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The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay


So, Chuck "The Daddy" Longer and I saw "The Chronicles of Riddick" in theaters last year and really liked it.  At the time, there was a game out that was based on the Riddick character (played by Vin Diesel), but me being me, I said "Hell, no!" because unless you just started playing games, you realize that anyone who makes a game out of a movie ought to be killed on the spot.

Then I popped in this game a couple of weeks ago.  As a great man once said...


"The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay" is set in the months before the first Riddick flick, "Pitch Black."  In the game, Riddick (voiced here by Diesel himself) is initially brought to the galaxy's worst prison, Butcher Bay, by Johns (Cole Hauser), the bounty hunter that is trying to sell Riddick to the highest bidder in "Pitch Black."  After spending time in General Population, Riddick must find a way out of the prison any way he can, and that's where you come in.

Besides the great sci-fi plotting in this game, Escape from Butcher Bay's best asset is the stunning look of the game, which even now is a top-five graphics engine on the Xbox.  The characters all look crisp, slowdown is nearly non-existent, and the voice work adds a lot of depth to the visuals.  Much like "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas", you will really have to push to find a more profane, more violent game than this; Riddick always seems to find a way to kill prison guards or other assailants in the most graphic way possible, which is strange given that the last flick was rated PG-13 and had almost nothing in the way of foul language or bloody action sequences.

The game mixes stealth with normal first-person action, but the big change here is the first-person hand-to-hand combat mode.  Riddick has a block move and a punch combo to work with, but combine that with some knives, shivs and clubs and things start to get interesting; for the first time, fighting in a FPS (first person shooter) feels just right.  Plus, Riddick has a few "stealth attacks" (much like the "Tenchu" ninja games) that are automatic animations that trigger if you get close to a guard...again, some of these are just flat-out wrong but make for a fun gameplay experience.  The game knows its limitations, and therefore is not a very long game since the designers clearly knew more than 15 hours would be too long for what's going on here.

I wish it was slightly longer, but otherwise, this was a solid game.  You can find it on eBay at most places for around $20 right now.

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