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The Matrix: Path of Neo is the third video game based on the Matrix series and the second developed by Shiny Entertainment. Players control the character Neo, participating in scenes from the films. It was released on November 8, 2005 in North America.
In Shiny Entertainment's first licensed Matrix game, Enter The Matrix, only sideline characters were playable. It did not feature the series' main protagonist Neo, and due to its nature as an extension of the films' storyline, had few recreations of scenes in the film trilogy. David Perry, president of Shiny Entertainment Inc, has stated that Path of Neo is "basically the game that gamers wanted first time around... The Neo Game!".
This game allows the player to participate in many of the major action scenes in the films. Most of these sequences, picked by the movie directors themselves, are taken from the first film in the series.
At the start of the game, the player is hacker Thomas Anderson, and does not possess any of the powers that the character will later discover as Neo. As the game continues, players learn new skills and techniques, equipping Neo for the final showdown with Agent Smith. These additional skills may be learned both in training levels and in the main game. Many of these skills are used by Neo in the trilogy, including the bullet dodge, bullet stop, and flight. A number of weapons are available in the game, consisting of both melee weapons (including various types of swords, staves, and escrimas) and firearms (assault rifle, submachine gun, pistol etc.).
The game uses film excerpts as cut scenes throughout the game at certain milestones. This footage includes clips from the original Matrix theatrical films, and from other sources, including the short film series, The Animatrix and Shiny Entertainment's first Matrix game, Enter the Matrix. Despite these live-action and other cinematic additions, players who have had no previous exposure to The Matrix films might have difficulties in creating a clear picture of the storyline due to their jumbled-up, incoherent sequence.
- Neo - The One, game protagonist and the character the player controls throughout the game.
- Trinity - Neo's love interest and First mate on the Nebuchadnezzar.
- Morpheus - Captain of the Nebuchadnezzar, he aids Neo at various points throughout the game (Laurence Fishburne is the only actor from the film series to reprise his character's voice in the game).
- Agent Smith (later referred to as merely "Smith") - A program (later Exile) within the Matrix. He is the primary antagonist and Neo's arch-nemesis.
- Apoc and Switch - Red pills. Apoc and Switch are helpful fighters who always try to kill.
- Merovingian - Rules over a personal empire of exiles like himself.
- Head Bouncer/Doberman Leader - Exile and Head Bouncer at Club Hel, a nightclub owned by the Merovingian. Leads the Doberman, a wolf-like group of henchmen.
- Head of Security - Exile and the head of security at the Merovingian's Chateau. First encountered walking upside down on the ceiling in the gun-room of Club Hel, before disappearing (he is also encountered in the dream at the beginning of the game).
- Rogue Witch - Exile, first encountered being tortured in the dungeons beneath the Merovingian's chateau. Frequently aids Neo throughout the distorted dimensions within the chateau.
- Vamp Prime - Exile, leader of the vamp and Doberman exiles found in Downside Up within the Merovingian's chateau.
- Witch leader - Exile, the Merovingian's "champion", who fights Neo in the final sequence before Neo can escape the Merovingian's chateau maze.
- Agents - These are programs within the Matrix just like Smith. The original Agents are later replaced by upgraded versions.
- Original Agents : Agent Smith (leader), Agent Brown, Agent Jones. Agent White appears in "The Security Guard" level, and he replaces Smith as leader of the Agents.
- Upgraded Agents : Agent Johnson (leader), Agent Jackson, Agent Thompson.
The game includes additional missions that extend the storyline of the theatrical film releases. While some of these are obviously solely for the benefit of game play, others seem to be based on scenes the Wachowskis planned to implement in the films (some of which can be found in The Art of The Matrix). These include:
- An extension of the escape by Neo from the Metacortex building when he is first contacted by Morpheus. As in the film, though, the player is not required to escape and may be captured by the agents.
- A series of training simulations taking place in the "construct", the Resistance's virtual reality; these instruct the player in hand-to-hand combat, firearms, and melee weapons.
- An extended escape by the Nebuchadnezzar crew (sans Morpheus) through city sewers, ending with the temporary dispatching of Agent Brown by Neo in a final fight. This event was not in the film, where the characters merely are seen leaving a manhole before heading to a TV repair shop.
- An extended escape to the second hardline, detouring Neo into a damaged portion of the Matrix.
- An extended fight with all three Agents after Neo is endowed with his powers as the One.
- A series of five missions that fill in Neo's adventures in retrieving other "Potentials" (red-pills similar to Neo in ability to affect the Matrix) in the six-month period between Neo's retrieval from the Matrix power plant and the events of The Matrix Reloaded. The six-month period and the red-pill retrieval is noted in dialog between Morpheus and Commander Lock in their first meeting in The Matrix Reloaded.
- An extension of the fight between Neo and the three upgraded Agents, where Neo must also dispatch several SWAT team fighters.
- A series of rescues that Neo must complete to see the various Zion ship captains to safety after their meeting (as shown at the start of The Matrix Reloaded).
- An extension of the fight in the Merovingian's chateau, where Neo must solve a series of puzzles in the house (reminiscent of M. C. Escher surrealism) as well as battle in several fights.
- An extended series of fights against the Smith clones in a church, a building closely resembling the Architect's quarters, and a version of the US Congress House of Representatives as the Keymaker attempts to get Neo and Morpheus to the final door to the Architect (a character seen only in film-derived cut scenes in the game).
- The game changes the final battle between the enhanced Smith and Neo as seen at the conclusion of The Matrix Revolutions. Where Smith dominated the fight in the film, the fight's outcome depends purely on the player's capabilities.
- The game also features a brand-new ending, because the Wachowski brothers felt the ending of The Matrix Revolutions would be a "lame" ending for a video game. It is an alternate ending, without the martyr-approach, where Neo kills Smith and then takes on the Mega-Smith, the final boss. Immediately before the final boss, the game is interrupted by the Wachowski Brothers (represented with single-color sprites similar to what might be found in a pre-8-bit game) who congratulate the player then explain their reasoning behind deviating from the movie's ending.
- The player's final battle places Neo against the "MegaSmith", a gargantuan likeness of Smith composed of buildings, cars, Smith clones, and other debris from the city where the battle takes place. The player fights the Smith construct in a series of dodging thrown debris and plunging into the construct to severely damage sections of the Smith construct.
- Following the battle, the game ends with the final cinematics from the conclusion of The Matrix Revolutions. Rather than the use of the film's next-to-final track, "Bridge of Immortality", from composer Don Davis's official score, the game's cut scenes use Queen's "We Are the Champions".
Path of Neo scored 64% for the PC version, 70% for the PS2 version and 72% for the Xbox version on the video game review aggregation site Game Rankings. Critics noted that Path of Neo probably won't interest anyone that isn't already a fan of The Matrix, but enthusiasts of the franchise would enjoy the game. Complaints regarding the game's "compromised graphics" and reputation regarding glitches however are common.
- ↑ BBFC rating of The Matrix: Path of Neo
- ↑ Perry, David (2005-02-19). The Matrix: Path of Neo. David Perry. Retrieved on 2007-04-15.
- ↑ The Matrix: Path of Neo. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-04-14.
- ↑ Perry, David (2005-05-09). The Matrix: Path of Neo. David Perry. Retrieved on 2007-04-14.
- ↑ Game Rankings - External Link
- ↑ IGN: The Matrix: Path of Neo Review
- Detailed Walkthroughs and images at GamePressure
- Reviews and pictures at IGN
- Path of Neo PS2 Review at GameSpot