame that most of the game is "on a rail". You'll quickly find that you can only use your grappling hook and gadgets on certain spots in the game, which completely discourages any kind of exploration. But that's not to say that there's much to go looking for as the game's path is pretty straightforward. Finally, I have to say that the melee combat proves to be harder than it should largely because there's no means to lock onto an enemy, leaving you to flail about and hope to not get beaten down by your enemies. This wouldn't be much of a problem if there was enough ammo laying about, but you're often given just a minor ration of that to survive on.

If you're a fan of the cartoon series, this game proves to be a nice diversion. The action is fun, if a bit monotonous when it comes to combat and linear throughout. If you can rent it or find it for cheap, it may proves to be a nice diversion, but don't spend full price as the movie tie-in value is not worth the full price.

- - Vane

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