Developers: Starbreeze Studios – Tigon Studios
Publisher: Vivendi Universal Games
Platforms: Xbox – Microsoft Windows
Release/Remaster year: 2004/2008
Genres: Action-adventure, stealth
General / Plot……….8.5
Released for the original Xbox and Microsoft Windows in 2004 and Remastered in 2008, this game is a futuristic science fiction prequel of the movies Pitch Black (2000) and The Chronicles of Riddick (2004). A truly atmospheric title with an obscure alien background art design that succeeds in immersing the player in a unique experience that is difficult to disappoint even the most demanding sci-fi player. The main protagonist, the anti hero Richard B. Riddick, is reprised by Vin Diesel, who was heavily involved in the game’s development. In ‘’Escape from Butcher Bay’’, the player steps in the shoes of Richard B. Riddick and attempts to escape from a high tech security prison known as Butcher Bay. Riddick has the gift of ”eye shine”, that grants him the ability to see in the dark. ”Escape from Butcher Bay”s designers, shifted their focus from that of the original film, and they wanted to shed more light on Riddick’s character, who struggles to find a way out. Riddick is an assassin who mainly relies on martial arts to cope with the difficulties he encounters. While the storyline is exceptional, it unfortunately falls on the short side; After approximately ten hours of gameplay, the only thing I thought when the credits rolled was ”if it could have been a bit longer”. The response to this comes in the form of the sequel, ”The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena” , but this is another story that will be covered in the near future.
This game blends shooting, hand-to-hand combat, stealth attacks, and even some platforming to the mix. By finding hidden cigarette packs, the player can unlock concept art and cinematics. You can interact with scattered NPCs throughout the game and learn valuable information, get tools and other rewards by completing their respective quests. Violent conflicts often occur between the protagonists, the inmates and the prison guards. Obviously, the transition from Xbox to PC can be a complicated one, but it is fortunately adequately good. Not only are all of the shooting mechanics better on the PC port, but the stealth and hand-to-hand combat that were so brutally satisfying on the consoles remain easy to learn but difficult to master. Initially, you are restricted to using melee combat, since a DNA-scanning security system prevents Riddick from using firearms. “Stealth mode” is activated when he crouches, allowing you to move silently. While in this mode, the player can drag bodies out of sight and hide from enemies. Moreover, this mode grants attacks that can instantly kill enemies, like death from above and backstabbing. As mentioned above, during the game Riddick acquires eyeshine, which allows him to see in the dark but temporarily blinds him if used in brightly lit areas.
The graphical environment on comparison with the 2004’s edition has been given many changes, since the direct-X setup and PhysX are used. Visual shading and antiallising filters can be enabled thus increasing graphical fidelity. Riddick’s model already looked good on the Xbox, but the clarity that the higher resolution of the PC port offers render it incomparable with the Xbox port. Character design is decent, despite some stiff animation at times. Sometimes, you can see triangles of shadow missing or drawn incorrectly. Other than that, the game is one of the best of its time in terms of graphic design.
The audio quality in ”The Chronicles of Riddick” has stood the test of time. Serious work has been done here gentlemen. From fists striking flesh to assault rifles spewing lead, the sounds of combat in The Chronicles of Riddick are extremely loud and satisfying. Again, the voice acting is superb overall and totally spot on. The inmates, for instance, all speak as if trying to avoid unwanted attention. The game’s dialogue happens to be rife with cussing, but the dialogue fits the theme perfectly. Eventually, you are also offered an excellent, dynamic soundtrack that awakens emotions when the player engages in battle. This unbelievable soundtrack is close enough to a triple A blockbuster film.