- Constantine (2005 on J2ME)
Description official descriptions
John Constantine is the name of the main character in the Hellblazer comic by Vertigo DC. This game is based on the movie Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves. The player assumes the role of Constantine, a mage/exorcist/demonslayer of the modern age. A man who fights Evil, but remains cynical and skeptical in the face of Good. He also smokes a lot.
The game is played in third person perspective, switching to first person when the hero enters narrow spaces. Constantine's goal is to discover how and why Demons have managed to physically enter Earth, although the ancient laws forbid it. He utilizes a number of holy weapons and artifacts, from twin revolvers (dubbed the Witch's Curse) that shoot stones from the Holy Lands to Holy Water Bombs and the Cross Shotgun. Constantine can also utilize various kinds of offensive magic powered by the souls of slain demons. Often he will be obliged to travel to Hell, which resembles a perpetually ablaze and decaying version of our world, in order to bypass obstacles. Each level is linear and is played sequentially, following most of the story of the movie with a few sections added in or stretched out to allow for more action. Hidden cards in levels will unlock cutscene animatics, concept art, and interviews with the stars of the film.
- Константин: Повелитель тьмы - Russian spelling
Credits (PlayStation 2 version)
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Average score: 63% (based on 33 ratings)
Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 16 ratings with 1 reviews)
The observation was made once that movie-license games of the modern era, unlike those of the 16-bit and before, are merely mediocre instead of being almost unplayable. After the passing of Ocean and Acclaim, both of whom made their fortunes, and dug their graves, on cheap movie license games, publishers wizened up to the fact that even with an established brand a game still had to be playable. Unfortunately scheduling for movie-license games still makes it difficult to be anything more.
So, Constantine. Decent film. Terrible adaptation of the source material, as is par for course, but it managed to at least be entertaining for what it was. The game has no aspirations to be anything more than the film, but there was an effort to translate the film as faithfully as possible, with exceptions made to cut down on talking and expand the action levels. The downtown LA hellscape of the film is fantastically rendered and is really unlike any other game environment. The game moves at a fast clip too, so while the Earth and Hell environments start to feel a little samey, you're still moving through them quickly enough so that they don't become repetitious.
One major departure from the movie is the sheer number of demons you'll have to fend off, as the Constantine game is cut from traditional action-game cloth. They all animate smoothly and die in a festive shower of ash, but they don't do much aside from running headlong at you or lobbing projectiles from a distance. Another concession made for action game standards is John's large and frankly ridiculous armory. Stuffed into his coat are a pair of pistols that fire holy stones, a repeating nail gun fed with nails soaked in the blood of martyrs, bits of parchment that function as divine napalm when ignited, and so much more. The guns all have they own strengths and quirks, and do what they can to make combat entertaining.
Unfortunately that originality did not extend far beyond the weapon designs, because I have never seen a less interesting rogues gallery in any game I can think of. Either Bits wasn't allowed to design monsters of their own, or they didn't feel like it, because every monster in the game is designed around the single demon design from the film, only with added spikes or glowy bits. There aren't many of them either, and they all get plenty of play. The first time a Behemoth shows up it's a pretty tense moment. The fourth time you have to wonder if they were just stalling for time.
While the guns do feel nice, none of the other controls rise above just being there. Context sensitive actions like climbing and jumping happen automatically, except when they don't because you're not supposed to be going that way. There are also a few crate puzzles sprinkled throughout for those times when John doesn't feel like reaching above his head.
One new trick John has picked up is the ability to see through illusions and make enemies pop up in dark environments; the actual name of it escapes me so I'll just name it by what it does: the Turn Everything Blue Button. Much like Detective Vision in Batman: Arkham Asylum there's no penalty for using the TEBB aside from making the entire game look butt ugly. Thankfully almost every hidden area in the game has its own visible tells so you only really need to hit the TEBB when the lights go out, but I do wish that they had made that feature more functional and less hideous.
John in the game is voiced by a decent sound-a-like of Keanu Reeves, although how much that actually adds to the game is debatable. What doesn't add to the game are John's frequent quips that sound like a teenage Duke Nukem working his way through English Lit 101. The game's writer valued "edgy" over "actually makes any sense", and he doesn't come close to the comic or even the actual movie's level of writing.
The Bottom Line
Honestly you've probably already played plenty of games that do everything Constantine does, but better. This is not a game that anyone should seek out or put aside time for, but in the off chance that you find yourself in possession of the game with an afternoon to burn, Constantine has a few hours of entertainment lined up. Of course, ideally, you'd track down some of the Hellblazer comics and see what it is that made this series popular in the first place.
Xbox · by Lain Crowley (6594) · 2010
Related Sites +
THQ's official site for the game Constantine
- MobyGames ID: 17039
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Silverblade.
Game added March 23rd, 2005. Last modified August 17th, 2023.