Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: 10,000 Bullets

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Electronic Theatre ImageMany PlayStation2 owners are already learning to love one of the most exciting publishers to arrive on the scene in recent years; 505 Gamestreet. Not only are they bringing new titles to the consoles at undisputedly fantastic prices – nobody is likely to argue with games for nine pounds – but they’re also bringing titles to the Uk that otherwise European audiences are never likely to see. However, these games do have to meet the expectations of gamers. Largely, the titles they have released have done this; not only have they brought Harvest Moon and Legend Of The River King (repackaged as Harvest Fishing) to these shores, but have also released enjoyable titles such as Aces of War, Bujingai Swordmaster, Gungrave Overdose and Guilty Gear: Isuka. However some of their publications such as Panzer front Ausf.B have been less than delightful. I personally approached 10,000 Bullets with something verging on trepidation. At first glance it seemed like a typical Shoot-‘Em-Up, whose only distinguishing feature was that it had looked to rip of The Matrix. I quickly discovered there was a lot more to it than that.

            10,000 Bullets is a highly story-driven game, based around the concept of Gunslingers.Electronic Theatre Image These exceptional individuals are natural born killers who become more powerful by consuming the blood of other Gunslingers, each of which has a specific power. Whilst all the characters the players uses have the same power, namely the Bullet-Time ability: slow-down the game speed and then dodge bullets and attack multiple enemies. However, the Gunslingers who operate as Bosses throughout the games have a multitude of powers. These range from creating self-replicants to throw-off the gamer, to teleporting a few feet – one character even appears to be carrying a giant Kevlar-esque fan. The storyline starts off with the player in control of Crow, a man on a search for vengeance. His revenge is however gained relatively quickly. He is quickly betrayed, however, by that which he had believed to be his closest friend, the appropriately named Judas. The rest of the game is largely taken with fighting various Gunslingers before a final face-off with Judas himself, to avenge the murder of Judas’ girlfriend and beloved of Crow, Keiko. In the process the gamer takes control of a new love interest of Crow’s and various other Gunslingers who join their course on the way. In a piece of a subtle social commentary, it is the insurance industry that seems to be the major force in the world throughout out the game, and use Crow and his associates for their own purposes.

            The game itself consists of choosing a location to go to until you find the correct one for the next-stage of the game. The player must then fight of a huge number of enemies before fighting-off one of these Gunslingers usually flanked by a few of his or her cronies. The fighting itself is the main feature of the game and is competently executed. The player has several moves at his disposal, and the main character, Crow, carries two guns and is an expert with them, Lock-Ons are performed using the R2 Trigger and fires with a tap of theElectronic Theatre Image Circle Button. The majority of the pleasure of the game however comes from The Matrix-style bullet-dodging enabled by slowing down time. A tap of the Triangle Button slows-down time for a limited period enabling some amazing acrobatics. Various button combinations produce some visually stunning bullet-dodging; the player can find himself or herself engaged in some of the most outstanding stunts, shooting constantly, and killing huge numbers of enemies. The number of hits made in a short space of time is displayed in the top right-hand corner of the screen as Combo numbers. The play system allows a player, once accustomed to the game to create amazing combinations of well over 100 Hits. It is however a great shame that there is no facility to watch a replay of the Level at full-speed after completion.

             Whilst the in-game graphics look good for a PlayStation2 and the slow-down effects are excellent, the Cut-Scenes look relatively poor. The characters look very plastic and the Lip-Synching is pretty abysmal. The faces remain emotionless, making it much harder to feel any sort of empathy with the characters. It does seem strange to find a Taito game in which the in-game visuals seem better than the Cut-Scenes.

            The sound is not bad, but is nothing terribly special. It certainly doesn’t add anything to the game that wouldn’t be there without it. The music is instantly forgettable and the Voice-Acting is unconvincing.

It would be very easy to label the game as a The Matrix rip-off, but this would be rather unfair. The game Electronic Theatre Imagehas limited similarities with any of the The Matrix games, and those aspects are pulled-off much more competently in 10,000 Bullets than in either Enter The Matrix or The Matrix: Path of Neo. It is a fun challenge, with a real sardonic streak, best summed up by the names of the Gunslingers; most memorable was fighting a massive guy named Little John on a bridge. Although not highly original in concept or gameplay, 10,000 Bullets is definitely a game worth playing for any fan of Third-Person Shoot-‘Em-Ups.

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