Darkman (Ocean) Review | Amiga Power - Everygamegoing

Amiga Power

By Ocean
Amiga 500

Published in Amiga Power #6

Yet another B-movie has its mediocrity captured on the Amiga...


In which Ocean, with a number of major licences due in the run-up to Christmas, bung up what's hopefully the last in their series of dodgy movie-related runaround things - a series which has included some of Ocean's poorest games in recent memory (Total Recall, Navy Seals, Nightbreed, etc, etc), Darkman takes the usual route, being composed of a number of sub-games all bearing some resemblance to a sequence from the movie, none great games in their own right, but hopefully all combining to make something reasonable entertaining. Of course, normally this approach fails miserably, but Ocean (particularly) have tried it so many times by now, they must be getting good at it. Right?

Right! No, sorry, only joking. Darkman surprises no-one very much by being yet another spectacularly mediocre collection of inconsequential little snippets of arcade action which could have been from any of a thousand games were it not for the main sprite being a movie character.

The biggest and most complex segments of the game involve, basically, running along the screen battering the fire button incessantly in order to punch and kick the swarms of enemies (two different sprites to choose from!) out of the way. Calling it a beat-'em-up, though, would be an insult to even the poorest of beat-'em-ups, because as long as you keep pummelling away on the fire button, the bad guys simply can't get near you.

The only complicated strategy you have to master is to get all of them on one side of you as they appear on screen, then just stand still and biff away as they line up to come at you. No matter how many there are, all will fall prey to your lightning fists.

Things only get worse in the intervening stages, where you have to take pictures of your enemies at a window (via an Operation Wolf-ish sub-game not unlike the ones in RoboCop), in order to gather enough information to make yourself a disguise for the runny-punchy levels. The disguise stops the baddies from trying to hit you (big deal), but runs out after about ten seconds or so anyway, making it a complete waste of time.

Escaping from these first few levels (the second 'proper' level is lengthy and slightly tricky, and sends you all the way back to the start when you lose a life) brings you to the rooftop helicopter chase sequence, where you're chased across some rooftops by a helicopter (so no surprises there). This calls for even less skill than the levels before, as all you can do is run along trying to avoid the huge bombs dropped by the chopper, the explosions of which blow you off the top of the building if you get even remotely close to them.

It was around this point that I got completely fed up with suffering such lazily-designed rubbish and consigned the game to the 'never-to-be-seen-again' drawer, but those of you with lots of time on your hands who can be bothered to play a bit further will find, largely, more of the same in the later levels, with the exception of a neat and imaginative 'driving' sequence, where Darkman hangs from a rope underneath a helicopter and has to dodge the oncoming traffic by swinging around. Neat though this is, it isn't worth putting up with the rest of this feeble mediocrity of a game for.

The Bottom Line

Good graphics, bad sound, and terminally ugly gameplay - it's Another Duff Movie Game, I'm afraid, based on another of Ocean's fairly duff choice of movies. (Oh, and the documentation is a disgrace too.) One more great reason to look forward to Christmas.

Stuart Campbell

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