Chronicles of Riddick: Assualt on Dark Athena

2010-12-12 18:12:45

The Chronicles of Riddick, a game that tells a tale that was not told in any of the movies concerning the character. Is an interesting way to cash in on a movie franchise. Most movie based games suck, and most of them are just a rehash of what is seen on the big screen. As for Vin Diesel's character Riddick, this is a rare instance where the lore of the character is in fact expanded on quite well by various media. It all started with Pitch Black, a movie featuring a spaceship wrecked on a deserted planet, which just so happens to have a dark secret, a plague of meat eating alien bats that swarm at night eating anything dumb enough to be out in the dark. Unfortunately Dark also lasts forever on this planet, meaning that our hero's had little time to get to safety, and have to enlist the help of the resident serial murderer to help them out because he just so happens to have special eyes to see in the dark and a cut-throat survival instinct. While the original movie doesn't really expand on the character past that, the "sequel" to the movie titled Chronicles of Riddick does expand on the character turning him into some kind of rare race of beings that was almost obliterated by this race of evil beings that are scouring the universe to increase their ranks.

As it turns out the Chronicles of Riddick Assualt on Dark Athena is a treat, in that it actually is a double feature of a game. It not only contains Assualt on Dark Athena, it also has the original Xbox title "Escape from Butcher Bay" remastered and inserted into this disc. I was impressed, and definitely made it a point to play both. From a lore standpoint it definitely expands on the character of Riddick as it tells the sordid tale that is hinted at but never revealed in the movies about his time at butcher bay, and of course what riddick did after facing off in the last movie. The gameplay encourages the player to think like Riddick, constantly being on the lookout for ways to be an asshole to the "man" and kill off anyone who gets in your way. While not a murder simulator like ManHunt the game can feel depraved in a few places, but it all fits well within the confines of what it would be like to be Riddick. 

This game falls into what I would call first person stealther, similar to a first person version of Splinter Cell, only instead of being on the lawful side of the equation, you are a ruthless murderer of a man trying to get free, and exact revenge on those who have imprisoned you. 

Escape from Butcher Bay follows Riddick through his stay at Butcher Bay, starting in basic lock up and going all the way into the SuperMax parts of the facility, each time making a more dramatic escape and bigger mess for his captors, until he can finally escape and the game is won.

Assault on Dark Athena follows Riddick through a spaceship that captured his own ship in the middle of space and is enslaving those that it captures. Riddick shows the captain just why it's a bad idea to cross paths with Riddick.

The game design is pretty well done, and it definitely punishes wrong steps effectively while still allowing a little bit of leeway in terms of how to get things accomplished. The controls and the puzzles you encounter feel intuitive, and you might just find yourself suprised how easy it is to take on the persona of Riddick, and relish in being the gigantic asshole that he is.

Reason Result
Start 10
Voiced by Vin Diesel +2
Double Feature game 2 for 1! +5
Stealther that doesn't appear contrived or forced +2
Not Recommended for Children, but what do you expect, its Riddick! +2
Final Score 21/10

This game gets a 21/10, it was enjoyable from start to finish, and is not apologetic for its intensity anywhere along the plot. Riddick is a cruel asshole with only the tiniest amount of heart hidden beneath. If you came into this game expecting something child appropriate you apparently don't know the man the game is built around.