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The Darkness

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The Darkness
The darkness
Developer(s) Starbreeze Studios
Publisher(s) 2K Games
Release date June 25, 2007 (NA)

June 29, 2007 (EU)

Genre First person shooter
Third-person action
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer
Age rating(s) ESRB: M
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Media DVD, Blu-Ray Disc
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

The Darkness is a first-person shooter video game, developed by Starbreeze Studios and published by 2K Games. It was released on June 25, 2007 in North America and on June 20, 2007 in Europe. The video game is based on the comic book of the same title. The game is available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles.

Gameplay

The Darkness features an Italian-American named Jackie Estacado as the protagonist. The game includes a range of modern-day weapons that become available over the course of the game. However, as a result of Estacado turning 21 at the start of the game, the powers of the Darkness are available to the player, with some powers not being unlocked until later in the game. The Darkness powers include summoning different types of imp-like "darklings" that can attack foes, using "dark tentacles" to impale foes or break down walls, using "creeping dark" tendrils that sneak along floors, walls, and ceilings to take out foes from a distance, and creating a black hole that sucks anything nearby into it.

Over the course of the game, Estacado also comes into possession of the "darkness guns" that are more powerful than many conventional weapons but consume some amount of darkness energy in order to fire. The darkness guns are held one in each hand, the one on the right being a small minigun, and the other is a sort "one hand cannon" that fires immensely powerful rounds. These Darkness powers cannot be used when Estacado is in a well-lit area but become more powerful in darker conditions; the player is able to shoot out lights to help increase the amount of dark energy available for their attacks. Additionally, by ordering the Darkness to consume the hearts of the victims of the attacks, the player can further increase the effects of the Darkness powers.

The game has several levels based on New York City locales that players visit multiple times. A subway system allows the player to move between areas. While the main plot is primarily linear, requiring the player to visit each area in a certain order, the player can undertake side missions by speaking with non-player characters that wander the subway stations. Completing sub-missions earns the player a "collectible" phone number which can then be used at any phone to unlock additional game media; collectibles can also be found scattered throughout the level. The Otherworld levels feature collectibles in the form of unposted postal mail that the player can deliver when back in New York City in order to unlock the content.

In the game the full movie To Kill a Mockingbird is shown if you choose to sit down with Jenny to watch TV during the single player story. MaximumPC called the scene "the most authentic instance of romance ever conveyed in a videogame". Also included is the full movie The Man with the Golden Arm in the Grinder's Lane level. So is a full episode of Flash Gordon. The movie The Street Fighter with Sonny Chiba is viewable, as well as cartoon shorts of Popeye and Gabby. This was possible because these movies are in the public domain.

Storyline

The player takes the role of Jackie Estacado (voiced by Kirk Acevedo), with the story presented as a future-narrative on the present events observed by the player. On the eve of his 21st birthday, Jackie was targeted for assassination by the don of the New York mafia, "Uncle" Paulie. He finds his body possessed by "the Darkness" (voiced by Mike Patton), a malevolent spirit that has inhabited his family for several generations, with the benefit of Jackie gaining supernatural powers that feeds off the dark. Using these dark powers, Jackie is able to survive further assassination attempts and track down Paulie, but not before Paulie and the corrupt police chief, Eddie Shrote, kidnap Jackie's girlfriend, Jenny. They take her to the orphanage where Jackie and Jenny grew up, and then they murder her and escape.

Unable to stop them due to the Darkness deliberately restraining him and forcing him to watch her die, he commits suicide out of sheer emotional stress. He finds himself in the Otherworld, the realm of the Darkness with patchwork undead beings in World War I outfits fighting each other, and physical manifestations of the Four Horsemen. He meets his great-great-grandfather Anthony Estacado, who admits that it was he that brought the Darkness into the family, and tells Jackie how to free himself of the Darkness by invading the castle in the Otherworld and facing the Darkness there. Jackie is interrupted in his journey through the Otherworld and brought back to the living.

Once he recovers, he determines that he must dispose of Chief Shrote before he can face Paulie. Chasing Shrote to his apartment and then confiscating a briefcase containing illicit goods in Shrote's ownership and rigging it with an explosive, Jackie is able to lure Shrote out of hiding, but he is shortly captured. After overhearing about a shipment of drugs that a Chicago mob is entrusting to Paulie to handle, Jackie triggers the explosive, killing Shrote and his men along with himself. Jackie re-awakes in the Otherworld, and lays siege to the Darkness's castle with Anthony's help. Anthony is mortally wounded in the attack, but before he can tell Jackie the last steps needed to free himself from the Darkness, the spirit pulls him away.

Jackie faces the Darkness and surprises it by willingly being taken by the Darkness's power, allowing him to fully control the spirit back in the real world, however the Darkness tells him that while he has control now, each time Jackie takes a life, he will become more consumed by the Darkness. He lays an assault on the drug shipment, causing Paulie to flee to the safety of a lighthouse mansion for fear of retribution from the Chicago mob. Jackie takes advantage of a solar eclipse to raid the mansion and finally kill Paulie. The Darkness revels in Jackie's murderous spree, and fully envelops Jackie.

In the epilogue, Jackie finds himself in a dream in a park, lying on a bench in Jenny's arms. Jenny explains that they are only allowed a few minutes to be together one last time to say goodbye. Jackie tries to ask how, but Jenny just quiets him, allowing them to enjoy the last moments together before Jackie wakes back up with the screen fading to black.

Reception

The Darkness received favorable reviews from critics. Most praised the single player campaign, the story, and the game's graphics across both platforms, but warned readers about unreasonably bad lag in multiplayer sessions and advised to ignore multiplayer altogether until a patch is released. The Darkness received the "Game of the Month" award in the August issue of Game Informer.

Hyper's Daniel Wilks commends the game for its "brilliant storytelling, looking great and excellent level design". However, he criticises for its "weak physics engine and some AI problems".

As of June 24, 2009, the Game Rankings score for The Darkness is 83.31 (Xbox 360) / 81.36 (PS3). The Metacritic score was 82 (Xbox 360) / 80 (PS3)

Singapore Censorship

The censorship board in Singapore banned the game for excessive violence and religiously offensive expletives. The game had been scheduled for a July release before the ban. The game was later released in Singapore under an M18 rating in 2009

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