Games Based on Movies that Don’t Exist: Apocalypse

Apocalypse stars Bruce Willis as Trey Kincaid in a si-fi action-adventure spanning through prison riots, zombie filled sewers and crime ridden city streets all in a desperate attempt to stop the mad scientist, “The Reverend”, from destroying the world by summoning the four horsemen of the apocalypse. As the title would imply, this game is based on a movie that doesn’t exist, but unlike most of the other games which fit into that category, Apocalypse was never intended to be based on any kind of film or franchise. The reason I call it a game based on a non-existant movie is because everyone thinks that it’s a game based on a movie. Every time I had a friend over and they saw the game, they would always ask the same thing every time – “Is the movie any good?”. I too am guilty of simply assuming a game featuring Bruce Willis was naturally based on a film. I must have spent an hour and a half going through my local video store with a fine tooth comb trying to find that movie, only to ask the pimply girl behind the counter if they had it, which of course they didn’t. Thanks for nothing, Sarah.

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The game itself is actually quite good. The control scheme, a “twin-joystick” set-up where one joystick controls movement and the other controls direction of attacks, is really intuitive and makes for a smooth and satisfying gaming session. The player character is actually modelled in the likeness of Bruce Willis and his voice is also used in cut scenes between each level and for cheesy one-liners that he yells out at seemingly random intervals (This guy needs more lead in his diet!). I think what I liked the most was the difficulty of this game. It never really gets too hard. It might actually be a bit on the easy side, but it still feels like a challenge and does manage to provide some tricky stages, both in terms of combat and platforming.

As any ageing action star worth his salt, Bruce is has a number of brutally fun weapons at his disposal. Everything from the standard pulse rifle to a flame thrower, homing missiles and some kind of portable lightning-powered murder device. Bruce makes good use of his artillery to dispatch everything from zombies, robots, swamp rats and  police officers who beg for their lives (Don’t shoot! I have a wife and Kiiiii-). The violence in this game would be completely over-the-top for a Hollywood blockbuster, but strangely enough seems just right for a video game. There is little depth to the game, but there is a whole lot of runnin’ and gunnin’ fun to be had.

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The plot line is revealed though cut scenes at the end of each boss fight. Honestly, this game could have been a decent popcorn movie had it hit the theatres, but I guess we will just have to make do with the Playstation One and the small screen. The stages are many and varied, starting with Bruce breaking his ass out of jail and then ploughing through a sewer, the burning city and some kind of factory. It’s all good stuff. Nothing amazing, but a super-fun game all the same. It was reasonably well received upon its release, but never really managed to become a major title. It’s a shame, but the game remains for alcoholic losers like me to play, and I couldn’t be happier.

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