Dark Athena

7 Mar

I’ve just shot all the lights out in the hallway.  I’m crouching in the corner to avoid the sweeping flashlight of the guard looking for the noisy delinquent with a gun.  What he doesn’t know is I’ve put the gun away for now; it’s not practical in the dark.  Instead I’m stalking along the side of the hallway with a pair of Ulaks — wickedly curved hand blades.  The guard walks to the end of the hallway where I was crouched a few seconds ago.  He turns off his flashlight and someone says “He couldn’t have just disappeared!”  A few sneaky assaults and vicious Ulak strikes to the head later, and the hallway is full of bodies.

I never played Starbreeze’s first foray into the Riddick universe, Escape from Butcher Bay, and I think the Riddick movies are kind of lame.  But I did play The Darkness, which I had heard was similar to Butcher Bay.  And I am partial to the universe that Pitch Black alluded to, if not the universe the Chronicles of Riddick movies revealed.  So when the ‘remake’ of Butcher Bay, Assault on Dark Athena, had a demo up I felt I had to give it a go.

What surprised me most is that I was bad at it, but I liked it — the close combat and stalking gameplay  bring back good memories of playing a Predator or an Alien in Fox’s Aliens versus Predator 2.

More on the game later, but give it a go if you’re not sure about it.  Starbreeze is quickly establishing itself as an ambitious and capable studio that manages to innovate pragmatically within the FPS genre.  Whether you like Riddick or not, this game creates a hunter/hunted atmosphere that is sorely lacking in this generation of shooters.

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