There's the myth, out there, that movie/video game conversions can't work. But truth it's that it's easier to remember the bad than the good.There's the myth, out there, that movie/video game conversions can't work. But truth it's that it's easier to remember the bad than the good. Many movie/video game conversions have turned out to be great video games. The Chronicles of Riddick video games are among them.
Both The Chronicles of Riddick video games storylines are well written and great exercises of storytelling. Dialogues in particular exhibit great writing, especially Riddick's lines, always of great impact and rarely banal. The presentation, setting, atmosphere, Riddick's charm: everything is well crafted and fits perfectly in The Chronicles' fictional universe. EFBB particularly stands out, but Dark Athena is good too, albeit a less intense and gripping storyline. Dark Athena's plot ends in a questionable way; it's not really bad but I honestly struggle to understand closing a plot that way. On the contrary, EFBB ends in a resounding crackling way. It makes sense that most players enjoyed EFBB more and this gives the game a charm and nostalgia effect overshadowing Dark Athena, beyond the games' respective strengths and flaws.
Both The Chronicles of Riddick video games are action-adventures with a combination of three gameplay types: first-person shooter, stealth and also fighting game; the latter more like a sub-type. I think the first-person shooter gameplay is better than the stealth one. Shooting weapons in both games is actually done pretty well and pretty fun. Despite this, EFBB is often considered a stealth video game and it is so, for the most part. In EFBB, however, stealth is ok, acceptable, but one could have expect more: I found triggering take downs too much difficult and imprecise, as a matter of fact playing stealth (mostly not a choice) can be frustrating before getting the tranquilliser gun; also, some stealth sections could have been shooter and vice versa, especially towards the end. Stealth gameplay in Dark Athena is better than in EFBB: triggering take downs is smooth; Riddick's movement is smoother in general. However, in Dark Athena, stealth gameplay is curtailed (mostly impossible to play) in the second half of the game in favour of shooting gameplay; this also explains a larger number of weapons in contrast to EFBB. While I consider the shooting gameplay the best component of the game, I did not necessarily appreciated this, especially considering Dark Athena's better stealth component. Last but not least gameplay component of the games, is melee combat. I wouldn't say it's poorly made, but it could have been done much better: enemy counterattacks, after a Riddick's attack, seem to ignore the parry; scoring a hit looks almost random sometimes. All things being equal, some melee fightings felt easy, others less so, and it didn't seem to depend on my skill. In Dark Athena melee combat is better than in EFBB but its core flaws are still there. Side quests and compact free roaming in EFBB are appreciable and add variety; in Dark Athena there are only two side quests unfortunately and free roaming is related only to a small empty part (enemies aside) on planet Aguerra, which is not the main setting. I have deepened both games enough, completed them at "Hard" skill level and in general I would say that level design is better in EFBB. Dark Athena has a higher autosaves rate, which is not that bad, especially in the second part of the game where tougher enemies appear and higher shooting skills are required. EFBB is a short game, which is a well-known point of criticism; Dark Athena is longer in duration.
Graphically, EFBB was simply outstanding at the time of its release, able to rival Doom 3 or Half-Life 2. Also, incredible it originally ran on the original Xbox. Dark Athena's EFBB version improvements are evident, in characters and weapons models to begin with. Long distance landscapes rendering is still impressive and nice to look at. Within respect to the original, lip sync problems are solved but annoying graphic glitches on characters' skin remain. Dark Athena, the game, is graphically superior to both EFBB versions and its graphics are great and clean (no more skin glitches), in line with 2009 standards but not as outstanding as EFBB were in 2004. In both games there is a great facial animation work and voice acting performances (especially Vin Diesel), among the best of the time. Soundtrack and sound editing are also great.
The Chronicles of Riddick video games are high-quality tie-in European productions based on an American film saga. And this would be enough to make them unique and challenge the myth that a movie/video game conversion will necessarily produce bad stuff. The solid multi-genre gameplay, intriguing plot faithful to Riddick's fictional universe and tech realisation make EFBB and Dark Athena, not without flaws, but recommended video games nonetheless. For fans of The Chronicles of Riddick, a must-play.… Expand