Black (Microsoft Xbox, 2006)
|Newton's third law is put to the test in Black, a first-person shooter from the development team behind the acclaimed Burnout franchise. Players are cast in the role of Jack Kelar, member of an elite tactical squad, whose team is assigned to Eastern Europe on a hunt for an American traitor. Rather than slinking through environments making quick, covert strikes, players in Black perform a full-on assault through nine levels of explosive action. A total of 13 cutting-edge weapons are available to eliminate the enemy threat, but the most distinguishing aspect of Black is its physics engine: fully destructible environments allow players the freedom to shoot inanimate targets as well as live ones. Instead of firing at a patrol of soldiers, for example, players can instead target nearby vehicles or barrels to trigger explosions, shoot out windows and balconies, and more. As Kelar blasts through the besieged cities, snow-covered wilderness, and other levels, shell casings, glass, dust, and debris will fly across the screen as plumes of smoke and raging fires dot the war-torn landscapes.
Black takes place in Ingushetia and Chechnya, Russia. The protagonist is a black ops operative named Sergeant First Class Jack Kellar (portrayed by Marty Papazian). Kellar tells most of the story in first-person at an interrogation four days after the events in the story begin.
Kellar is an inadequately disciplined member of a CIA black ops group and a veteran of several conflicts including Guatemala, Colombia, Iran and Croatia. The unknown interrogator (portrayed by Paul Pape) questions Kellar about an arms smuggling and terrorist operation called the Seventh Wave. Seventh Wave have been responsible for a number of terrorist attacks. Kellar is told that, unless he co-operates, he and his actions will be declassified, he will be dishonorably discharged and imprisoned for life. Though initially resistant, Kellar at last agrees to tell his story.
The gameplay is essentially a straightforward first person shooter. Players can only carry two weapons at a time; therefore, strategy is needed when choosing weaponry, with weapons differing in characteristics. The player can also carry grenades, which can be thrown without switching weapons. Land mines and grenades can be detonated prematurely by shooting them.
Emphasising the game's action film heritage, sound effects for the weapons in the game were based on various sounds from films. For example, Bruce Willis' Heckler & Koch MP5 in Die Hard, Jack Bauer's pistol in 24, and Arnold Schwarzenegger's Uzi in True Lies. The music for Black was composed by Chris Tilton, using a theme co-authored with Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino. It was recorded at the Newman Scoring Stage.
Black received "favorable" reviews on all platforms according to video game review aggregator Metacritic. Detroit Free Press gave the Xbox version three stars out of four and said, "The action is intense and the effects are splendid, though the un-reality applies also to the worlds in which you battle."
|Genre||First Person Shooter|
|Number of Players||1|
|ESRB Rating||M - Mature|
|ESRB Descriptor||Strong Language, Violence|
|Game Special Features||
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