Charlie's Angels
Game Info
Platform(s)
GameCube
Publisher
Ubi Soft
Developer
Neko Entertainment
Genre
Brawler
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Suggestive Themes, Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Voice acting by Cameron, Lui and Barrymore

The Bad

• Insipid story
• Horrid gameplay
• Both audio and graphics are really bad
• Poor collision detection and camera
• Short and easy

 
Grade
F

Cameron Diaz, Lucy Lui and Drew Barrymore have managed to take the old television action show and give it new life with not just one, but two films. To augment this new "franchise", for lack of a better term, the Charlie's Angels license has been granted to Neko Entertainment, who've managed to churn out what could be called a side-scrolling brawler. The story begins as the lights go out in New York City. When they come back on, the Statue of Liberty has been swiped, which proves to be one in a string of similar monument thefts happening around the world. From this point, you take the Angels out to discover more about the thefts, or so the CG cutscenes lead us to believe.

From this point, players are dropped into levels that play out like 2D sidescrolling brawlers, except for some 3D movement along a particularly linear path. You can choose to play as one of the three girls, and can swap from an option in the pause menu, but if you stick with one girl, you'll find yourself kicking and punching your way to a set location. When you reach your goal with that Angel, you'll swap out to another and do the same until the level ends. During each level, you'll be beset with enemies to fight, but since your repertoire consists of a punch, kick, jumping bicycle kick and a jumping punch, you'll find yourself hammering the same buttons over and over again. While you gain points for knocking down enemies and even a grade (Good, Not Bad, Excellent), the whole series of events becomes repetitive and lacks fun about three or four fights into the game. Of course, you can pick up a wrench or two along the way, but that only draws things out.

And, just in case you have trouble going from point A to point B, a big glowing arrow will show you the way. Unfortunately, it doesn't even do a good job of that as there will be times you'll assume it wants you to go one place, but no matter how much you run into the proposed exit, you can't move on. Maybe it's not the arrow's fault, but the wretchedly developed in-game camera that makes a 2D style brawler in a 3D world feel somewhat overly taxing just to progress.

The graphics engine for this game is quite sorry in execution. When you first start out, you'll be treated to a CG cutscene of Bosley and the girls getting their mission from Charlie. Unfortunately, the CG work looks archaic and only mildly represents the characters. From there, the graphics engine takes a nose-dive into low-end mediocrity, which will make you wish for a return to the "superior by comparison" cutscenes. The game world is exceptionally plain, built in a bland, uninteresting manner that is reminiscent of early Playstation titles, except at a better framerate. The character models suffer from a lack of polygons, decent textures and are poorly animated to boot. Case in point - the animation just to jump is so overblown that it actually makes controlling your character difficult. When forced to move through the levels, you'll find very little variety in the enemy models and you'll run into way too many invisible walls barring your progress. There's no effort to add good visual effects to even remotely cover a bare-bones graphics package. Throw in nonexistent collision detection and you have a package that should have never seen the store shelves. In fact, there are many times where a serious lack of depth perception is caused by your ability to walk over elements in the scenery like your character's in front of blue screen.

Except for the occasional voice acted scene from the actual cast members (Diaz, Lui, and Barrymore), the audio portion is as woeful as the graphics are. And even those voice lines feel like they were recorded in the span of an 20 minutes between takes on the set of the latest film. Sound effects are so ridiculously limited that by 30 minutes in, you'll have heard it all. Except for a few licensed tracks, like The Vines Get Free in the menu, the music is mundane and boring. Oh, and was it so hard to get Bernie Mack to do a few lines?

Usually, I like to reserve the next to last paragraph to describe flaws with a game, but at this point, do I really need to? Oh, well, you've read this far. I might as well put the final nail in the coffin. The game is extremely easy, even on the hard difficulty, and can be beaten in around three to four hours. That is, of course, if you can stand the insipid story, script and overall delivery of the game. Fighting your way through dumb-as-dirt enemies only to find a switch, computer, or really long ladder climb as your goal does not a good game make.

Something has to be said about a game that Sony wouldn't let it through for the PS2, and they let Tomb Raider out. No one in their right mind should buy this game. Or rent it. Anyone who had anything to do with the movies should be ashamed for being even remotely connected with this title. It's an unfortunate disaster that is neither fun to play nor even pretty to look at. Maybe I could handle the mundane gameplay if the Angel's actually looked human.

- - Vane

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