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The cover of "Black" (available on both PS2 and Xbox for $19.99 now) just has the game title and about a thousand shell casings.  That should tell you all you need to know about one of the more violent, senseless games ever made...which makes it pure genius.

There's almost no story--you play a member of a black-ops group tasked with taking out Russian and Middle Eastern terrorists led by a rogue American ex-pat--and over the course of eight levels, all the game asks you to do is kill every single person in sight with some of the biggest, loudest guns I've ever seen in a first-person game.  There are no puzzles, there is no teamwork, there are no NPCs (non-player characters) that you have to interact with.  You remember that moment in "The Matrix" where Neo responds to the question "What do you need...besides a miracle?"

"Guns...LOTS of guns..."

That's "Black" in a nutshell.  There are guns and clips lying around everywhere, and all you have to do is kill everyone en route to the elimination of that terrorist leader.  Done.  On Normal, you'll beat the game in six or seven hours, tops.  Replay value is decent; there are little things you can do to earn bonuses (like take out enemy computers or gain intel through stolen documents) but most importantly, you'll just need to find ways to kill more and more people as the difficulty increases.

And, after a long day at the office, "Black" can be some great brain candy.  Now that the price is reduced, this one is a slam dunk if you like first-person shooters.

Rating:  Opening Weekend


Feedback?  Comments?  Salma Hayek's digits?


Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09