Monday, August 20, 2007

Matrix Path Of Neo - PS2




Ah! Its good to be back! I've missed the blogosphere and the good friends I've made within it. I've missed being able to spout my nonsensical opinions and talk crap! That said, I guess its time to impart the latest chapter of my gaming life!

OK, so as you may or may not know, I've been away for two weeks in beautiful Wales, spending quality time with Mrs. K and the boys! And what a great two weeks it was... The sun came out for the first time in months and I even swam in the Irish Sea! I saw a school of tiny fishes moving through the crystal water (the only time I've ever seen fish in the sea in the UK). I watched shooting stars in a cloudless sky, the constellations shining brighter than they ever do in the neon light-polluted city and life was good... But enough of that romantic BS, what about the gaming?

Let me contextualise the trip in terms of gaming... The consoles I took away were the PS2 and the DS. The DS barely got touched, and I only played the PS2 late at night when Mrs. K had gone to sleep. Thus my gaming time was minimal. One thing I did do, was take away all my PS2 games, and for the first time actually took stock of what I'd picked up for the PS2 through my Saturn and Dreamcast obsessed years (the PS2 being my least played console...)

Wanna see the list? OK here goes...

Matrix Path Of Neo
Resident Evil 4
Tiger Woods PGA 2005
Kingdom Hearts
Half Life
Mark Ecko's Getting Up
Pro Evolution Soccer 6
Sponge Bob Square Pants The Movie
Yakuza

Max Payne
Resident Evil Survivor 2: Code Veronica
Resident Evil Outbreak File 2
Viewtiful Joe 1 & 2
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Virtua Cop Elite Edition
Gun
Virtua Fighter 4
Need for Speed Carbon
LOTR Return Of The King
Colin McRae Rally 3
Outrun 2006 Coast To Coast
Crazy Taxi
Sega Superstars (Eye Toy)

Nice haul huh? Problem is, most of them remain unplayed, so the idea was that I had them on hand to dip into over my vacation and give them a whirl! The ones I most wanted to test out were RE Gun Survivor CV and Virtua Cop Elite Edition. The exploration of the latter would have provided a comparative review for the Saturn Junkyard. However, my Namco G2 Light Gun was playing up, so that put pay to playing those titles! DOH!

I dipped into Viewtiful Joe 1, and whilst I liked the cut of its jib, I got stuck within the second level, and realised that I had to many other titles to become frustrated re-playing the same scene over and over... I dabbled with Half Life, but again became frustrated when I couldn't get my lab coat out of my locker, thus preventing me from getting further into the game! (Yes I know, pathetic... LOL!)
So what, dear hearts, floated my boat over the last fortnight? As the title of the post suggests, it was a film cross-over. Normally the very mention of a movie franchise game sends shudders down the spine of purist gamers. A quote from a recent article in Games TM magazine illustrates the point...

"As a rule, the mere mention of great film being licensed for a videogame is enough to spread waves of revulsion spreading through every fibre of our being. Given the volume of slapdash games made in tribute to Hollywood, this is hardly a surprise..."

It then goes on to pour doubt on the very game franchise, I've enjoyed so much over the past couple of weeks...

"The ease with which money can be made creates an unfortunate situation, because the marriage between videogames and cinema has the potential to be a fruitful one. Enter The Matrix (and Matrix Path Of Neo) was certainly no masterpiece, but the idea of using a videogame to enrich a film by extending and deepening its story was interesting - its just a shame that both film and game were so crushingly average. Had Matrix Reloaded been as compelling as the first film, and had Enter The Matrix been as scintillating as Ninja Gaiden, then the whole enterprise may have been heralded as the future of entertainment."
Well, I take issue with the above statement! (Somewhat unsurprisingly...) For a start I love the Matrix Trilogy, like Star Wars, LOTR, Resident Evil and even Austin Powers, its a case of the more the better! I actually consider the Matrix Trilogy and even the off shoot Animatrix, essential parts of a unified whole! (Geek Factor levels at Code Red! :)

If the Wachowski Brothers had knocked on my door and asked me to name all the ingredients I wanted to create a perfect film, they couldn't have got it more right... A comic book style sci-fi epic, combining kung fu, killer weapons, stunning fight scenes, awesome soundtrack and even the odd bit of esoteric philosophy... Result? Perfection!! So even if the games had been "crushingly average" the chance to explore the world of the films more, was always gonna be one that suckered me in...


Enter The Matrix was one of my all time favourite videogames, I stated as much in a post over at the Saturn Junkyard. It remains one of the few games I've ever played through to conclusion. Why? Because it allows immediate pick up and play potential, a manageable learning curve, a great level of immersion, player friendly save system and the above mentioned ability to further explore the whole Matrix Universe I so adore...

But of course, Matrix Path Of Neo, allows you to play as Neo, The One.... Starting with a training "program", allowing you to master the combat controls, you're soon thrust into the action, following faithfully the events of the first films. Videoclips taken directly from the movie, as well as graphic cutscenes, keep the player feeling they are part of a cinematic experience...

A user friendly save system, and the ability to accquire "upgrades" to enhance combat moves at the end of every level, make playing through the game fun and acheiveable. There are also upgraded weapons and health packs liberally sprinkled throughout the levels, so you're never sent too far back through the game if you die. Of course I played through on the easy option (why don't all games have this?) I might try it again on the harder otion at a later date, I enjoyed the game that much...

As you progres further into the game, the plot begins to diverge further away from the plot of the movie. Its fabulous to explore new environments, often strange and beguiling... This culminates in a fabulous cut-scene on near completion of the game, where the Wachowski Brothers themselves come into the game, represented as '8 Bit' space invader characters, who congratulate you on your progress, throw out a bit of tongue in cheek psycho-babble, before revealing that you're gonna have to battle a boss before you complete the game. The boss in question? A giant Agent Smith, combining his multitude of clones and assorted rubble from the debris of the city!


All in all a sublime gaming experience, definitely in my top five games of all time, a credit to the might of the PS2 and a spit in the eye for all doubters of movie-game crossovers!

Testimony to its greatness, is the fact that it has lured my eldest son back int the world of videogaming, as he was so enthralled by watching me play... He's now playing through it himself, and it must be the first game that he's showed any interest in this year...



Wanna know more? The official website is here, for a favourable IGN review look here and for the official Wikipedia page look here...

Glad to be back folks! Love to you all! FK :)

7 comments:

The Elderly said...

Time to brush off my animatrix disc.. excellent post FK.. time away has served you well.... i'd never have had the patience to fight to the end of that boss sequence.. though watching it was incredible.... I'll make the tea... bring back any Welsh rock?

The Elderly said...

don't worry i'll make my own tea.. even brought biscuits.... now wheres the kettle.... (rumages in blog backroom.....)

fatherkrishna said...

I'm so sorry Elderly, how rude of me! You take the weight off yer feet and I'll make the tea... Oh actually feck the tea... Care for something stronger? Here, have a glass of this... *Pours Elderly a glass of "Pig's Nose"* It's Welsh whisky... What do you think? Welsh whisky... Who'd a thunk it?

:)

NebachadnezzaR said...

I'm not a huge fan of The Matrix myself, although I've seen every movie, including Animatrix, and played Enter the Matrix, which, despite all the bad reviews and stuff, I though it was kind of nice.

Never played Path of Neo, though.

Anyway, lately I've also been busy with my PS2. Played some We Love Katamari (fucking weird, but awesome!), Guitar Hero Rock the 80's (almost every single song sucks hard, but there's some Dio and Iron Maiden in the middle, and those 2 songs alone almost make up for the rest) and right now I'm fighting my way across Urban Chaos Riot Response.

I doesn't have anything to do with the original Urban Chaos, released for the Dreamcast, among other platforms, but it's a pretty good game on it's own. It's an FPS, but not your usual rung-and-gun game. Nice game, overall.

gnome said...

Excellent post indeed Father and one covering tons of things that quite interest me. Like how I dislike the later Matrix movies and just how great Animatrix was or how right you were on Games TM. An amazing magazine....

The Elderly said...

jeez fk this pigs nose is the bees knees.... by the way Gnome is suggesting that the sound of a dying giraffe is too difficult to put to words.... I told him you'd be able to help out.... well that is if you've ever heard a dying giraffe, which I haven't...

fatherkrishna said...

Nebacha good to see you here! Enjoy UCRR... I played Urban Chaos on the Dreamcast but never got past the training progam...

Gnome, you dislike the later Matrix movies? That's probably because you're more sophisticated than me...

Elderly, the sound of a dying giraffe is something like this...
"Ouch! Having a long neck can be a bit of a pain in the ... ass" (paradoxically...)