As you may know, Darkman is the computerversion of the Sam Raimi film. Why Ocean should to adapt this box-office turkey is certainly mystifying, but one must not judge until one doth play, as they say. Sooo... the star of the game is Peyton Westlake, a scientist who lived his life happily minding his own business until the fateful day when a bunch of gangsters broke into his lab to steal something. Poor old Peyton happened to get in the way, so the gangsters blew him up.
Unfortunately, he didn't drift to that heavenly abode in the sky (Peyton Place. Ho ho. Ed.) because he hadn't actually died. Tragically, our Peyton had been hideously deformed by the explosion, but the gangsters weren't happy with just ruining his life. Oh no. They had to go the whole hog and kidnap his chick, Julie, as well. So Peyton, understandably a little peeved, abandons his mould cultures, puts on a mask and sets off to rescue Julie and fight for truth, justice and the American way. Um... can I go now? (Stop whinging and get on with your review. Ed.)
Toby: Ocean games, eh? They used to be brilliant - remember the Speccy versions of Miami Vice and the first Batman game, or the utterly classic Head Over Heels? Well, following the trend of most recent Ocean games, this is nothing like them. What it is similar to is every other horizontally scrolling beat 'em up with bonus rounds.
"Master the technology of the disguising system?" Er... no, I don't think so. "Click mouse wildly in direction of badly-drawn sprite" sounds better to me. Not that the disguises do anything at all, other than change your sprite. You're still attacked by everyone and the 'metamorphosis' wears off after one pico-second.
This brings me to my next gripe - the sprites. It looks to me as if only one enemy sprite has actually been drawn, and that this outline has just been reproduced and filled in with different colours (yes, filled in - not shaded). Rarely have such bland graphics been seen in a full price game.
But hold on, the game does have its good points, like, er... the intro screen - it's very nice (ahem). The animation of Darkman himself is rather neat,but the sound ranges from atmospheric to completely crap and the speech is diabolical.
The presentation isn't very good either. But on a more positive note, the game is quite playable in itself - the controls are easy to get to grips with. However - and this is a big 'however'- when you die on a stage, you're sent right back to the beginning! (Some of the language used in the ZERO office at this point in the game is most definitely not printable).
If it hadn't been for the distinctive Darkman sprite, this could have been any of an assortment of games - Navy Seals, NARC or one of about a billion different budget games. "Every soul has a dark side - this time it walks like a man," claims the box. How about "Every soul has a dark side - this time it writes games for Ocean." Come on, Ocean, you can do better than this! Let's just hope the forthcoming Head Over Heels is as good as I remember.