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Original Xbox Download  Idle Hands on Constantine Original Xbox Downloads

Idle Hands on Constantine


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We can't say whether or not the new Keanu approved Constantine movie will appease hardcore fans of the Hellblazer fiction upon which it was based, but we did get a recent opportunity to checkup on the videogame courtesy of THQ. It at least looks fine.

Here's the one sentence synopsis: Constantine is a surly occultist who fights demons and the devil, specifically.

The videogame is naturally about this man, Constantine. As would be expected, our handsome boy runs around combating demons and the devil, specifically. What separates Constantine from a slew of other feature rich third-person shooters that have been flooding the market of late, however, is not its emphasis on the netherworld, but rather its emphasis on dispatching the netherworld.

In the game Constantine is capable of traveling between Earth and hell whenever he finds a suitable pool of water to use as a transport mechanism. This not only gives him some remarkable insight into why exactly imps are extraordinarily angry creatures, but also allows the semi holy hero to alter the universe by acting in one dimension or the other. Similarly to Soul Reaver, Constantine uses a variety of dimensional dependent puzzles to its advantage. The most obvious example would be easily getting rid of a boulder in hell that doubled as an immovable barrier back on Earth. As THQ rep Ali Bouda succinctly put it, "What you do in hell effects earth and vice versa."

Ali is also quick to point out that hell is not the biggest contributor to the Constantine formula. "Actually, the biggest part of the game is its spells," he says. "That's what separates it from a regular third-person action game."

Constantine's spells include, among others, the ability to exorcise demons, turn them into stone, shock them with occult lighting, or even confuse them. "Confusion makes another Keanu. They all attack him and you just sit around shooting." Hmmm. Seems like creating Keanus from thin air and watching as ravenous beasts have their way with them would be a neat party favor to pull out on occasion.

This is Going to Get Infected:

The spells are powered by the acquired soul energy of fallen adversaries, but casting them takes a little more effort than simply hitting a single button and watching in amazement as the octarine* flares out from Keanu's world altering fingertips. Actually casting a spell involves inputting a precise series of commands which then translate into an action. Each command comes accompanied by a nifty little Keanu audio byte that is quite humorous. That being said, it should be noted that Keanu himself is only duplicated in likeness, but the voice-a-like sure sounds genuine.

Even without his seven spells and funny little vocalizations of ancient occult words, Constantine is no wimp. He can spin around 180 degrees and slow time to get a better line of sight on enemies behind him. Of course, he can't slow time while walking straight ahead, which makes us wonder why no one has tried completing the entire game by walking backward and repeatedly spinning around. Anyway, slow or not his arsenal transcends the supernatural. In addition to all the magic, he can wield a variety of weapons like the holy shotgun and crucifier, which Ali describes as a weapon that, "...shoots crucifixion nails -- the same kind that worked on Jesus." Okay then. Yup, Constantine is definitely a pretty wicked tale, so expect some fairly morbid, dark material like that to be found throughout the game.

The few levels we played weren't plagued with gore, but rather oozed a spooky DOOM-like atmosphere. Every corridor was eerily silent until filled with monsters. Fire flickered, and a variety of demonic scripts ran in the background, creating startling chittering demons and a variety of other half seen ghosts. And that was just on Earth!

The single level of hell we played -- a neat adaptation of Los Angeles' 405 freeway -- was much more action oriented. In this fiery windswept nightmare cars were tossed about like leaves on the wind and the action took on a heavier, more immediate feel. This isn't to say the methodical exploration of horrific insane asylums back on Earth was any less enjoyable, however. Ali says that, "Hell's highway is the 405. Anyone who knows the 405 agrees with it." Sure, but we didn't expect all the leaping imps, sailing cars, and burning palm trees. Well, we didn't expect all the flying cars. Har!

Constantine will release in February of 2005. When it launches we'll obviously be back with an appropriately hellish review. Double har! For now, please check out our assembled media, which includes an imp's ass full of new videos. Okay now, off to hell you go, little ones.
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