Men In Black: The Game
Men In Black by SouthPeak is a game that I feel can unfortunately be added to a list of "not so great accomplishments." A decent set of graphics are weighed down by a so-so story and confusing gameplay. I would have to say that Men In Black is a far cry from the fast-paced, exciting action/adventure game I was hoping for. While I have not seen the movie, it is my understanding that this game follows the same theme. Using characters to represent Agent K, Agent J, and Agent L, you are able to choose which one you would like to be (I happened to like the Tommy Lee Jones look-alike) to complete your missions. Basically, your missions are to save the world from aliens, or in other words, "to protect Earth from the Scum of the Universe."
I found Men In Black to be an extremely frustrating game to play -- not quite an all-out, knock-'em-down action game, and nowhere near an obsessive adventure game -- Men In Black lies somewhere in the lukewarm, murky middle. When I play a game, I like to be able to make choices, even if they are the wrong ones and I have to live with the consequences. After all, isn't that what a save function is for? This game doesn't allow you to make choices. Eventually I found myself trying harder and harder to do what I wanted to do rather than playing the game.
Here are some examples: The chase is on. I'm running down a fire escape to catch the bad guys (they're shooting at me, of course). All of a sudden, I can't go down the fire escape any more -- am I stuck? No. Is the fire escape blocked? No. Am I supposed to jump off the fire escape where it is broken rather than continue on down? Yep, that answer's a winner, but not because it makes any sense.
Another example: I am running close to a cliff (cautiously, of course, trying to avoid falling off) when suddenly I realize that I'm in no danger, because I can't fall off. I then try wholeheartedly to commit game suicide with no satisfactory results. These are just a couple of examples that point out that this game can only be played a certain way, with very little deviation from the scripted game sequence.
This game seemed to try just a little too hard to be an all-out action game, often stepping a little too far into the outrageous for its own good. While in most games it's generally cool to shoot the "bad" commandos, the mutants from space and the strange sea creatures, I found it to be in bad taste that in order to gain some cool stuff in this game, you need to shoot a store keeper who's just doing his job, or a priest who is asking you to respect the dead.
I did find one part of this game to hold my attention and be enjoyable, and that was the target shooting gallery. I had a great time trying out new weapons, and even though it took me a while to learn that not every target was supposed to be shot at, I did manage to persevere and actually scored quite well.
Men In Black has some pretty cool ideas for environments, which makes it all the more sad that they come off as being rather "cheesy." From the Command Center, to the Arctic, the Amazon, and Skip Frale's Estate, the ideas were rather exciting. I only wish that I had been allowed to explore and see some of the areas that beckoned to be acknowledged. (Too bad that wasn't part of the master plan; it would have added a lot to the game!)
Part of the problem I found was that the angles at which you were looking at the scenery didn't always coincide with your success in shooting. In one part of the game, I was on a dirt road when some guys came at me with guns blazing. I had a hard time killing them because I was looking down and my perspective was screwed up. So while I was trying to hit them I generally missed, although their perspective must have been fine because they killed me a number of times. It also wasn't easy to get used to the way the scenery would switch abruptly from a distanced view to a close-up. This would usually happen when you moved forward, but if you stepped backward again (to avoid somebody or to see something better) you would be swept to the other view in a dizzying fashion.
The audio portion of this game was passable, but nothing spectacular. While the background music seemed to fit in well with each environment, I found that it became a bit annoying and intrusive after a while. The sound effects appeared to match (for the most part) the actions that were being taken at that time, i.e. running or walking, shooting, climbing ladders, bombs ticking, etc.
The documentation for this game seems to be well thought out and helpful. It is filled with descriptions of the MIB background, weapons, the aliens, controls and even a few tips to keep in mind.
4X CD-ROM drive, P-100, Win 95, 16 MB RAM, 10 MB hard drive space, SoundBlaster 16 or compatible sound card
Men In Black was not a game that I got into or even particularly enjoyed. I found it tedious to play and not set up well enough to offer a real challenge to some of the other games on the market. I would not recommend this game to any serious gamers and would think twice before recommending it to a beginner. Its tendency toward linear gameplay and its lack of reward for creative solutions, together with its frustrating control limitations, earn MIB a score of 53.
Download Men In Black: The Game
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP