Publisher: Ubi Soft
Developer: Neko Entertainment
Release Date: July 9, 2003
Welcome to the review of Charlie’s Angels for the Nintendo Gamecube. If you’ve chosen to read this review, there is a good chance that you’re contemplating the purchase of this title. It is, after all, a fairly risk-free investment at only $20. But there is also a chance that you may be reading this review because you’ve already purchased the game, and want to see it receive the proper critical lashing it so desperately deserves. If you occupy the latter camp, well then, I’m sorry. No one should have to endure the shame and ridicule that is synonymous with buying into over-hyped marketing on a whim. But it happens, make no mistake about that. If you’re one of the lucky souls that hasn’t yet picked up Charlie’s Angels, then good for you and move along, ain’t nothing to see here.
First, a little obligatory background on the game. Charlie’s Angel’s story is not based on that of its big-screen counterpart’s, instead it introduces a whole new and “original” plot revolving around a guy named the “Thin Man”. Seems the “Thin Man” has perpetrated crimes against the world’s historical monuments. This elusive fellow, this “Thin Man” as he is called, has stolen famous landmarks around the world. The Lincoln Memorial, Stonehenge, l’ Arc de Triomphe, and indeed New York’s lone symbol of liberty, the very Statue of Liberty have all gone missing. And if there’s anything that fictitious evil doers should know, it’s that you don’t mess with New York lest you be blighted from existence by the live-action versions of the Power Puff Girls; Cameron “the butt” Diaz, Lucy “I’m Asian” Liu, and Drew “big-boned” Barrymore. Together they are – wait for it – Charlie’s Angels. Full-motion video cut-scenes depicting the Angels are interspersed throughout the experience and attempt to push the story forward, but as each mission consists simply of disposing of endless throngs of bad-guys and the occasional button pressing, not much narrative is necessary.
Charlie’s Angels is a straightforward brawler along the same lines as Double Dragon or Final Fight, if only immensely more mundane. You’ll assume control over one of the three high-kicking Angels multiple times during any given level. If that isn’t enough to whet your insatiable appetite for femdom tri-fections then its heaping serving of hellishly redundant-looking enemies and actual voice-work performed by the film’s respective stars surely will. Never mind that the dialogue ghiblets performed by the actors sound as if the lines are being delivered while being held at gunpoint, Phone Booth style.
Gameplay: you have a punch button, a kick button, a jump button, and a block button. You can also activate “angel time” (slows down all bad guys in your general vicinity). And that quick rundown, my friend, is as deep as this game’s rabbit hole goes. As you make your way around the game’s bland, sparse environments, button-mashing your way to victory over and over again, you’ll quickly learn to despise the game’s complete inability to provide a single iota of enjoyment, which, in truth, is the game’s single worst feature. Invisible walls often prevent your desire to progress, forcing you to mop up every last wrench-wielding goon before dropping their invisible barriers. And seemingly simple devices, such as ladders and stairs, are occasionally beyond your in-game persona’s comprehension, which shouldn’t be surprising considering the source material, I guess.
GRAPHICS, that magic eight-letter word that so many of us unabashedly use as a measuring stick to determine a game’s worthiness. Well, luckily this game won’t fool anyone into buying it with flashy visuals and cinematic flair. Oh no, Charlie’s Angels doesn’t stoop to such tactics to ensnare potential consumers. That would be wrong. In this game, what you see is what you get, no looks-to-performance extrapolation guesswork necessary here. Unfortunately, what you see is *far from pretty* – which wouldn’t be a bad subtitle for the game to begin with come to think of it. The Angel’s character renderings are composed of the utmost minimal amount of polygons, surfaces are very nearly completely devoid of texture maps.. quite simply, Charlie’s Angels makes Enter the Matrix look like the Spanish Inquisition.
There are a couple licensed musical tracks from the movie that are used at various parts in the game, but you actually have to play the game in order to hear them, which is unfortunate. Actually, you can hear The Vine’s Get Free just by going to the title screen, but even the title screen may be a little too close for comfort for most. In any case, the rest of the sound presentation is hardly laudable and barely worth noting except to say that you could listen to American Idol’s worst auditions ever played backwards and on repeat and have a less traumatic auditory experience than enduring this game’s tinny unintelligible sound effects and in-game voice clips, respectively.
Oh yes, life on Charlie’s-Angels-review island is good. Only very rarely does a game come along that is so truly worthy of nothing but the highest of scorn, that I get to fire all my synapses at will, locked and loaded in their full and upright position, at a target so rightly receptive. But even so, I would feel guilty if I had summed up this review without noting as least one “good” quality about the game. It’s easy to dish out nothing but hate on a game, and I’d feel like I failed to perform my duty as “impartial public interactive digital entertainment assessor” if I couldn’t muster a single compliment for the game. So, here goes. Every bad guy that you fight has their own health bar, uh, more games should, erm, do that. So you see, I’m not a playa [sic] hater, per se’, I just hate this game.
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