The Fifth Element

a game by Kalisto, and Activision
Genre: Action
Platforms: PC, Playstation, PSX
Editor Rating: 5.6/10, based on 4 reviews, 6 reviews are shown
User Rating: 6.0/10 - 1 vote
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The Fifth Element
The Fifth Element
The Fifth Element
The Fifth Element

As much as some of us at ZONE despised the mess of sci-fi appropriation that was Luc Besson's The Fifth Element, no one could deny it had one or two cool moments.

Aside from the fifth element herself bouncing around in a few strips of bandage, the obvious highlight was the vertiginous taxi ride through a futuristic New York, diving and dodging through insanely interweaving layers of airborne traffic. It was one of those classic 'made to be a videogame' moments, and the only surprise is that it's taken this long for someone to do it. While no official licence exists, New York Race is the obvious result of that moment.

With intense high-speed racing and futuristic flying cars, the other clear reference point for NY Race is the WipEout series. Many familiar elements from those games are present, including a choice of flying cars, various weapon pick-ups and turbo boosts, as well as a resolutely arcade aesthetic and suitably effects-laden visuals. The main difference is the replacement of the narrow twisting tracks of WipEout with the skyscrapers and canyon-like streets of a futuristic New York. And instead of just hovering a bit, the vehicles truly fly, adding an extra level of insanity to the proceedings.

We've been keeping our eye on the very similarly styled Beam Breakers in the works at German outfit Similis, but NY Race surprised us at ECTS with better visuals and a more convincing design style. Kalisto have even employed the person responsible for the original taxi scenes in The Fifth Element as a designer on the game. We'll keep you informed on what could become an interesting race.

Download The Fifth Element

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PSX

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Overview

Over a year ago, a sci-fi flick by the name of The Fifth Element was released. It starred Bruce Willis and some chick with red hair that ran around half-naked throughout the movie. The movie was average at best, so I was a bit surprised when I heard that Activision was teaming up with the developer of Nightmare Creatures to make a game based on the movie. I am all for a video game that stars a half-naked chick, but what about the rest of the gaming public? The movie does lend itself as a great backdrop for a game, but it would have to be done just right to pull it off. Too bad they did not manage to do it.

The Fifth Element runs on a modified version of the Nightmare Creatures game engine. You will have the opportunity to play as both Korben, a cab driver who is a former military captain, or Leeloo, the perfect supreme being. You head out on a number of missions either shooting or fighting a number of enemies while locating power-ups, secret areas and switches. The game does follow the movie somewhat but unfortunately it also follows the frustration of bad controls and terrible camera work.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

If you have not seen the movie, go out and rent it before you even try to play this game. It does not affect your ability to play, but the story and the cutscenes will not make a whole lot of sense to you unless you see the movie. Since my last name is not Siskel or Ebert, I am not going to even try to explain the movie to you. Let's just say that the game is set in the future (23rd century) in New York and things are not what they used to be. Blah, blah blah, it is up to you to save the universe, blah, blah, blah. Who the hell cares? This is a video game and all that matters is good gameplay regardless of the movie or story, right?

Games like this really bother me. The reason why it bothers me may not be what you expect, though. It bothers me because I really tried to like the game and I think that there is a good game underneath but I was never able to enjoy it because of the problems, which I will get to in a few minutes. I mean, some games are just bad and there is nothing else that can be said. That is not the case with this game. I would go a short stretch where I was really enjoying the game and then BLAM, something would happen that would frustrate me to the point of almost hating the game. I don't know what else to say other than it is too bad this game did not turn out better because I see the potential.

The first thing that I thought when I heard that this game was based on the Nightmare Creatures engine was "I hope they fixed the camera problems." Not only did they not fix them, they actually managed to worsen them. This means they took my biggest complaint with Creatures and made it even worse on this game. Things are not off to a good start. I think the majority of my frustration stems from this fact alone.

Some reviewers would just leave the camera thing at this, but I want to illustrate my point of why I found it so frustrating. A big part of the game is finding teleport pads and warping to a different area. Usually when you warp, you will either be behind a closed door or down in a corner but other times you warp into a room full of enemies. Now would it not make sense for the camera to be looking from behind the character facing into the room you are about to enter? Apparently that was not the way the developers felt because every time I would come out of a teleport, the camera would be facing my character, meaning that I couldn't see anything in the room but I had a great frontal view of my character. I did have a manual control for the camera but when I would try to switch my view, I could only change to see a side profile of the character, once again not allowing me to look out into the room. The only way I could see out into the room was to actually start walking towards the room and then I was able to switch the camera behind the character. All the while, the enemies were unloading on my ass. Yeah, real fair.

Speaking of the enemies, let's just say that most of them are not too smart either. There are a number of different types of enemies that you will encounter, but let me just tell you about a couple. The first enemies you will encounter are armed with guns. They will just sit there and shoot at you. You can start shooting back and they do not even try to move or get out of the way. They just sit there and let you blast away at them; most of the time, they are out in the open and all you need to do is duck behind a box or pole and just keep shooting until they die. Another example of the intelligence of the enemies are the cops that you fight hand to hand. They will let you pummel them and then they will attack you once. You pummel more, they attack once and so on. If there happens to be a second one in the room, he may join in but usually he just sits there out of the way. I expected much better than this.

But wait, there is more. That is right, that is not all. I have not even talked about the controls yet. This game has some of the worst controls around. I am sure that part of the problem is compounded by the camera problems but there are a number of precision jumps that are required and it is an absolute pain in the ass. I can't tell you the number of times I plummeted to my death because I thought I was lined up for my jump only to jump off at some screwy angle. Then there was the whole hand-to-hand combat thing. This felt very clunky and slow. I felt like my commands took forever to execute and when they finally did, they were not what I was trying to do anyway. Also, for some reason, the game had a habit of taking steps backward before going forward. I could never figure this out. I guess it just sums up the entire game.

Okay, I admit that I have been a bit harsh on this game, but it is only because it really could have been cool. I really like the way that the characters sneak behind the walls and can do a rollout from behind the wall while unloading their guns or while avoiding fire from the enemies. The levels were large and there was a lot to see but it was just so much damn work that it really was not worth it.

Graphics

I will say that one of the better parts of the game was the graphics. Aside from the heavy draw-in problems and fogging, everything looked good. When I got up close to things, they did not really distort much and I was still able to identify them. I think the game had a good mix of indoor and outdoor action and I really liked the tracers on the bullets. This was aÔéČnother reason that I was so disappointed in the gameplay.

Bottom Line

I think it is pretty obvious how I feel about this game. It is really too bad that the controls and the camera were so bad because this game had the makings of a fairly decent game. If you are interested in this type of game, I recommend you check out Duke Nukem Time To Kill or wait for my review on Tomb Raider 3 to see if it is worth checking out. I just hope that the developers can iron out the camera problems before Nightmare Creatures is released for N64.

Another movie-inspired game has arrived. The Fifth Etement contains elements that will come as no surprise for many gamers. To draw a comparison, our early glimpses of the game reveal Tomb Raider-like room-to-room adventuring along with combat action reminiscent of Nightmare Creatures. Large polygonal characters romp through 3-D buildings, city streets and landscapes displayed in the ever-popular third-person perspective. Playing as Korben or Leeloo, you must do your best to rid these areas of evil forces using several combat weapons including rifles, handguns and big blasters, not to mention your dukes.

It's not clear how closely the game will follow the actual movie story line, but if it stays true to past movie-inspired games, it will shed all semblance of a plot and leave you with an all-out kill fest. Just use your imagination and pretend you're Bruce Willis...

  • MANUFACTURER - Kalisto
  • THEME - ACTION
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1

People say:

1.0

I suppose it's only fair that--seeing as how I wrote the long review of Metal Gear Solid, the PlayStation's best game--I'd have to write the long review of The Fifth Element, the system's worst. This thing is horrid in every respect, a painful fact that becomes clear after a minute of play. Lousy control is the main culprit here. Using a modified version of the already flawed Nightmare Creatures' engine, your on-screen alter ego (either gun-happy Korben or martial artist Leeloo) are way too floaty with their jumps and much too sluggish when turning. Even worse, you have to worry about multiple button combos to do simple things like blocking or walking slowly. Enemies are incredibly cheap, often getting in several sucker punches before you can dodge or counterattack. At the same time, they're incredibly stupid, too. Most baddies adhere so strictly to their scripted routines they don't even react when you shoot or punch them. Puzzles are all of the braindead, collect-item or hit-switch-and-watch-door-open-elsewhere variety. Awkward camera angles pop up constantly. Cripes, the game's even glitch; sometimes the sound cuts out, and you'll discover a delay between when you fire your gun and the joypad rumbles. Only the FMV is worth watching, but that's why I pay for cable.

2.0

Come on...you have to be kidding me. Being a fan of the movie, I thought maybe the game translation would be fun. I was wrong...dead wrong. Terribly awkward control, a poor excuse for a camera and some of the lamest puzzles I've ever encountered plague The Fifth Element. The game doesn't feel right, and most importantly it's just not fun. Leeloo looks pretty good though. Overall, don't buy this game--you'll be mad if you do.

2.5

Oh man, right off the bat this thing suffers from really bad control. The combination of the "follow-cam" and Corben' and Leeloo's limited mobility make for one frustrating experience. Major sound problems too -often gunfire noise will cut-out during battle. As for the story--accomplishing all the objectives is made twice as hard due to the crazy sweeping camera view and wacky gameplay. It can be done, but what's the point?!

3.0

Isn't it a little odd when developers choose to break fundamental rules of action/adventure games? Bad character control, confusing button layout and a choppy frame-rate all conspire to make The Fifth Element a forgettable experience. Contrary to what some people may believe, it's no fun getting hit automatically and from enemies you can't see. And I thought watching Bruce Willis in an orange shirt was unpleasant...geez! Pass.

Woo-hoo! Activision's The Fifth Element brilliantly catapults you into the look, feel, and story of the film of the same name by using slick clips from the movie as cut scenes. Unfortunately, the gameplay is a complete mess and kills that thrill but good.

Elemental Experience

Using an improved yet still terribly murky version of the Nightmare Creatures engine, FE lets you control Corbin Dallas (Bruce Willis in the movie, although the bald wonder doesn't actually appear in any of the cut scenes) or Leeloo (Milla Jovovich s gibberish-speaking babe). Many of the levels require you to reach different goals depending on which character you assume, but that's mostly busy work because the unimaginative level design pales in comparison to even the first Tomb Raiders.

FE's horrible pop-up, poor collision detection, and awkward camera control are simply unacceptable given the high standards of the latest generation of PlayStation software.With only four distinct environments, there aren't even enough different textures or enough polygons to warrant the game's vast amount of visual problems.

Finishing Fifth

Unfortunately, the controls aren't any better: Leeloo and Dallas get stuck constantly, jump like they're on the moon, and have problems hitting switches accurately. TTie soundtrack is a mixed bag at best The film's actual score nicely accompanies the action, and Chris Tucker's voice introduces the missions (with a stunning total of four words), but the bland sound effects are often muffled or disappear altogether.

Ultimately,The Fifth Element fumbles some serious potential to become just one more beleaguered title in the long-suffering list of games with movie tie-ins. This story was done better on film, and this game was done better with Lara Croft

ProTips:

  • Thanks to his pistols Corbin is safest when fighting from a distance. If you get blocked in, try to make a run for it.
  • Avoid enemies In numbers-take them eh one at a time, or they'll Just pummel you. You can cartwheel Leeloo out of their way by pressing L1 and R1.
  • Use the contatf bomb on the rear grate In the hole where you find it on Mission 2 to reveal an extra We, a pslonic attack, and a grenade.

Kalisto's melding of Nightmare Creatures' game engine with the cool sci-fi movie, The Fifth Element starring Bruce Willis, sounds inspired, but the preview version's clunky controls were vexing. Playing as ex-commando Korben Dallas and later as the superwoman Leeloo, you fight fascist police and weird ETs through 26 levels. While Dallas gun-slings with style, he is practically incapable of moving and shooting without being shot. Leeloo, however, flashes with very slick two-button martial arts. Gorgeous cinemas from the flick are outstanding, but an odd licensing glitch will not allow you to see (or Activision to acknowledge) Willis in the game, even though the 3D-rendered Dallas looks and moves just like..err, you-know-who.

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