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Steve makes an enemy out of Dark Void Zero

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Dark Void Zero Review by Steve Sawyer

One of the biggest surprises in gaming last year was the immense failure of the relaunch of Bionic Commando. The game, which was based on the 8 bit classic of the same name barely managed to capture the same feeling or spirit of the original at all. In fact, it took away virtually everything that made Bionic Commando great, and replaced it all with heinous amounts of suck. Perhaps one of the second biggest surprises of last year, was the success of Bionic Commando Rearmed. A game that literally remade the original game level for level, and included a plethora of improvements, both in graphics, and reinvention of familiar mechanics. It was amazing.

So here I can't help but feel like Dark Void is trying to pull the same thing on me, with Dark Void Zero. Dark Void is a game that features a jet pack equipped bad-ass fighting aliens in an alternate dimension simply called "The Void". Dark Void Zero is essentially the same thing, but watered down to 8 bit graphics and two button controls. The game plays a lot like a mini Metroid, with jet packs, in that you'll be spending most of your time doing pain in the ass backtracking. Revisiting places you just left to go back and grab an item you didn't have access to before. The mechanics of the game are simple enough: one button jumps, the other shoots. You can use the D-Pad to move your character around and aim the direction of his shots. The only thing you can't seem to do is duck and shoot in front of you. I have no idea why, but it seems that if you want to crouch and shoot, you're going to simply send a spray of bullets into the floor for no damn reason at all. And since most enemies don't seem to live in the ground space in the 2 inches directly in front of you, this comes up a lot. The game essentially forces you to run face first into most firefights, and you end up taking good old fashioned 8 bit energy pellets to your poor stupid 8 bit skull. I was hoping for some redemption when I snagged the jet pack but the controls for the jet pack were similarly disappointing to me. The game tells you to hold the jump button if you want to manually control the boost of the jet pack, and to double tap if you want to keep the pack turned on. The problems here are pretty obvious right away. If you rely on the jet pack's hover ability to get around, you'll find that dodging enemy fire is next to impossible because of how slowly you move while hovering. And trying to control the pack manually, fly around, and shoot all at the same time is equally stupid.

The game isn't completely without value though. It does offer a variety of weapons, cool NES throwback graphics, and a chiptune soundtrack to match. And if you're lucky enough to grab it on Steam, it comes loaded with Achievements, so you can show off to your friends. But still, at the end of the day, the weird controls, the inability to shoot forward while crouching, and the forced backtracking make it hard for me to say that this game seems like anything but a cash-in to try and recoup the losses of the horrible game it's based on.

Dark Void Zero is available now for the Nintendo Dsi, iPhone, and PC and was developed by Capcom

Steve Sawyer
Editor in Chief

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Updated 06-09-10 at 07:51 by SteveSawyer

Tags: dsi, nintendo Add / Edit Tags
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  1. Dhalamar's Avatar
    The 3D Bionic Commando was good until you actually got the bionic arm. Then it fell the fuck apart COMPLETELY. It's not even worth the 8.99 it's going for at Gamestop now.

    I have Dark Void Zero for the PC (I tend to gravitate toward those 8 bit style games just because of the presentation) though I haven't played it all that much. I've ALWAYS been terrible at platformers. lol

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