|First Person Shooter
| Blood, Violence
| The Good
Solid voice cast
Melee and stealth gameplay is well implemented
Sidequests add to the main game
| The Bad
With the surprise success of the sci-fi movie Pitch Black,
Vin Diesel's antihero, Riddick, quickly became fodder for
a film sequel. It's a shame that the movie sequel tried to
make Riddick into some lonewolf savior, weakening his violent
antihero image. To counteract this dilution of what could
have been a prime bit of intellectual property, VU Games and
Starbreeze have developed Escape From Butcher Bay,
a videogame prequel that puts players in control of Riddick
before he went soft. And before he got his cool eyes.
Escape From Butcher Bay begins with Riddick in the
custody of the bounty hunter Johns and on his way to the super-prison
Butcher Bay. Once there, he wastes little time before planning
his escape. Of course, things never work out to be as simple
as even Riddick could hope. In his time spent in various locations
within the prison/mining facility, Riddick comes across a
deranged preacher in the sewers that gives him his special
Played in the first person perspective, Escape From Butcher
Bay has all the mechanics you're familiar with in a FPS.
You can jump, crouch and crawl. The Right trigger fires an
equipped weapon and you can swap weapons with the Y Button.
The X Button is used to interact with the environment, including
climbing on boxes and up ladders. Unlike most FPS titles,
a lot of time it will be to your benefit to move stealthily
in the shadows. Often, you don't have decent weapons and must
survive by your wits alone. To this effect, you have the ability
to hide in shadows, which is signified by a blue hue that pops
up on the screen when you're successfully hidden. You might
think this is just for show, but Riddick has some moves at
When you sneak up behind someone, you can grab them and snap
their necks, be it quietly or just quickly. Sometimes, an
enemy will find out you're there when you have no weapons
to help you. Fortunately, you can time it to grab their weapon
and turn it on them. This is especially useful as most weapons
are DNA encoded, which prevent your from picking up guns except
a certain times. You can also drop from heights onto patrolling
guards, killing them with the impact.
There will be multiple occasions in the game where Riddick
will have to fight an enemy in hand-to-hand combat. In fact,
there's a fighting ring that can earn you money when you end
up victorious. The melee combat is pretty fluid without being
overly complex. The Left Trigger blocks attacks and the RIght
Trigger throws punches. Depending on how you move and how
quickly you hit the Right Trigger, you can throw different
punches and even combinations. You can even time your movements
to grab an opponent's hand and then punch him in the head,
often ending a fight pretty quickly.
Throughout the game, you'll find packs of cigarettes that
unlock art and pictures from both the game and the movie.
Most of the time, these packs will be laying around, but other
times you'll have to buy them or earn them through doing side-missions.
While most of the game is pretty straightforward, there are
portions where you can take time to do side-missions for prisoners.
Some of these just involve find items and returning them and
other times, it just requires you to kill someone (and maybe
even a combination of the two).
Graphically, Escape From Butcher Bay is gorgeous to
behold. Except for some jaggies, especially in the cutscenes,
the game looks fantastic. Character models are highly detailed
and show off some fine animation. Lighting is dynamic and
works excellently to accent the high-res textures and well-sculpted
environments. The textures are excellently detailed, even
up close, and show off a good bit of variety. The visual filters
used when you use Riddick's night vision add a nice effect
and it's nice to see the effect of bright light on this vision
mode. With the minimalist HUD, the game's visuals goes a long
way to draw you into the gameworld.
While not as impressive as the visuals, the audio portion
is still done well. The soundtrack is of film quality and
works well to establish a mood for each portion of the game.
Sound effects all feel as though the were created specifically
for the weapon and action they're attached to, giving a successful
weight to your actions. The sounds of melee combat is quite
intense. Probably the one thing that really stands out is
the high-quality voice cast, including Vin Diesel, Michael
Rooker and Ron Perlman.
Usually a game with no multiplayer and running a little bit
on the short side, I would have a hard time suggesting buying,
but Escape From Butcher Bay is put together so well
that a purchase is well worth it for anyone who enjoys first
person shooters or action titles of any kind. The experience
is well done all the way around and worth your money.