Enter The Matrix
by Todd Zuniga
I hated the film Reloaded. In my writerly way, I've always felt that anyone can compose a great sentence--it's connecting many of those sentences into a great story that's the challenge. So, while the fight scenes in Reloaded are off-the-charts cool, they're connected by a story that could help a suffering insomniac score some Zs.
As for the videogame, no OPMer wanted to review Enter the Matrix because, really, we all thought it would fall somewhere in the bad-to-god-awful range. But, this being my last ever review, I reckoned it would be my optimal swan song write-up in which I could be mean-spirited and hammer away at the shoddy control, horrific camera, and onion-skin-thin story line.
But, best laid plans, etc., etc.
I liked Enter the Matrix quite a bit. Somehow, I couldn't stop playing it. I was thirsty to understand the flick, since it made almost no sense to small-brained me. Because the game ties into the movie in a never-before-done way, it jacked me, the casual fan, into The Matrix universe. As I beat missions, I unlocked video clips that aren't from the movie, but buffer the film's scenes. If there were no videogame, maybe they'd have stretched the movie, but why bother? This is a great way to deliver backstory. Ready for a quick for-instance? Prefaced, of course, by the most shouted word around the office: Spoilers!
OK, so you know the scene in which Morpheus is fighting atop the truck and he jumps off and lands on Niobe's car? Where did Niobe come from? The game tells you, since you're playing up to that point of the movie! It's really cool, and it invests you in a game that is otherwise so terribly camera-tized, you'd think the Wachowski brothers had nothing to do with it (although they did).
There's some massive sloppiness that will challenge you along the way, but most of that sloppiness is great for a laugh. The car tires are hexagonal. I didn't watch that closely, maybe, but weren't car tires round in Reloaded? And keep your remote close: For some reason, the audio is about 40 decibels off, so you'll have to turn it up for the movie scenes and then down for the gameplay, or risk going deaf. The letters "WTF" seem to apply best here.
Of course, the hardcore Matrix dorks who think Keanu Reeves deserves an Oscar will be pleased by the varied missions for the two characters, and they'll even get into the cool hacking minigames.
In truth, the game is almost a cultural must-play the way the movie is a must-see. All that Matrix stuff (slow-motion fight scenes, bullet time, etc.) works, even if you can't always see it because of the oddball camera. My advice: Take the red pill. And by "take," I mean "rent."