Published by: Infogrames (now owned by Atari)
Developed by: Shiny Entertainment
ESRB Rating: T for Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence
Written and Directed by the Wachowski Brothers
Learning Curve: 10 -15 Minutes
For: PS2, PC, Gamecube, Xbox
Version Reviewed: Gamecube
Reviewed By: Drew Regensburger

A Matrix video game has been rumored since the film won several awards at the Oscars in 1999. In fact, the Wachowski brothers, who wrote several comic books based on horror author Clive Barker\'s work, had initially planned to make a video game, and then a movie, and so on. But a video game was not a good idea, initially, so the Wachowskis took the game idea to Warner Bros., and the rest is history. The game was not out of the picture, however. After The Matrix won awards, and soon became a major part of today\'s popular culture, a game was decided to be made. However, this game would not be based on the original movie\'s excellently choreographed fight scenes. It would instead run parallel to the movies that were being made at the same time as the game, and would star two lesser characters from The Matrix Reloaded-Niobe, Captain of the Logos (played by Jada Pinkett Smith), and Ghost, Lieutenant of the Logos (played by Anthony Wong). The game was to feature motion captured moves, scenes that were from the new movie, along with scenes that added to the story in live action, and the now-famous bullet time, now a common Easter Egg that game developers sneak in, made famous by Max Payne\'s much-hyped \'Bullet Time\'. Many games and movies imitated this innovative and compelling graphical style; how would Enter the Matrix live up to the copycats?


Not the best. While in-game graphics are usually excellent, with few glitches, cut-scene graphics are actually kind of strange. On one hand, you have awesome reflective surfaces, but the developers can\'t seem to make any circular object, such as a wheel on a car is octagonal, not round, which is kind of strange to me. Another glitch in cut-scenes is when a hand is holding a phone. If you\'ve ever watched any Matrix movies, you know that phones play a huge role, as they are the only things that can jack a person into and out of the Matrix. Another weird thing is that when an Agent starts dodging bullets, there are no blur lines that show up. Otherwise, the game\'s effects shine It feels authentic when you plunge into the now much exploited Bullet Time, known here as Focus, not like some knock-off such as Max Payne. Fighting moves are fluid, and motion-captured, meaning that all the moves that were performed in-game were done on a movie set. The physics engine feels just overblown enough for it to be from the Matrix movies, so enemies don\'t fly everywhere, such as in Minority Report: Everybody Runs (to read that review, click here), but you can run up the sides of wall, and dodge enemies, as well as do incredibly long jumps (though they aren\'t as long as those in the movie). Still, the game feels enough like the movies to make you feel like you are playing as Ghost or Niobe, which isn\'t necessarily a bad thing.

Game Play

Surprisingly short for a two-disc game, but really fun while it lasts. You see, there are three difficulty levels, in addition to a hacking system. The hacking system is kind of like a cheat code system, except that when you hack through the system you unlock multiplayer. You can also unlock Training and FMVs that you typically unlock through the game. If you want to view your favorite FMVs, well, then you have to go into the game and play the mission again. Who wants to do that? Just get into the hacking, and unlock the FMVs for your viewing pleasure. In spite of the surprisingly short game time, there are also multiple load times. In fact, at one point, your character steps out of a doorway from a fresh load time, and then walks into another doorway, ten feet away. In that doorway is another load time. Kind of strange. One of the things that is hyped in the advertisements for the game is that each character has a different plot to follow, with some interconnected segments. This is true.mostly. You see, when you try to play as a different character after you finish as the first character, you get some different missions, some different cut scenes, but for the most part, each of the missions is the same. At one point in the game, Niobe is captured when you play as Ghost. When you play as Niobe, however, Ghost is the one captured. Why couldn\'t we find out what happened? In another level, you have to go through sewers to save other revolutionaries from SWAT teams. Before this happens, you are told that either Ghost or Niobe, depending on which character you are playing as, is pinned down somewhere else. Why couldn\'t we be the character pinned down? It\'s not that the levels aren\'t fun-they are, but they get repetitive after playing through with two different characters. One cool thing, though, is the missions that are different. The Airport, for example, has Niobe running through a pitch black underground, while Ghost provides cover for a different crew in a control tower. In that same mission, Niobe fights an Agent on a runaway airplane, while Ghost drives a truck chasing said airplane and a captured comrade. When Shiny did branching stories, they did them well. When they didn\'t, the game becomes a well-made, repetitive romp through the Matrix. Fighting is one of the better aspects of the game, not surprisingly. With very little effort, you will soon be taking enemies down in a multidirectional fighting system, with all moves choreographed by the same team who choreographed the fights in the movie. A say, for instance, you are facing an enemy who is firing at you. A simple tap of the Z button will knock him down, disarm him, and then neutralize him, if you get my drift. At other times, you can use stealth to disable enemies, or just knock \'em out, Trinity-style. Focus, this game\'s version of bullet time, allows for even cooler moves. If you hold down the Focus button (the L button on the Gamecube), back up to a wall, and then press kick while up against an enemy, you will do a wall kick, which knocks out some of the earlier enemies, and plain hurts later enemies. There are virtually limitless combos that you can perform with enough practice. You could, plausibly, go through the entire game without using Focus, or kicking an enemy. You could. But that\'s not fun, and not a theory I\'m really willing to try out for myself. Unfortunately, for a game that tries to deliver multiple game play styles, this game fails in two of the lesser areas. While the majority of the game takes place behind your character, some of it takes place behind the wheel of a car, and behind the stick of a hover ship in the Real World. When you drive, the car moves way too easily from left to right, and if you are unfortunate enough to hit a bump, the car will fly very easily. It\'s like Shiny was trying to create action packed car sequences, and in this respect they succeeded, but they failed in making the sequences overly frustrating, and not quite fun enough. I think that the Wachowskis should have licensed the game to EA Games, if only for the Need For Speed engine, which is extremely well done. Flying, on the other hand, is not fun, and is completely aggravating. There is no behind the ship view, which is what I prefer to play with, and if you run into a wall, there is no consequence, which I would expect there would be. This is, however, required to beat the game, and it is only in the Niobe scenario, which is fortunate.


Well, with the voices of all the cast, the game has extremely good sound. Gunshots, fighting effects, and footsteps sound very realistic, so the game does achieve a cinematic experience.


Simple, and intuitive. That\'s all I\'ve got to say.


Ahh. Here we come, to the big \'how can a rated R movie be translated into a rated T game?\' part of the review. The game is violent, as I have stated above. You see, for most of the game, you are fighting cops. The idea though, is that it isn\'t bad if it isn\'t real, which is against our belief system as Christians. The very reason games are rated Mature is because of the fact that many people object to violence and gore in games. I have told many of my friends that the game is so violent, it might have been rated Mature if there was blood. But now that I have played Minority Report, I\'m not so sure, given the violence level of that game, this game is like Super Monkey Ball 3: Out of the Ball (not a real game title) or something. Anyway, the truth of the matter is, despite the high violence level, the violence is for something: it is there so you can save the world from the evil machines in a dystopian reality, which basically means that the future, according to this game, isn\'t all that pleasant. The content descriptors in this game say \'Suggestive Themes\'. Why? Well, there is some kissing. Not much, mind you. This is from the Merovingian\'s wife, Persephone, played by Monica Bellucci. Her character is actually a rogue computer virus, just like the Merovingian, but she is actually kind of strange. She will give information freely, but only if you kiss her like you kiss the person you are in love with. For Neo, this would be Trinity. For Ghost, this would probably be Niobe (we\'re not exactly told, but it is implied). And for Niobe, a female character, it MIGHT be Ghost. But, again, the game does not reveal this to the player. If the player\'s character does succeed in kissing Persephone well, then she will point you in the right direction. But the objectionable thing is that this is a same sex kiss in a video game, something that was not necessary. There are two ways to not watch this scene. Either you press a button when the cut scene comes on, or you just don\'t play Niobe\'s file. While the latter is a viable option, the former is probably preferable, because you can always skip scenes, and if you want to get the entire story, you need to play as both characters. Language is another problem with the game. Because of the fact that the game is from a rated R movie franchise there was bound to be cussing in the game. Just about the only curse they don\'t use is the f word. There is also a few times where the Lord\'s Name is used in vain, as a curse, but that is about all that is bad in language. With stuff like this in a video game, it eventually falls to the consumer to read the review, and then decide for him/herself what they think of the game. I do not believe that using God\'s Name in a disgraceful and disgusting way(such as using it as a curse) is okay in any way, shape, or form. So why do developers do it? It is because of the way that our world has turned into a place of immoral men. Can you smell the stink of our morality slipping? I sure can. And it makes me sick.

Final Ratings

C- Game play A
Graphics B
Sound A
Control A

Overall 84%

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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