" forget-taking-the-time-to-rip-it-out-of-your-Playstation, -you-need-to-throw-it-out-the-window-NOW "
Title: Danger Girl by THQ
Format: Playstation Action/Adventure Game
Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult
The Hype: Danger Girl is billed as the most popular comic book in the world. The premise, rather simply, is three hot girls fulfilling various specialty acts as combination super soldiers, spies, and sex goddesses to solve the world’s secret problems. Think Charles Angels meet James Bond meet Laura Croft. So, as you may have guessed, Danger Girl for the Playstation represents the first in what I’m told will be a chain of Danger Girl video games.
What This Monkey Thought...
Graphics: As we all know, the Playstation graphics system is quickly on its way to being annocdated. Having been pushing pixels for over three years, it really can’t do much to surprise, or really even impress, us. Still, the plus side of that dilemma is that most developers know how to push the graphics capabilities to the max…A reality that leaves THQ absolutely no excuse for producing as blocky, pixalated, unfinished, and generally sloppy images as we see in Danger Girl. While the backgrounds do tend to look decent, the character renders and effects are down right lazy. Guns are non-descript and unimpressive, characters bodies are well proportioned but incredibly pixilated, and faces look like they were drawn on with magic markers. For a comic who lists "visual appeal" as one of its highest attractions, as a game it loses an incredible amount in the translation. Still, the game manages to come out with three good pluses that keep it from getting completely trashed in this section. The first is the rather…boisterous…movement of the girl’s models. Hips swagger, buttocks jiggle, and in general few expenses are spared to try and turn the male player on. The second comes in the very comic-booky-John-Woo-esque movement style that is incorporated into many of the actions. Leaps to the side are made parallel to the ground, guns blazing. Jumps backward turn into dramatically arching flips. And so on. Unfortunately, as with a lot in this game, that falls sort of half assed and only actually happens on about ¼ of all the moves. Third, and finally, the graphically rendered cut scenes end up looking very pretty. 3 out of 5
Sound: Again, as with graphics, the sound FX and music ends up being quite mediocre (again the phrase "half assed" comes to mind). The direct sound effects (dialog, gun fire, etc.) isn’t too bad, of course it isn’t anything to shout about either. Where it really starts to suffer, though, is in the peripheral effects. Dull, lifeless sounds, poor or non-existent sampling, and short repetitive audio tracks all detract from what should be a fun gaming experience. As an example, footsteps and spent ammunition casings sound almost identical when they hit the ground…So every time you shoot it sounds like someone’s walking up behind you. Lame ass shit. 2 out of 5
Game Play: Just in case I haven’t already, let me start by telling you this is a third person shooter…So the camera is placed behind your character rather than above and behind or off to the side. In general, within that genre, it plays pretty well. Game play is pretty fast and the puzzles are fresh and fairly original. Also, and one of the best features, you get to play all three Danger Girls at various points throughout the game (each with different weapons available during the levels). However, as is the theme with the game, it again falls short when it needs to shine. The controls, which try to be clever by providing features like scooting against walls and mass inventory selections, are disgustingly slow and woefully lacking. The game play is rough, unpolished, and excessively difficult. Camera control is agitating at best. And features that needed desperately to be included, like an active peek around the corner or sneak attacks- which are staples in several other games in this genre, leave a gap in the game play you could drive a tank through. But far worse than any of the hideous issues listed above, by far, is the piss poor combat. For the first few minutes of play, you may mistakenly think that some of the glitches are actually nifty innovations- like the fact that your character’s accuracy while firing a gun seems almost realistic (with only about 30% of rounds fired hitting…Like in real life). However, as the game progresses, you’ll quickly realize that this "neat feature" is actually just a huge hindrance- as in the example above when you figure out that your accuracy rate doesn’t improve even if you’re at point blank range or taking the time to aim. What’s more, the AI doesn’t share the glitches so where as you’re only hitting 30-40% the bad guys are scoring hits almost all the time. This type of problem also extends into fun things like AI awareness (when they can detect you vs. when you can see/hear them), reload times, damage taken, etc. All in all, you’ll find the game frustrating at best and "forget-taking-the-time-to-rip-it-out-of-your-Playstation, -you-need-to-throw-it-out-the-window-NOW" at worse. 2.5 out of 5
Level and Environment Designs: The levels in Danger Girl actually have quite a bit going for them. They’re large, well laid out, relatively intelligent, and overall fun to explore. They try a trick you a little too often into thinking they’re actually bigger than they are (by relying on lame tricks like doors and tunnels that go no where), but that’s to be expected. A point is lost here, here, however, for having level objectives that are ill defined and often ridiculously difficult to find and execute. 4 of 5
Replayability: Honestly, I can’t imagine wanting to pick this up again…It’s not even fun the first time through. What’s more, if there are any real incentives to try (i.e. hidden objects, secret rooms, etc.)? I don’t know about them. 1 out of 5
Story/Dramatics: The overall story arc plays something like you’d expect a comic book would…you stumble across a great conspiracy and have to stop it. Nothing really impressive either way, the only real positive is that it’s told between levels through some pretty fun cut scenes. 3.5 out of 5
Instructions and Learning Curve: Really, the best way I can lead off this section is by saying that in both cases the game "doesn’t suck." The instructions are insightful and…instruct…quite well. The learning curve is pretty much non-existent. Extra points are gained through the inclusion of original Danger Girl art in the book for you comic fans out there (and in here). 4 out of 5
Installation and Real System Requirements: There are two big factors coming to play on how well this game utilizes system resources. On the down side, the graphics suck. On the plus side, it pre-loads the entire level prior to play so there are no loads as your actually going through it- which is just keen. It also tracks all items on the level, so you can drop a health pack or ammo now and come back for it at any time later. 4 out of 5
All in all, what could have been a great game winds up decidedly mediocre, leading towards bad. Had this have been a PS launch title I might think differently, but there’s no excuse for putting out a game like this in 2000.
The Good: Level design and a fun comic book story.
The Bad: Game play, graphics, controls, replayability…you name it.
The Overall Ugly: If you like the comic, it’s probably worth a rent, if not, I’d stick to any of the much more fun 3rd persons out there.
What it's Worth: Rental.