Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Blacklight: Tango Down
Blacklight: Tango Down review: This budget title offers a decidedly average deathmatch experience
- It's a budget game that works...
- It's a budget game...
If you don't want to splash out for a full-priced Call of Duty or Medal of Honour experience, Blacklight: Tango Down is a good downloadable game for short bursts of deathmatch fun. Just don't expect it to compete with the big guys, or offer anything really innovative.
Medal of Honour, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Front Mission Evolved, Goldeneye (if you count the Wii): there's been a wealth of very high profile first-and third-person shooters that have hit consoles in time for Christmas this year.
To say it's a saturated market would be an understatement. The FPS genre is to the West what the RPG and kawaii-cute, wind-up-skirt dating sim is to Japan. Given it has proven to be so successful, naturally developers and publishers look to take advantage of the massive audience for these games.
Enter Blacklight: Tango Down, a downloadable-only title that delivers such an overwhelmingly average experience that the developers, Zombie, have almost made an art form of it.
This game is a deathmatch experience, and you'll be whaling away at reasonably rendered (thanks to the Unreal engine) camouflaged avatars across a range of decent maps. The design of the maps keeps the combat chugging along at a pretty fast rate, so once you get playing (occasionally you'll have difficulty joining in matches) you're not likely to get bored.
The middling presentation is hampered by an overuse of the ugly grey-and-brown textures of the world, but lag aside, the frame rate holds itself up ok. The music is the standard kind of "quick we better do something" stuff that we're used to from other budget games, but it's not going to make your ears bleed or anything.
There's an experience system, which is quite familiar to FPS players by now. As you level up, you'll unlock more powerful weapons and upgrades. The incentives to play on are acceptable, and some of the unlockables are pretty cool, although this does make it more difficult to newcomers who will probably want to team up with more experienced players for team deathmatches when they start playing.
The multiplayer modes are the run-of-the-mill options you get with every other game, with the typical collection of capture the flag, deathmatch and team modes.
The one major innovation in Blacklight: Tango Down is unfortunately quite humdrum in execution. By pressing up on the D-pad, you'll switch your visor to "see through walls and pinpoint exactly where the enemies are" mode. When you do this you can't shoot, so you leave yourself open to attack, but at least you can track down anyone who is hiding.
The only problem is once you drop out of this visor mode you have to wait a moment while a canned animation plays. In a first-person shooter, that moment can be deadly.
The single player mode is not really worth playing through, but at least you can do so with three friends, and it's only a handful of levels. The difficulty here is quite high too, with no real introduction — so some people will find a medicorum of satisfaction in working through it.
I've used 10 different synonyms for 'average' in this review, and that's the best summary I can think of for this game. That's not necessarily a bad thing, mind you — nothing is broken in Blacklight: Tango Down, and as long as the number of people playing online stays up, you're going to have a good time. It's $15 well spent.
For obvious reasons, though, if you have $100 to spend on a game, rather than $15, you're going to get Medal of Honour or Call of Duty.
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