With Angels like these, who needs Satan?
For some inexplicable reason, I like to keep a collection of all the lousy games I've reviewed. After all, I spent so many painful hours plugging away at dreck like Antz Extreme Racing and Men in Black II, I might as well have something to show for it.
And I almost feel sorry for games like Minority Report and Die Hard: Vendetta. If I don't give these ill begotten "games" a good home, who will? Plus, they make for some very decorative coffee coasters.
Incidentally, aside from being total failures, all those games I mentioned have movie tie-ins. Time and time again, I hope for something good and meaningful out of these movie games, only to be clocked in the gut and then spat on. Unsurprisingly, history repeats itself yet again with the release of Charlie's Angels for the Gamecube, or as I prefer to call it, one of Johnny's Frisbees.
Charlie's Angels, the video game, doesn't tie in directly to either of the two movies. Instead, it has a nonsensical story of its very own, involving the global disappearance of some treasured monuments. And thus Charlie calls forth his three jive-talking wenches, Natalie, Dylan, and Alex to save those monuments. Honestly, would it be so much trouble for Charlie to do his own work for once? The lazy jerk.
So now the three Angels must chase their quarry through a bunch of third person perspective levels, armed with a basic punch, kick, block and a floaty, fairy-like jump. This jump can be followed with a limited punch or kick. These levels are more like stop and go traffic: move a little, fight a lot of enemies, and contemplate the various invisible walls in your way before you are allowed to move on to next little stop and go area.
Further into the game, you also gain some throws and combos. Unfortunately, these "additions" don't add an ounce of skill or technique to the monstrously mindless button mashing being labeled as "gameplay." There are intermittent boxes to kick around, as well as some powerups and the rare hidden item, but essentially you are getting absolute zero in terms of an interactive environment.
With their hack kung fu moves, the Angels are able to take on just about every possible kind of non-villain; Construction workers, French maids, priests, and shirtless dandies all seem to be harboring some form of unresolved anger toward the Angels. I don't get it. Why they be hating?
It's a common enough that wave after waves of enemies will attack, but c'mon – can't we actually have some kind of story here? Are the fighting priests after you because it's sacrilegious to call yourself an Angel ? Did Charlie offend the French Maids Union? Plus, the AI is so basic, there's barely any point to it all.
Along with the regular health meter and lives, there's a bonus meter that fills up as you beat enemies. This "feature" also amounts to zilch for the game. Essentially, when you perform combos with your bonus meter filled, a cockamamie, half-assed "Angel Time" effect briefly flickers by. The instruction manual calls it Angel Time, I call it slowdown.
During the game, if you get tired of playing as one of the Angels, you can switch to another one. Why even bother? Each girl is practically identical. A move may look different here or there, but you'll be doing the same things no matter whom you play as. Mash, mash, mash the gamepad. From start to finish, that is just about all you do in Charlie's Angels. You could just go mash a few keys on your keyboard right now for the fun of it. Go ahead, give it a try. This saves you money, too.
If generic music and the sounds of a tortured duck turn your knobs, then the ladies of Charlie's Angels are sure to please. All three of these lovely lasses spout out odd noises and mumbled catch phrases to create a cacophony of aching eardrums.
Wait – did I call them lovely? More like oddly pointy, boxy, and bearing as little resemblance to their Hollywood counterparts as possible. The character modeling is mired in the N64 age of cubist thought, and the hair-dos all look like big blobs of spaghetti. Mario will be so pleased.
With unbelievably backwards graphics for this day and age, including lazy texturing and an unsteady camera, I simply don't understand why the frame rate can't even keep up. I have to say, this game looks more like a lazy student's project than something sold in stores. In fact, here is a whole collection of people who have been more sucessful at recreating Charlie's Angels than Ubi Soft.
Even the cinematics take the half-assed route. 90% of the videos take place from within Charlie's cozy detective agency. That means the same CG shots of the girls talking to Bosely are used time and time again. Sure it saves some developmental rendering time, but it makes for some damn boring movies. Even in their higher polygon, cinematic form, the girls only marginally look like their real-life counterparts.
Charlie's Angels tries to do so little, and still manages to come up short. Optimistically speaking, Charlie's Angels represents the bare, bare, bare minimum of what constitutes a game. Yet among my canon of crappy games, this one takes the cake as the most vapidly pointless game yet. Good bye, Angels, I'll see you in Hell.
In this case, Hell being under my mug of java on the coffee table.