Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 11/27/01 | Genre: FPS
All too often, games based on licenses fail to entertain. No one knows why, it's just an unwritten rule. However, it seems bam! entertainment has found a way around this problem. Their new Gameboy Advance title, Ecks VS Sever, is based on a movie that hasn't even been released yet. Franchise Pictures licensed the game to Crawfish and they created the game from a script. In this case, even though the movie technically came first, some people will be aware of the game before the movie, and compare the other way around. The question still burns though, is Ecks VS Sever any good?
After waiting through an eternity for the opening credits to go by, you'll be playing a fairly engrossing and fun game. The story can be played from the vantage point of either good-guy Ecks or bad-girl Sever. The plot is told through text dialogue in a courtroom with no graphics, but it is good nonetheless. Ecks, an ex-FBI agent is hot on the trail of a terrorist who killed his family with a car bomb meant for him, and he won't even let SWAT or FBI agents get in his way. The prime suspect for the bomb? NSA agent Sever. Now both are on trial for their deeds and recount the past. Game Boy Advance's button layout really isn't optimized for first-person shooters, but Ecks VS Sever manages well enough. My only complaint is that the weapon switch button was assigned to Select, which is kind of out of the way. I really have no suggestions on where it could have been, but it's not a big deal.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 was the first testament to the graphical power of the GBA, and FPSs are the next. Ecks VS Sever sports some excellent graphics with awesome (albeit a tad blurry) textures. The floors and ceilings, however, are textureless but it doesn't matter because you can't aim up or down. The animation is also great, the multiple frames when a body slumps to the ground is well done. The opening theme prepares you for a high energy game, but don't expect any background music while playing. The default pistol, which sounds like air shooting out of a compressor in short bursts, gets annoying, but the other sound effects are pretty good.
The package becomes complete once you play a few missions. They start off relatively short and simple, but suddenly, the levels are larger and the mission objectives are more complex. The sudden ramped difficulty later on surprised me, but I wouldn't have it any other way. You won't find many power-ups, just the basic Health Kit and Armor and the occasional IR goggles. The weapons aren't very different from each other, but are nice to look at.
Doom is over-hyped in my opinion and BackTrak is pretty horrible, so until I can get my hands on a copy of Dark Arena (which I'm REALLY looking forward to), Ecks VS Sever is king of the FPS genre on the GBA. Although a lot of the enemies will attack relentlessly, they act like high school drop outs who smoked too much dope, and won't even chase you. Add to that the ever-so-slightly awkward control, and that's about all the problems you'll have with EVS, besides the squinting, of course, but a lot of other games have that drawback.