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Clash of the Titans

Score: 50%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: NAMCO BANDAI Games America
Developer: Game Republic
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2 (Local Only)
Genre: Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

It's never a good sign when a licensed game arrives hot on the heels of a home release. Clash of the Titans does nothing to dispel that stigma. It's a real shame; I'm a huge fan of the 1981 Ray Harryhausen epic, and though I have no desire to see the remake, I don't have any problems with its existence. However, the fans of both films deserve better than this game.

I only found myself enamored with a few parts of this game's visual presentation. Some of the cutscenes play out in pseudo-storybook style. This has been done several times before, but it's a welcome sign of effort that unfortunately doesn't show through the rest of the production. Additionally, each time the player takes on and completes a quest, a really pretty fire effect accompanies the bit of text that appears. As far as the presentation goes, there are a few nods to the source material. For example, Bubo the mechanical owl saves your game for you. Unfortunately, the in-game visuals are dull as dishwater and technically problematic. The camera is often an issue and other characters tend to pop out of existence during Sub Weapon Seizes. Unnatural animations and other bizarre quirks constantly remind the player that they are playing a game, rather than living an experience. Greek mythology is supposed to inspire our imagination with its opulence and excess. I don't know whether Clash of the Titans is playing it too safe or just plain lazy.

Liam Neeson, Sam Worthington, and Ralph Fiennes clearly know when to stay away from a project. The voice acting in Clash of the Titans isn't the worst I've heard, but it's mixed and arranged poorly, causing even the most straightforward conversation to follow canned, robotic rhythm. The music isn't bad. Several parts of it loop, but I never found myself wishing for something that much better.


Gameplay:

As mentioned before, Clash of the Titans follows the Louis Leterrier retelling of the 1981 classic. It's a simple story of rebellion, vengeance, and love -- all set against the backdrop of Greek mythology. The capricious reign of the Gods of Olympus predictably causes them to lose favor with their human subjects. When people begin to reject and rebel against the Gods, they react like spoiled children and sweep down with a vengeance. The collateral damage includes the family of a young man named Perseus. He finds himself swept away to the island of Argos, where Queen Cassiopeia commits an act of blasphemy that sets her kingdom on the path to total destruction. Hades gives them a choice: sacrifice the lovely Princess Andromeda, or have the Kraken unleashed on the entire island. Perseus finds out that (gasp!) he's the son of Zeus, and therefore, a demigod. Naturally, he's the only person who can make all of this right, so off he goes on his adventure.

In theory, this should be a suitable frame for a solid action game. Unfortunately, due to some poor design decisions, it's not. The worst offender has to do with the fact that several non-playable characters force redundant and outright boring quests upon Perseus. This structure does not serve the subject matter well at all; do they not understand that Hades has issued a ten-day ultimatum? What good will it do to have Perseus thrash a group of Argos' strongest and bravest during the advent of a war of cosmic proportions? Perseus' quest does not remain front and center; because of that, the core of the entire story is completely undermined.


Difficulty:

Clash of the Titans isn't difficult as far as challenge goes. I'm convinced that the majority of gamers who get further than twenty percent into the game are bound by some sort of obligation to do so, because it is difficult to keep playing this game after a few agonizing hours.

Combat is straightforward and simple. Enemy telegraphs are spotty to say the least, but they are predictable enough for most gamers. Sub Weapon Seizes can be carried out by button-mashing, but Perfect Sub Weapon Seizes occasionally require spot-on timing. If you want Gifts, you've got to work for them. Every now and then, you'll have to do some platforming. These sequences are poorly thought out and can lead to frustration; however, a few minutes with each segment should be more than enough to see anyone through them.


Game Mechanics:

The Sub Weapon system lends a bit of depth to the combat. Perseus can steal weapons from his foes with a series of quick time events. Once he successfully performs a Sub Weapon Seize, the weapon is his to keep and upgrade. Sub Weapons range from hammers to axes to swords to bows to magic. As you can probably guess, there's a lot of variety; the only big drawback is that many of the Sub Weapons just aren't strong when compared to the ones acquired later in the game, making several early Gift investments seem wasteful.

The Sub Weapon system is linked directly to Soul and Gifts. Soul is used to power Sub Weapons; it can be acquired by simply pressing a button near a weak enemy. The specifics of exactly how Perseus extracts Soul energy from his enemies is thankfully left unexplained. Sub Weapon Seizes always kill enemies, but Perfect Sub Weapon Seizes yield more Gifts. Gifts are resources that Perseus can use to upgrade his Sub Weapons.

Several missions allow Perseus to take a sidekick, or Support Character, as they're called in the game. I never found myself relying on them as much as I probably should have. If Perseus finds himself overwhelmed at any point during combat, the press of a button will teleport his Support Character right behind him. It looks unnatural and is generally unnecessary most of the time. Still, it's nice to know that Perseus has some good old fashioned cannon fodder on his side to keep alive the illusion that death can hit anyone at any time.

If you've got a thing for Greek mythology and you like to play games, there are better ways to get your fix. Just steer clear of Clash of the Titans. It is completely unworthy of its source material.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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