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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Atari

 

Developer

Shiny Entertainment

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

May 15, 2003

 

 

- Slick and stylish, just like the movies
- Tons of different moves
- Good replay factor
- High production values
- It’s funny watching them climb ladders

 

 

- You must watch the films to know what’s going on
- Even with all the moves, starts to feel repetitive
- Hacking feature will be almost ignored

 

 

Review: Max Payne (XB)

Review: BloodRayne (XB)

Review: Uplink Hacker Elite (PC)

Review: Brutal Legend (360)

 

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Enter the Matrix

Score: 7.3 / 10

 

enter the matrix xbox review          enter the matrix xbox review

 

If you’re familiar with the Matrix, there’s no introduction needed. The rabbit hole, blue pill, red pill, bullet-time, impossible kung-fu moves, an intriguing if somewhat confusing story and really, really cool sunglasses – you know all about that. If you haven’t seen the movies, you’ll likely be left scratching your head as to what’s going on. It would be like opening up Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers somewhere in the middle and trying to figure out what happened in The Hobbit and Fellowship of the Ring. Who’s who and what’s what isn’t made clear – no backstory or extensive introduction. Enter the Matrix (ETM) completely caters to fans of the first two Matrix movies, and Matrix Reloaded specifically as ETM weaves a story into and alongside the action of that film.

ETM follows the exploits of the crew of the Logos, which consists of Sparks (the operator), and the two playable characters: Niobe and Ghost (minor characters in

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Matrix Reloaded). This creates a better-than-average level of replayability. While playing through as Ghost, Niobe often drops in or performs some kind of action to help Ghost’s progression. Then playing as Niobe the second time through you get to see things from her point of view. Obviously, there’s some overlap, but they’re different enough to warrant replaying from the other point of view.

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And because the Wachowski brothers penned the game, it remains true to the Matrix mythos and consistent with what happens in the movie. As far as film-to-game transitions go, ETM is right up there with EA’s Two Towers but with even better cutscenes.

The cutscenes were filmed especially for the game during production of Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolution. Production values like this have never been seen in a game. Really, there’s so much style here – with the graphics and other production values – it’ll make your eyes and ears bleed. Whatever small touches are in the movies are present and accounted for: bullet trails, exaggerated martial arts, running from Agents, flipping off walls, etc. – it’s all here for the Matrix fan.

There is a huge roster of moves to perform but you’ll probably fall into just using a handful of them, which is a shame because they look awesome. And as cool as the hand-to-hand combat is, it starts to feel repetitive. The weapon combat is hard to get a handle on because you have to get used to the fact you can’t pick targets – they’re picked for you. While I understand why this method is used – with all the moves it would be difficult to aim as well – it still doesn’t alleviate the frustration getting blown away by a distant enemy you couldn’t target because someone else was closer.

Being able to execute a number of evasive moves helps a lot in avoiding death. The Focus meter is essentially your bullet-time mode. While holding the Focus button you can run up walls and perform all manner of motions to throw off pursuers. Along with the health bar, the Focus meter replenishes itself. After most encounters I found myself standing idle while the bars refilled. It slows down the action a bit but it’s nowhere near as excruciating as your health meter in X2 Woverine’s Revenge.

 

enter the matrix xbox review           enter the matrix xbox review


But getting a handle on the controls takes time. ETM requires a deftness and subtly that most games won’t even attempt. If the 3rd Person action sequences weren’t enough, there are also vehicle missions thrown in for good measure. Ghost gets to ride shotgun and blast enemies off the road, while Niobe (captain of the Logos) gets to do the driving. The driving sections aren’t as "tight" as the rest of the game and thankfully short.

What’s sure to be the least-used feature of ETM is Hacking. This is essentially your gateway to all the goodies that are locked away within ETM. Keep a pen and paper handy because you’ll run across codes during the game, which can be used to unlock things like arena battles between Morpheus and Agent Smith or Niobe and Trinity; and the chance to drop weapon caches in each level. Figuring out the Hacking system feels clumsy with the Xbox controller since you have to highlight each button on the keyboard instead of simply typing. Most won’t even bother going through the rigmarole – dropping in a password is way easier and Hacking takes some effort.

For fanz of the Matrix and those that must simply figure what the Matrix really is, will pick up Enter the Matrix and have a blast. For everyone else, Enter the Matrix is an above-average action game with some cool moves and awesome production values (but repetitive).

- Omni
(July 20, 2003)

 

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