Charlie's Angels Review
The warning signs are all there: you have a game based on a movie license, and one that was a bust at the box office at that, the publisher did not bother to port the game to other systems, and the game was released without out any fanfare or advertising. Danger Will Robinson! Well after torturing myself with playing Charlie's Angels I can say that the game certainly lives up (down?) to all of its expectations.
|Kick, kick, kick. Repeat|
You'll know something is wrong right from the beginning as you watch the setup for the game's ludicrous plotline. Rather than follow the plot of the movie, the game features an amazingly absurd story that involves the theft of world monuments. That's right, someone has absconded with the Statue of Liberty, the Arc de Triumph, and the Lincoln Memorial, among other monuments. Just took them away overnight without anyone noticing. Oooo - K... Once you have suspended your disbelief to the breaking point, you'll also have to accept that the FBI and other government agencies have thrown in the towel and decided that only the Angels can solve the mystery. Why? Well apparently because the government of the most powerful nation on Earth doesn't have anybody who can punch and kick their way past an endless stream of cloned henchmen.
And that's what you do in Charlie's Angels, make your way through some of the most rigidly linear environments since the days of 2D side-scrollers while punching and kicking one goon after another who only differ in the color of shirt that they decided to wear that morning. In fact, the levels are so linear that you are constantly hitting "glass walls" that prevent you from taking any other path than the one designated by the level designers. Even the bad guys are constrained by these limits as you will often see an enemy stuck waiting behind a "glass wall" until you clear out the current area and are allowed to progress to meet him.
With such a constrained path you'd think it would always be easy to determine where you need to go next, but this is not the case. The camera is locked and is often at such horrible angles that it is hard to even see the exits from a room. The designers must have realized how poorly the camera was implemented because they added a directional arrow to point you in the right direction, but they didn't even get that right. The arrow sits at the bottom of the screen and rotates on a plane nearly parallel to the camera. The result is that it is often impossible to tell if the arrow is pointing towards or way from you.