Retro Monday “Blade II”
Developer: Mucky Foot Productions
Released: September 2002
Last week, I talked about the “Blade” movie tie-in game and how badly it was designed and therefore terrible. Now, to go full circle, I will talk about the “Blade II” movie tie-in game which was badly designed and not that terrible.
The year was 2002, only 2 years after the first game was released. With the film a “success,” it was time to make a game that had nothing to do with the film and not get in the way of the maybe sequel because Hollywood loved trilogies. You would think that the people of Mucky Foot Productions, being ex-employees of the great Bullfrog Productions and with their two previous games being a BAFTA short-listed game (“StarTopia”) and their debut game being well received (“Urban Chaos”), they would make a great Blade game. Others must of thought so too, because they where working on a “Bulletproof Monk” tie-in game, a Punisher game and “Urban Chaos 2” before they closed their doors in 2003. Turns out, making a BATFA short listed game doesn’t necessarily mean you will make any money.
One of the major faults the first Blade game had was the lack of camera control considering it was a 3rd person game. “Blade II” falls into the same hole but for a different reason. The game uses the second stick as a 360° attack button. You push the stick in whatever direction you want to melee attack in and Blade will swing in that direction accordingly. You can rotate the camera around Blade if you are stationary and IF you’re not holding any weaponry. Therefore, there is no camera control. The 360° attack control would have been interesting but it feels like a gimmick. The rest of the game is designed as a normal 3rd person game but with stunted camera controls and strange melee system.
Apart from that, the game is okay. The graphics are not great but, as early PS2 games go,not that bad. By that, I mean there are worse. Quite a few better but there are worse looking games. The plot of the game, from a modern perspective, is not that bad either. The plethora of vampire fiction that has come out recently has shown how bad vampire stories can be. Seeing what teen vampire fiction has risen to a prominence in recent years makes me weep. Although, and here is my moment to prove I am a film pansy, I prefer the old take of vampire fiction connected to the era of German expressionism and the chiaroscuro style. That pansy moment brought to you by a failed degree and the loss of a few grand.
A modern look at the game actually makes the game look slightly better. Mostly because the phrase ‘it could have been worse’ springs to mind, which is odd. I went into this editorial (yes, that’s what I’m calling it from now on rather then ‘thing’ or ‘contractual obligation’) thinking I was going to crucify the game with rusty nails. But I’m not going to. I think the best modern example I can give is “Mirror’s Edge,” having recently finished it(finally!). They both try something new. They are both experimental, and that’s good in the end. Although, “Mirror’s Edge” is a fun experience, has stunning visuals and is based in a world that you get engrossed in through out the game, “Blade II” does not. It’s world is a cookie-cut representation of modern vampires in the modern age. (That was a sort of a pansy film moment.) Although, that might have something to do with the Blade film franchise as a whole rather then just the game.
Much of the game’s problems can be forgiven but it will always come down to the odd controls. A game can be ‘the best game eve,r’ but if the controls make the game difficult to play then it is going to score badly because people can’t get anywhere in the game. It could have been worse, but it also could have been alot better. Let’s see if Marvel, who now has the usage rights of Blade returned to them, can do it better. Snipes is the definitive Blade right now, (ok, for me) so a retcon rather then a reboot is preferred.
Retro Score: 2.5
Modern Score: 3/5
My Open Letter to Marvel:
If you reboot Blade, keep the stuff that was good about the original, like the dhampir and Whistler stuff. Also, only put him in the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ if he fits. Aliens’ going in it is okay because, unbelievably, it’s rather normal for most of us. (And “Guardians” will sell and a sequel would be nice, but putting two in competition with what is “Justice League Begins” is just a bad idea.)
Jamming vampires into the universe is a harder sell then aliens, so don’t just try to stick a pointy, blood sucking nail in to the square “Avenger” sized hole please. Blade is too important to balls up because you want more money.
My Open Letter to DC:
Dear DC, (MUHAHAHA! It’s actually Universal Pictures because they own DC)
Can you just call it “Justice League Begins” already because that’s what it is. It is no longer “Man of Steel 2” and with all the characters you’re spamming in because Marvel beat you to the punch it is becoming less and less “Batman Vs Superman.” Just call it a JL film and people will hate you less.
And just because you have a fancy computer effects department, it doesn’t mean you should make a film just by special effects. Subtly is better then nuking the word or pulling the ‘world blow up’ card from the nearest writers taint.