A Mefite recommended Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, and it was on sale for $10, so I’ve been playing Vin Diesel.  I named my profile Vinbert.

Not many games show your character in a mirror. This one does. Because it's Vin Diesel

It’s not a bad game.  You wake up on the beach, jump and fight your way through a brief tutorial, and run down a corridor into a ship in the middle of interstellar space.  OK, I didn’t quite follow that part, but this ship is full of mercs, the really bad kind, worse than interstellar criminal Riddick.  You sneak around the ship finding elements to make your escape, and dispatch most everyone you meet.  Or, you know, don’t sneak around, just kill ’em all, because dammit, you’re Vin Diesel.

Vin provides the face, the voice, and the attitude.  He’s given to saying things like:

Now the monsters have something to fear.

You don’t want me to think you’re useless.

I’m Hell’s Messenger– named Riddick.

The best way to escape a problem is to solve it.

OK, that last one doesn’t sound very badass, but he says it badass.  I hear Starbreeze created a state-of-the-art facial animation system for this game, and then didn’t use it, because Vin says every line in the same deep threatening monotone, with the same utter lack of expression. 

There is a mechanic for dragging dead bodies into the shadows so they don’t attract notice.  Neat, except doesn’t Vin Diesel relish fighting?  Maybe they should have let him put sprays next to each corpse.

But, eh, a little cheesiness doesn’t hurt a game, perhaps helps.  That’s something I found running RPGs with friends: a scenario that would be cheesy in a movie can be quite fun to play, because you’re in it.  The familiarity of the situation gives you motivation and clues what to do.  So far in Dark Athena it works pretty well– there’s a story behind what I’m doing, Vin is pretty entertaining, the ship is beautifully rendered, and the voice acting is good. 

A lot of video games explore nasty or post-apocalyptic worlds with a full complement of psychos.  It’s kind of an oddity that (say) Fallout 3 and Borderlands both suggest that the psychos want to eat you.   For what it’s worth, the Dark Athena baddies are more obsessed with rape, which is more realistic and perhaps more disturbing. 

One more factoid about Riddick we learn from this game: apparently his eyes emit light, which is why he wears those shades.

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