Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter
Game Info
PS2, Xbox
Vivendi Universal
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Violence, Blood and Gore
The Good

• Space flight combat levels break up gameplay
• Looks pretty good

The Bad

• No multiplayer
• Linear
• Long and frequent load times


Mace Griffin was set up and sent to prison for ten years. Previously before his stint in the space slammer, he was part of a peacekeeping corps that helped police in outer space. But, once his team of rangers got wasted, he was sent to prison. Once out, he's become bitter and wants revenge. Sounds like the perfect recipe for Mace to get a job as a bounty hunter, eh?

Mace Griffin's gameplay is by and large your standard futuristic FPS, not unlike Halo or Red Faction, where players are sent to a variety of space-bound or alien locations to shoot their way to the source of one objective or another. You control Mace by using the two analog sticks and can use primary and secondary fire on most weapons. You're given the standard set of abilities (crouch, jump, swap weapons) to augment your run-and-gun take on the game. While the controls are not completely customizable, you can alter the schemes enough to get what you want out of them. Fans of Halo will immediately recognize the energy bar in your HUD, which acts as your shields. Apparently, this has become the standard for futuristic FPS, so if you like being able to recharge your shields undercover, Mace Griffin will make you happy in this aspect.

Ultimately, Mace Griffin is linear, and excessively so. Levels are placed before you with a "get from point A to point B" mentality, with next to no options in how you get there. In most locations, there is almost always one door that will open, while other paths are locked and unavailable. Along with that is the fact that your enemies aren't all that smart. When you enter a room, some will snipe at you from cover, but most will come charging into your line of fire. Gamers with any common sense will just stand by the doorway or a set of stairs and mow down enemies as they come charging at you. Luckily, you have a variety of space-age weapons at your disposal to make the room-by-room slaughter more effective.

To break up the shooter action are space fight levels, reminiscent of Colony Wars to some degree. The seamless transition from ground to space is nicely done and the dogfights do serve to give a change of pace to the linear shooter portion of the game. While the space fighter engine may not be overly deep for those heavy in the genre, it does serve well as an addition to the main gameplay. My only complaint would stem from a design decision in which most of the objects in space have a blue tint, making the blue firing reticule very had to see at times.

Visually, Mace Griffin is a pretty good package. There's a lot of fine detail here and the lighting and gun animations (especially the reloading) are a guilty pleasure to watch. Locations do have a good bit of detail and there is some variety from place to place, but the enemy and NPC models could use a lot more variety. At times, you feel like you're killing the same enemies over and over again and there needs to be better definition between ally and enemy.

Audio-wise, Mace Griffin is for the most part, adequate. The voice acting, while stiff, manages to deliver the story well enough to keep from feeling second-rate. Henry Rollins as Mace is only good at filling in the story as needed but seems incapable of evoking anything near to emotion. Both the soundtrack and sound effects are finely realized and add a needed heft to the action. The only other complaint I would have is the a audio glitches I ran into here and there.

Along with what's already been stated, Mace Griffin suffers from a number of other nagging issues. First and foremost, there are ridiculous amounts of load times littered all over the place. So much so that it breaks up any flow the game has over the long haul. Throw in some useless weapons, like the overly bouncy grenades, and you'll be sticking with a few choice weapons throughout the game. And then there's the fact that the game offers NO multiplayer at all.

In the end, Mace Griffin is a good rental for those looking for a solid single player experience. If you want anything more than that, skip this title as it fails to deliver anything that you can't already find elsewhere.

- - Vane

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