Aeon Flux Review

I enjoyed watching the original Aeon Flux animated shorts when they first aired on MTVís Liquid Television ten years ago. The futuristic world of Aeon Flux and its enigmatic titular character where used more as concepts to experiment with variations on a theme than they were to tell a consistent story. Each week you never quite knew if Aeon would be a spy, rebel, corporate enforcer, concubine, or yet something different, or even if she would make it to the end of the episode alive. While this is all quite appealing in a show to those of us bored by the usual generic mush offered up by television, it really doesnít work all that well in a 90 minute movie and even less so in a game based on such a movie. Aeon Flux the game is a good measure more confusing than it is avant garde and if youíre wholly unfamiliar with the Aeon Flux experience then you have my most sincere sympathies.

Aeon surveys the city.
The game opens with Aeon modeling a futuristic fashionable outfit on a catwalk set that is more The Running Man than it is Milan. This apparently is your cover to get you into ďThe ArenaĒ under which sits a super secret lab run by the leader of Earthís last city, Chairman Goodchild. So youíre a rebel spy here, right? Well, in later missions youíre working for the government hunting down rebels. But then you switch to the role of an assassin trying to kill Goodchild. And sometimes youíre his wife. Huh? The minimalist cutscenes before each mission only serve to add to the confusion. Itís one thing if youíre playing Superman in a game. The majority of gamers know all about the Superman mythos and the few that donít can catch on pretty quickly. Needless to say this is far from the case with Aeon Flux. I was left constantly confused by the game and made to feel very detached from it and from Aeon herself Ė no simple feat considering that I am pretty darn familiar with the original series and that Aeon is modeled on and voiced by Charlize Theron. Once again I can only offer my pity to you Aeon Flux neophytes out there.

Story and character identification issues aside, Aeon Flux fares much better in the gameplay department. Aeon may be many things, but one thing consistent about her is her plethora of amazing moves and superhuman gymnastic abilities. She can flit from pole to pole, run along walls, grapple along ledges, and rappel down wires from great heights with gun blazing. She is also lethal in hand to hand combat, dealing out deadly blows to multiple attackers even when surrounded. These are the aspects of Aeon that the game does a pretty good job in capturing, although it does fall short of perfect.

The gymnastic moves are context sensitive, alleviating you of the need to memorize an array of button combinations. If youíre running next to a wall pressing A will cause you to run up along the wall. Pressing A while running up to a ledge will cause you to leap off of it. Leaping from pole to pole is accomplished by, you guessed it, pressing the A button. The animation as Aeon runs, leaps, and vaults is very smooth and fluid and filled with nice extra touches such as spins, twists, and rolls - when Aeon has her groove on it looks great. But then there are the times when the camera angle is poorly selected and suddenly Aeon misses her marks Ė slipping off ledges, flying past poles, and splatting into walls all because you canít quite see where to move next. When this happens itís often a matter of trial and error as you retrace your steps back to where you were and give it another go in the hopes that you just happen to be lined up right for the next move. Yes, it is frustrating.