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Enter the Matrix

Developer: Shiny | Publisher: Atari
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 05/14/03 | Genre: Action

Enter the Matrix is a movie port. Meaning that this game is an extension of the movie. It will explain more of the scenes and will add something to your movie experience. I strongly suggest you see the movie first because there are some major spoilers in the game. It doesn't show the whole plot or the end but it does show the majority of it with some twists. With that said, on to the game itself.

We get to the start screen and we have some options. You can play as Niobe who is the Captain of the Logos and ex-love interest of Morpheus. Or you can play as Ghost, who is the first mate of the Logos. Supposedly, Niobe is better at the hand to hand combat and Ghost is better at using weapons. Sparks is your operator or guide and your help man during missions. He really seems to be there to lighten up the mood..

Besides playing as either Niobe or Ghost, there is a third option called hacking. I suggest doing this after the game but this is an area that has a DOS prompt and you enter in commands to open cheats, new boards, communications with characters like Trinity and Morpheus. It took me back to my Commodore 64 days of entering in DOS commands. Most of you youngsters have heard of a 64 but I doubt most of you know what I am talking about. For all you old gamers out there, you know what I am talking about. (Editor's Note: I am 23 and remember my Commodore 64. Does this make me old?) Hurts to remember that far back, don't it?

The controls are pretty simple to operate but take awhile to master. The left trigger controls the focus or slowing down the motion. This is very similar to "bullet time" in Max Payne and it is where you move faster than the enemies and certain special hand to hand combat moves can be done. While holding down the focus you can also run on the walls, do back flips and avoid bullets while shooting in a roll or cartwheel or diving forward. It also increases the accuracy of your shooting. The black button controls the shooting. If you have the "S" type controller it does take some getting used to but it would be easier on the original larger controllers. Some guns you have to tap the button to fire but most guns you can just hold down the trigger for gratifying results. There is also a sniper mode where the right thumbstick turns the 3rd person on and off. The X button zooms in and the A zooms out. Trust me, this is very important info and will be used a lot. In the hand to hand combat you should experiment early and make sure you try a lot of different combos and throws and tapping and holding the focus down. There are many, many moves that depend on who you are fighting and where you are fighting. There are a lot of moves that take into effect the environment like walls and boxes and windows. Some items can be broken and others cannot but it keeps the fighting interesting. I would also suggest that you use the X button to disarm the enemies it will become increasingly important as the game goes on. But as you can tell the controls are in depth but the moves are surprisingly easy to perform. All the combos can be done by button mashing but to master and appreciate them, it takes some time. However, I feel it is time worth spending.

In the story, you will follow one of the characters in and out of the matrix and through some of the bigger scenes in the movie but through the perspective of Ghost or Niobe. I suggest doing both because the different points of view are interesting and different enough to keep you interested while playing. There are some great scenes that are actual DVD quality film that is played by the real actors. The Xbox also has 1080i for HDTV support which will make the scenes look even better... That is if you are one of the fortunate people who already own HDTV. As a fan, this is some extra information that you did not get in the movie theater and that is a treat indeed. You will follow your characters through warehouses, sewers, buildings, the chateau, through some car chases, through the sewers in the hovercraft, and finish off the story in a nuclear power plant.

Speaking of the driving, there are a few boards that require driving away from the enemy if you are playing as Niobe. If you are playing Ghost, it will require shooting at the enemy while driving. These missions are quite boring no matter which character you are playing. You can really tell that limited development time was put into these levels. It probably would have been better if they were not included in the final product... The only thing good I can say about these missions is that it does break up the monotony which appears to have been the point. Plus I think if the driving levels were not included in the game that everyone would have raised a stink--since they were such a big part of the movie.

There are some faults to this game. For one, the game saves automatically when you get to certain point. You don't know when or where, it could happen at any time. So some levels are too long--while others are way too short. Also, the best things stunts and tricks happen during the cinematic and movie sequences. Call me picky but I wanted to perform some if not all of these cinematic moments. It seems like everytime the game got difficult or there was something cool to do, it saved and went to an automatic cut away scene. Niobe is supposed to be a hand to hand fighting expert and her moves are a little cooler. However, most of the time I used guns because its quicker and easier. Just make sure you save some ammo for the harder areas because that can lead to some painfully long levels.

Another problem is no multiplayer. You can hack where you fight other characters but you can't choose who you can be but that is still not enough. This game screams for multiplayer. Plus no Neo. Sure you see him in some scenes but what fun is a game that doesn't let you play or fight "the one"?

I have to say I started playing this game and was a bit disappointed. I expected so much and I wanted it to be the greatest game ever. However, the more I played it, the more I appreciated it. I realized that this is the first try for the Wachowski brothers on making a video game. Also, this is a movie port game. They are usually the worst games on the planet. The only good movie port game that is a great game is Lord of the Rings, the Two Towers. So for a movie port game this is a close #2 on the all-time list. Also, all I really wanted from this game was to learn a little bit more about the movie and pull off some sweet moves and kick the crap out of some agents. That is exactly what I got. I am looking forward to a sequel. I hope that game will be even better and some of these problems will be fixed. Is this the best game ever? No. But it will get you through the slow summer months until the release of the final movie. Yes. If not, then there is always the Animatrix movie. Either way, this is the easiest and best way to get your fix for the red pill.

By Matt Smith - 06/06/03
ESRB Details: Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence

Screenshots for Enter the Matrix

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